Death is not convenient!

From my book “Living and Dying”

I have so many stories to share regarding living a healthy life because of my experience in the funeral profession. Having to wake up every day and enter a world of loss has been a great gift to me. No day is the same and all I have to do is care about people. We should all have such a job!

People often joke how my job is recession proof or not affected by the economy. The saying “the only thing certain is death and taxes” comes to mind. You might be surprised that in the last forty years there have been significant and consistent changes. Probably one of the biggest differences or changes in the past few years is how important logistics has become. Years ago we did not have such a mobile society. People were born, raised and died in the same communities. Our children today are living, visiting and studying in other countries. We have families living apart while spouses travel to distant cities for work and then return on weekends for family time. Commerce is conducted on the internet—Skype and web casting are the new norms, to name just a few.

One interesting story where scheduling and logistics comes to mind is the death of one woman’s husband. In the arrangement process when it came time to schedule the funeral, I was told we needed to wait five weeks for the service as she was scheduled to leave for a cruise. Although this story is a rare occurrence, there are more and more families trying to work around scheduled plans and events. While I am not here to judge, one of the most important things to remember is “death is not convenient” and here are times in life where we must be willing to change our plans to accommodate it. Being one of life’s most significant events, take notice and stop the world for a few days or weeks.

“Blessings on your journey”


Our biggest fear

Don Miguel Ruiz wrote, “Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive — the risk to be alive and express what we really are.”

Being fearful of the future takes an enormous amount of energy and drains the creativity and motivation from life. So, just for today, do your best to be less fearful. And, as you set your sights on the coming days, plan to do one small thing every day to express your own uniqueness.

“Blessings on your journey”

Energy = motion

From my book “Living and Dying”

The energy associated with emotion is very strong and one that can be very difficult to embrace. It will cause us to move out of our comfort zone, and it will challenge us to what feels like a breaking point. It will feel large, in charge, and scary at times, but it has its purpose. It is there to move us toward something new. It is there to make us choose. It is there for our own good, to shock us out of our old patterns. It is there to be embraced and it will move us towards love. The dilemma in all of this is that we have a choice.

In the many years I devoted to limiting emotion in my life, I was in a constant war with myself. In my new experience of embracing and choosing emotion (e=motion) I have blossomed to do many new things and have grown in many ways. It has been challenging, and I do fall off course. But if I were to have to do it over again, I would choose the course of energy and motion.

I have always loved the quote “When in life have you learned the most, when everything was easy or when you were most challenged?” In my experience, all of my major growth has taken place in change and movement from one place to another. Perhaps that is why I chose funeral service. Is there any other experience that challenges us to move from one place to another that is more profound? I think not.

”Blessings on your journey”

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A Sons eulogy

Colleen O’Brien’s eulogy by her son Brett!!

My mother was given a test of will, a test of life most will never have the burden to carry.

I was privileged to watch a woman who entered into this test, this battle, with grace, with composure, and with a fortitude reserved only for the greatest among us.

It was an even greater honor to call her my mother. To stand with her along this path and share in her triumphs. To learn from her composure in tribulation.

Colleen, my mother, carried with her a brilliance as bright as any star in this vast universe.

Fleeting this glow may be, she ensured through the lives she touched that her glimmer will shine in our collective sky for generations to come. Her sisters, her brothers, her sons. Their children, her friends, her loves…

We will all point to the sky of our lives and tell others: You see that star there shining above us. That star has always been there and always will.

That is the star of a great warrior, the light of a beautiful soul.

She will stand above all of us because she has earned her place in our sky, in our lives, and in our hearts.

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”.

“Blessings on your journey”

Trajectory of life

More memories from our friends passing last year.

Trajectory – the path by a projectile or an object moving under the action of given forces.  Last night I couldn’t get these two words out of my mind.  Funny words for pre funeral conversation for our friend Colleen, but as I thought about it is very fitting.  I have been talking to her two boys who run a gun range and training center outside Nashville, and guns have always been apart of their conversations and lives. When you follow the path of a bullet, once it hits a target it changes form as a result of impact.  It may also change its path as it richochets off its target. This always happened with Colleen.  As she journeyed on her life’s path, she impacted with us, creating new paths and forms of connection with family and friends. Colleen was a force.  You could not go anywhere with her where her trajectory didn’t have you meeting strangers and learning about their lives and family.  She would get recipes from strangers in the super market and before you know it, befriend the guy at the meat counter.  

Her given force, caring for others.

In our life, Colleen was a projectile moving under the guise of fellow parent at kids sporting events, travel companion, conservative republican, scotch drinker, dancer, partier, cook, grandparent, caregiver, personal nurse and medical advisor, skier, golfer, and confidant.  Her presence changed the trajectory of our lives.  

As we begin our new trajectory without her physical presence, many things will change.  The path or trajectory will be different and all our past life experiences will be only memories.  But, where we are, we would never have been without her.  And for the next few days, weeks and years we must not forget where we are and how we got there.  It was a great gift and one we should remember and cherish.

These given forces are ones that we can all connect and understand as this is how we all connect and move through our life.  Dont forget to remember and cherish your memories.  You are where you are because of them, the trajectory of our lives! We remember!!

”Blessings on your journey”

In memory

In memory of our good friend who died a year ago.

Last night at 8:03 pm our good friend Colleen O’Brien surrendered to life’s moment and passed on to a new frontier.  After years of treatments, ups and downs, procedure after procedure, she laid down her sword and sheild.  She was one of my favorite people on earth and a fighter like know one I know.  I often would think she would somehow win the battle.

Perhaps this passing is a win however.  I’m confident that she has been given the understanding and knowledge of her life’s purpose, and I’m sure she is in the loving hands of her father, surrounded by family and friends.  While me may not know for sure and wonder why her life was fraught with this disease, she taught me so much while here.  She taught me resilience in her journey, never did she complain or feel sorry for herself.  She taught me courage as she tried new treatments being discovered and trialed. And, she taught me how to love one another.  Never did she get consumed by her issues or problems, she always was interested and cared about me and others.

Her presence in this world made it a better place for me!

“Blessings and Peace on your journey Colleen O’Brien”


Thoughts become things. Nothing that exists today, existed until it was first imagined. If you change the way you look at the world, the world changes. And, one of my favorites that my son shared with me a few years ago, If I don’t think it, it doesn’t exist.

Let all that percolate for a moment and you’ll begin to see that we may have Some challenges to our thinking. But, the good news is we have the power to create any world we choose for ourselves, and it will make a significant difference. Once we understand the only thing we can change, is our thinking.

Where is our thinking? Is it lifting us and everyone around us up, or pulling us down and keeping all around us down? Where is our thinking? (Pause and reflect 🙂

There is a place where thought meets Devine Intelligence, a place where the magic happens, where the world we look at changes, and, all it requires is awareness, desire, and practice. A willingness to try something new, move from old normals to new normals, CHANGE. Right now, it’s only a thought!! Tomorrow it becomes a reality!!


“Blessings on your journey”