Blanche’s Eulogy: Dating Lessons Learned
My cell phone vibrated on my dresser yesterday morning, waking me from a fitful sleep. It was 7:45 AM on a Sunday, and I had slept only a few hours. Glancing at the missed caller’s ID, I wondered, “Why is my ex-husband calling me so early?”. If it was important, he’d call back, so I jumped into the shower to help wake me up. Sipping my morning latte, still wrapped in a robe, hair dripping wet, I heard the doorbell ring. 8:00 AM: who could that be?
My ex, dressed in a suit and tie (!?) stood at the door telling me that our close friend, Richard, had lost his mother. The email was sent that morning, and he was now rushing to the funeral in Manhattan. Would I like to join him. “Sure”, I mumbled, still half-asleep. This funeral superseded any plans I had on my calendar.
Richard’s dad had passed away only two months ago. Although I’d never met either of his parents, Richard and his wife, Gloria, were dear friends of ours when we were first married and living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I had recently reconnected with them, and they even attended our daughter’s wedding in December. I wanted to pay my respects.
The funeral was awe-inspiring. As the children and grandchildren rose to speak about their mom and grandma, I felt that I knew Blanche. They spoke of a mother who was their best friend, a mom who was a steady presence, at the door to greet them each day as they returned from school. She always prioritized her children and grandchildren, and they felt it. One granddaughter opened with, “I always knew that I was grandma’s favorite. She treated me like she loved me best. It was only when all the cousins gathered before the funeral that I realized that she treated all of us that way!”
The message was clear; no one was focusing on what grandma did for a living, what her Upper East Side apartment was like, or how much she owned. What stood out was her character. She knew what to value in life: education, good character, being present for her loved ones, showing up for anyone in need, and always seeing the potential for the best in everyone.
I am pretty certain that everyone at the funeral was touched by the beauty of Blanche’s enormously giving soul. I walked away with thoughts about how I wanted to be remembered by my family. I promised myself that I would judge my children less and focus more on the positive.
And I took it one step further, to the dating arena. I vowed that the next time I’m on a date, I will focus on what’s good about the guy, look deeper into his character, and not focus on why the relationship might not work.
In dating, we often look at what’s not working rather than what has potential to work. If we only focused more on the positive and didn’t jump to conclusions about someone’s character or potential as a mate, wouldn’t we have more success in forming relationships? If we only placed our judgment on the inner rather than the outer traits, wouldn’t we have an easier time choosing a mate?
So, thank you Blanche, for being a wonderful example of how I want to be remembered and how I want to live my life right now. Thank you for treating your family with love, for holding the bar high while loving them even more. Thanks for your sense of adventure, and for remembering to stop at every rest stop for ice cream!
I hope I have done Blanche a little bit of justice, by sharing a small piece of her enormous life. I hope I have inspired you to walk a little more in Blanche’s shoes.
Who knew that going to a funeral on very little sleep would change my life forever?