This I Believe

Rachel - Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania
Entered on June 12, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem, death

There is something eerie about going to a funeral. It has the tendency to make you relive all your past experiences with death. You may start crying even, not because you knew the person really well or had a special bond with them, but because you start to fear that you might die or that someone you love will. You start reflecting on your life, and start justifying all your mistakes and ask yourself: what is my funeral going to be like? Today, I had one of those experiences.

The man who had died was a family friend, my best friend’s grandfather, and it amazed me how many people he had touched. I came to realize that when I die I wanted to be remembered like he had been. He was not only a family man, but a noted lawyer and philanthropist in the Jewish community. Just as I had said, I did feel the urge to cry. I did not cry for my deep sadness in his death, although I was distraught for my friend, but instead I cried for my future, and for how people would eulogize me if I died today.

I started to think unsettling thoughts. I am not known to a whole community. I am not a mentor to anyone. I, in terms of what you expect your life to be, was empty and had not accomplished anything. Suddenly, I was snapped out of this fog by my friend’s father, he was giving the eulogy. He said that the last words out of his father’s mouth was a Latin phrase, later one of his other grandchildren translated this phrase. His last words were “no regrets.” 73 years of life and this man was able to say that he had no regrets. I finally realized what I was really afraid of and crying about, that was that I had regrets. I stopped my hysterics and from that moment I came to a conclusion that what I believe is to live your life with no regrets. No regrets does not mean to stay inside your house and fear the world, but to try everything, to live every minute to the fullest no matter how cliché that sounds. In the end, all you have to look back on are your decisions and your life. In the end I want to be like this man and be able to look into the eyes of my family and say “no regrets.”