In the second week of 2009, I attended the funeral of a former colleague; a woman my age who had worked hard, loved well, achieved much and retired just before being diagnosed with the cancer which would take her life two years later.
In the second week of 2010, I had the exact same experience.
Both women were celebrated at memorial services, which brought together people from various parts of their lives, and mine. It was wonderful to see the intersections of all the roles these women had played, and the fabulous, interesting people they had touched. At each service there were a lot of hugs and memories shared, along with the pledge that we all should get together sometime in the future without being propelled by our mutual loss.
So, if I could have anyone over for brunch, it would be in the party room of a big restaurant, filled with the fabulous people I've met from various parts of my life -- the newsrooms, the PTA meetings, grade school, college, my clients and my students. Attendance would be mandatory. There would be an endless buffet and an open bar. People would be required to celebrate their lives AT THAT MOMENT, instead of during wistful reflection. New relationships would be forged and I'd be there to see it all happen. On earth, not in heaven.
Lynne Adrine is a media consultant, career and leadership coach, and adjunct journalism instructor. She lives near Washington, D.C. and is the proud parent of Andrew, a recent college graduate, and Vanessa, a college sophomore.