Three Chairs

An entire life lived.

And at the end of it,

    It only filled three chairs.

Three Chairs

Somber words.

Military salute.

I reflect.

Who wouldn’t be in my life if I only had

Three chairs to fill.

At my funeral.

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45 thoughts on “Three Chairs

  1. Anonymous says:

    Most sad thing I’ve ever read 😦

  2. Who is this about…if you don’t mind me asking.

  3. mewhoami says:

    Can’t even imagine…

    • MeWHoAmI, that’s what I told my friend. We were both trying to wrap our head around it. Maybe I have the wrong attitude. Maybe it’s wonderful that there were “some” people there. But it just struck me. Decades and decades of life and interaction…. and “only” three chairs needed for a funeral. It made me reflect.

  4. Liked this, Colleen, with my own interpretation… though unclear as to what your message is.

    • At this funeral there were only three mourners. I couldn’t help but reflect on how who would NOT be in my life to need only three chairs to accommodate mourners at my funeral.

      It could be that all of this person’s friends and family has died before. Or that for the entirety of this life lived, there were not that many connections made, that many would have been left behind to miss or mourn.

      Either way….it felt very sad.

      (Because of my job we have often attended funerals of people who at the end of their lives are very much alone. It is not the first funeral I have attended where only a handful or less of people have attended.)

      • Thanks for the explanation.

      • Thank you for elaborating. This is exactly what I believed your were referencing but refrained from a more detailed comment as I may have been ‘off page.’

        Indeed this is sad. I suspect (and hope) there are some logical, explainable reasons for this dynamic. Funny how the individual who has passed, it is irrelevant as s/he is now reunited with the spirits of those who were a part of their mortal life. It is we who are left to process, feel and wonder about the ‘whys’ that become conflicted and burdened.

        As with much in life, matters such as this are left to a Higher Authority to sort and understand. This doesn’t mean we cannot pause and reflect on what might be, but I gain some solace in knowing that all is right in His hands.

  5. Trying to work it out by your tags, but I’m still a bit confused.

    • Jen, I went to a funeral yesterday, and there were only three mourners. Of course there could be many reasons why there were only three. This person could have outlived entire families and all friends. Or, they could have lived a life where there were no friends made or family he connected with. It just caused me to reflect on life lived and how “only” three chairs were needed for a funeral.

  6. bikebrown says:

    What a sad and lonely life they must have lived.

  7. Just a thought. What if they were filled with Love, Peace, and Charity?

    • I thought that as well. Three who love you sitting in those chairs would certainly trump having three who sat there just to make sure you were gone.

      How lucky a life if Love, Peace and Charity were with you until the very end here. Thank you Priceless Joy.

  8. This is deep on so many level. I don’t even know what to think or feel. Never thought of my end and how many would show up. Would I care, would it matter, what would it all say about me? Hmmm something to think about.

    • I think I care “now” Shian. I mean, I want to live now so that when I am gone what I leave behind in memories and hearts is good and positive. Thank you for giving this thought! 🙂

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have not gone to funerals in the past with the reason of.. They won’t know..
    But now… I will know.
    This is what I think
    It’s not where u started or how u finished,it’s more important of how u you got there

  10. Jim McKeever says:

    Thought-provoking in so few words, Colleen. Was the person a WW II vet? If so, there wouldn’t be many contemporaries remaining. Regardless, your post is a powerful reminder that we need to step back – regularly – and assess how we are living our lives, and what we’re here for.

    • Yes, a WWII vet. The honor guard was there, outside.

      It’s the assessing that got me to thinking. When I go to some of these funerals I just notice the marked difference in funerals from person to person. I don’t think the number of people necessarily reflect the joy one experienced or not in their lives, but sometimes it does reflect ‘something’.

      Thank you Jim.

  11. What a heartbreaking end to a life that should have been celebrated. I suppose some have no-one in their lives anymore. 🐻

  12. markbialczak says:

    Sad in so many perspectives, Colleen. If the veteran outlived family and friends, as Jim wonders, how lonely that must have been to miss that companionship as they left before him. If the veteran pushed family and friends away because of the horror of time served, how terrible that must have been for them to witness the change from before to after then cut ties to the extent that there were just three chairs.

    Powerful post, my friend.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Truly sad if he wanted more. For me, however, three chairs too many. I want those who might want to memorialize me to do it in a congenial and outrageously humorous venue.

  14. Very sad. Thank you for being there.

  15. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Wow. I have it written that I do not want a funeral (though M has the right to override that if he needs it). This isn’t the reason but wow what a thing to contemplate.

    I am glad you were there in one of those chairs. Your heart certainly counts as more than one, both in this person’s life and after.

    • Well I wasn’t alone. My coworkers and I all feel the same way about this. (I just happen to be the only one that blogs about it.) So much more to contemplate about this. But I think instead of applying these thoughts to the one who passed, I need to internalize it in regards to how I am living.

  16. niaaeryn says:

    That is sad…but as you said there could be many reasons. At least you were there. *hugs*

  17. April says:

    You use so few words, but I totally understood what you were trying to convey. Of course, I’m not able to respond with few words with impact. My grandma once told me that all her friends and most of her siblings were gone. Due to a bunch of poor communication, and being that my brother passed the day before my grandma, I had changed our flight tickets thinking that after my brother’s funeral, we would attend my grandma’s, or vice versa. Unfortunately, my grandma’s funeral was the day we were leaving.

    Anyway, at my sister’s funeral the church was filled with people standing in the back. I spoke about her, but the only people I saw that day were her children, her husband, my mom, my younger sister.

    I hope I have lived a life that either outlives all that I know, or that I made a difference in someone’s life.

  18. reocochran says:

    Oh my, Colleen. So sorry, was he so old he outlived his family? sometimes, while I was an activities director, I would hold memorial services, using photos of their times at the home. I was always saddened when there were only a few there. By the way, we had not only the Veteran’s association come for holidays Veteran’s Day but we also invited the Color Guard from the high school and the OWU college. There were always a lot of people gathered and we would sound a bell or have a horn, then one of us would read all the members of the nursing home’s names that were served. If it were possible, we had little plaques made, other years budget tightened overt he 4 years, I would hand write in a nice way a small little certificate thanking for their specific service. It was always easy to get this info from charts and family.

    • That sounds like a lovely service Robin. I know why this person was so alone. But it’s not my story to tell. But yes, much older. And I don’t want to minimize that there were people who cared. The number isn’t what matters. But it’s still such a shock to me, coming from such a large family, to see such small funerals. This wasn’t the first I’ve attended like this. And I doubt it will be the last. It’s just hard to ‘see’, even if it isn’t a true reflection of a life lived. Some don’t want people to gather and mourn. Some have no one left. Some…..never had ‘many’ but those they had filled their lives joyfully. There are so many ways to interpret this. I can’t help but feel sad. Even if what I ‘see’ is not accurate to what is or was.

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