KingMidget's Ramblings

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It’s Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter

My father-in-law passed away a week ago.  His funeral was yesterday.  In the years leading up this moment, he would occasionally hand me an envelope.  On the front of the envelope were written the words To Be Opened On My Passing.  It turns out he also provided the occasional envelope to his other daughter (the one who is not my wife).

The document inside my envelope focused primarily on things like accounts and finances and the people to talk to.  The document in his daughter’s envelope was a statement he wanted read at his funeral.  Here it is…


Life goes by quickly.  Do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not.  You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life … so live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember … and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past.

Life is a gift to you.  The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after.  Make it a fantastic one.


It is health that is real wealth, not gold and silver.  Live happy in this year and every year … and consider the following:  TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU’VE EVER BEEN AND THE YOUNGEST YOU’LL EVER BE, so enjoy the day while it lasts!

Your kids are becoming you … going out is good … coming home is better … you forget names … but that’s OK because others forget they even knew you.  You realize you’re never going to be really good at anything … the things you used to care to do, you no longer care to do, but you really do care that you don’t care to do them anymore.

You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring than in bed.  It’s called pre-sleep.  You miss the days when everything worked with just an ON/OFF switch.

Now when you can afford expensive jewelry, it’s not safe to wear anymore.  You have 3 sizes of clothes in the closet … 2 of which you will never wear.  But old is good in some things … old songs, old movies, and best of all, old friends.

It’s not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of life you have lived.  SO




22 responses to “It’s Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter

  1. cinthiaritchie April 18, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    I love that your father-in-law wrote a letter to be read at his own funeral (I might have to borrow this idea). And what great advice, too. So sorry about his passing but sounds as if he truly led a good, honest and aware life.

    • kingmidget April 18, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      When I was making my own beer, my half-serious suggestion was that if I were to pass away, my only demand would be that the party last until all my home brew was gone. And, trust me, there were times when there were 50 or 60 bottles of beer in my cabinet. But, now, I don’t want a funeral. I really don’t want a party. When it happens, I’d like to be cremated and have an extremely few people (mostly just my close family and maybe a friend or two that have meant the most to me — assuming, of course, they’d want to have anything to do with it) participate in spreading my ashes. I have a few ideas where I’d like my ashes to go. But just typing this and thinking about what my father-in-law did makes me realize that I may want to jot a few things down. I know I don’t want a funeral or any kind of ceremony. 🙂 And thanks for your comment and kind words.

  2. Carrie Rubin April 18, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Wow, lots of wisdom in that letter. If only we could all heed it regularly. It seems we have good intentions and start to, but then we get caught up in life and forget. It’s good to post things like that where we can see them daily. Our brains need reminders. Thanks for sharing it, and again, I’m sorry about your FIL.

    • kingmidget April 18, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      Yes, it frustrates me that we seem to think these things when somebody passes and then within days or weeks, we’re just back to the normal.

      I’m actually starting a project that gets at dealing with my own demons and gets at making some of those changes we all vow to make when these things happen — prompted by a range of things. But, for now, it occupies a secret corner of the internet, only to be revealed if I’m able to achieve my own change. 🙂

  3. Kevin Brennan April 18, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Beautiful idea, to have your own eulogy ready to roll. Like Cinthia, I think I’ll get to work on that …

    Thanks for sharing this, Mark. It’s certain personal, but it’s also universal. How we each deal with “gather ye rosebuds while ye may” is a pretty big measure of who we are.

    • kingmidget April 18, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      Yep. For several years now I’ve always wondered what was in the mystery envelopes. I’m happy that one of the letters was his own eulogy. And count me with the group that may just follow his example. Only problem for me is … it gets complicated.

  4. Vince Dickinson April 18, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Life is good, even when it sucks. But when it ends, it’s nothing.

  5. Amy Reese April 18, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Oh, thanks so much for sharing his letter. Wow. And what a great idea to leave a letter to be read at your funeral. That is really special. We all need this reminder to not sweat the small stuff and that friends and experiences are what matter. To live life fully and with no regrets! No looking back. Thanks for this. I’m so sorry for your loss. Are you okay?

  6. Cezane & Michelle April 22, 2016 at 12:07 am

    From the title to the content in this post, i loved everything to do with it, i am touched and at the same time motivated. Thank you for sharing this Bud! – Cezane

  7. A Passionate Dreamer April 27, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    My condolences to you and yours. I am reading this rather late but thank you for sharing.

  8. Nurse Kelly April 27, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Very sorry for your loss, Mark, but what a beautiful thing to post. Maybe someday the practice of writing our own eulogies will be as common as writing toasts and wedding vows. You’ve given me something to really think about!

    • kingmidget April 27, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      Thank you.

      And, yes, it certainly seems to be a meaningful and powerful thing a person could do. I hope you find the time to sit down and write something down for that day that is many, many, many years in the future. I’ve been thinking about it and if I follow through on the idea I have, I will write something and then … I want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered in three different places. I want my wife to scatter a portion in one place, my kids to scatter a portion in a second place, and a couple of close friends who would represent all the other people who have helped through life scatter the rest in a third place. Now I just need to follow through on putting this into writing.

      • Nurse Kelly April 28, 2016 at 4:08 am

        I think that’s a lovely idea, Mark. I want to be cremated as well, and hope it’s a long, long time before you and I both face that final toast!
        When my MIL passed a few years ago, one of my SILs ordered silver lockets for the four granddaughters with a bit of her ashes inside. On the front is inscribed “Grandma” with a heart, and on the back it says “Always with you.” My daughter has worn hers a few times, but it’s more of a keepsake. (My mom thinks it’s terribly morbid, but to each their own!)
        Each family also has a small gold urn. So she was definitely “scattered” in a few places as well! I can’t remember if there was anything left to put in the urn that got ceremoniously buried! She would have been hysterical over that.
        I think funerals should definitely be life celebrations! 🙂

      • kingmidget April 28, 2016 at 6:29 am

        The lockets with the ashes do seem a little odd to me, but one of the things I’ve realized over the last few months is that everybody deals with death differently and nobody should be judged for how they get through it. So, if they want lockets with Grandma’s ashes, more power to them.

        And, here’s to many more years for both of us!

      • Nurse Kelly April 28, 2016 at 6:32 am

        I know! I thought that at first as well! That particular SIL was closest to her mother, my MIL, and it was her idea – maybe another way for her to cope.
        And yes – here’s to living life, Mark! Cheers! 🙂

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