Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

From the Mouths of Angels

We started the new year with a funeral. Not the best beginning. A friend’s father had passed away at 87, after a long illness. As we signed the guest book and took our place in line to pay our respects, I found myself strangely choked up.

At first, I thought it must be because this funeral signaled us getting older. As we have friends who lose parents, it brings home the fact that we, too, will some day be standing at the front of a similar line of well-wishers. Coming on the heels of my mom’s serious health scare in the fall, I thought maybe this was the reason behind my sudden emotion.

But I didn’t think that quite hit the mark.


Here was a man who I had known only in name; I had met him maybe once. And I was there simply to show my support for our friend and his wife and family. My eyes were drawn to the family pictures and his typewriters and I felt my eyes tearing.

This man was a writer, a journalist, who loved his family and fly fishing. That is really all I can tell you about him. But it was evident from the displays around his casket that he was a happy man, one who had lived life on his own terms and followed his passions.

On the ride home, it struck me that that was the reason I felt so unsteady. Here was a man who had lived out his dreams and filled his life with the things he loved. Was I doing that?

2016 was not a great year in my world. Many people have said this as we saw the door firmly close on it. I spent the last six months running from one stressful life event to another. As I look back, I realize that I haven’t written much of anything in that time. I haven’t quilted or crocheted. I haven’t read books for fun. I haven’t met up with friends for dinner and drinks. I have gone to work and worried. I have slept a lot, napping for hours if I could – a sure sign of stress and depression.

I thought, what would be on display at my funeral if the last six months were an indication of my life? And I was keenly aware of time’s passage.

My husband has been struggling with things lately as well. He told me that he, too, felt choked up at the funeral. He had known the man where I hadn’t, but still it was an emotion he hadn’t expected.

He said the whole thing brought home how short life really is. Even 87 years is too short. And here we are not doing things we love and want to because we are letting the stress and day-to-day drag us under.

Maybe attending a funeral at the very start of the year is something we should do regularly. It reminds us how fleeting it all is. And you hear the angels whisper in your ear, “Do it now; live; find your passion.”

So this year, I plan on doing things that kick my skirt up a bit. I want to spend my time with those I love, doing things I love. I want to tell those angels, “Yes, I hear you!”




  1. Pam (Gennarelli) Lipko

    Very well said, Cheryl. This reminder comes at a good time of year and it’s never too late to get back on track and find joy.

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