I first heard the expression “late for your own funeral” from
my mom when I was running late as a kid. The younger me thought: "How
does a person show up late at their own funeral?" After thinking
it through, I figured out what the phrase ironically meant.
Being late or being on time is an issue that a lot of people are constantly
working on. I'm usually on time but like most people, I'm not
perfect and will be a tad late from time to time. Sometimes lateness stems
from procrastination. Other times the cause of lateness could come from
the ambitious effort to do too much in too little time: a common theme
in our everything now culture. Then, there is the question of exactly
what you are late for: responding to an email? It has now become acceptable
to completely ignore or likely not even see an email from a friend or
associate. It is presumed the emailer will call, text, message, chat,
or email again if it's important enough. Are you late to appointments?
Late to Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter/social media posts and replies? Late
to voicemails replies? Late home from work? Late getting married? Late
starting a new career/going back to school? Late starting a family? Late
As life is busy with many opportunities to be late, there is only so much
that a person can do in so little time. As lives stretch longer pushed
by medical advances, lateness in a person's long term goals, plans,
and life events is to be expected. The longer a person's lifetime,
the more likely the chance of incapacity – which may be remedied
with simple estate planning solutions to take care of medical or financial
issues: like during a hospital visit, or for life support decisions.
The flipside of lateness, and related to the element of procrastination,
is the uncanny ability of some procrastinators to work well under pressure.
For example, the student who produces a two-week project/assignment on
a Sunday night before the project is due, then gets a good grade.
We at the Meyring Law Firm help people and families plan their estates,
wills, trusts, and resolve probate problems. Clients must be ready to
acknowledge their own mortality, potential incapacity, and deal with deeply
personal family issues so we may effectively resolve problems and give
clients piece of mind. This requires actually slowing down for a few minutes
even if planning (or probate) is "late" in coming. Dealing with
those issues and taking that time is not easy. We help clients easily
understand and navigate these estate planning, trust, and probate issues.
Recently, this expression, maxim, or phrase about funeral-lateness has
taken on a more philosophical and existential meaning for me. I ask: If
my funeral is "late" because I have died long after I have turned
100 years old - is that not the act of being "late" for my own
funeral? That will be a good thing. That's a worthy goal to journey toward.