Mike Hall: Tell Them Now

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Funerals are occasions for friends and loved ones to express thoughts they’ve probably never expressed to the dearly departed. Mike Hall says, "Why wait?"

I’m 44 years old and I've never been to a funeral. In college a good friend died, but his parents asked us not to attend. When my grandmother died the trip was too far. When my grandfather died my parents said I was too young. This year I was unable to make it to the U.K. for the funeral of my cousin.

Still, for the last 20 years I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about funerals. My mini-obsession started when I read “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” by Stephen Covey. Covey asks you to imagine your own funeral. Who would speak? What would they say about you? Write it all down, then work backwards from there and think about how you can live your life to have that funeral.

When I go on long walks, or my mind wanders during meditation, I think about this principle, and I fantasize. I fantasize about what people will say at my funeral, but also the amazing speeches I could give at the funerals of people I care about.

Then just recently it hit me. I have all these amazing things I’ve prepared to say about people once they're dead, but very few I’d planned to say to them while they are alive.


I’ve told my dad he was a good father, but I haven’t told him he’s an unsung hero for being an amazing single parent of three boys, while running his own business and going through a divorce.

I’ve told my brother I appreciate him, but he hasn’t heard the speech about his world-class tenacity, and how he’s used it to make the lives of our 370 employees so much better.

I’ve told my mom I love her, but not how all those difficult nights where she stood over my shoulder and made me re-write my school essays over and over led to my later success.

All these wonderful things I know they would love to hear, but unless I stop and deliver their funeral speeches to them now, they will never hear them.

So think about the people you love and what you would say about them at a funeral. Then write it down and send it, or better yet say it. Whatever. Just don’t allow them to go through life without hearing it.

With a Perspective, I’m Mike Hall.

Mike Hall is an executive in the renewable energy industry.