“LIYE ing to yourself”

A friend of mine called late the other night in a morbid mood and at an advanced state of refreshment engaging in a bit of LIYE – Living In Your Eulogy. I know I often occupy this head space and was surprised at how many of my closest friends and family also find themselves daydreamingly floating round the dusty church rafters, helicopter viewing their own funerals. 

And most of us are in desperate need of an absolute tsunami of crippling grief gripping the congregation from Auntie Gina to Colin the kid you bullied in school when you were 7. And never mind tears, we want snot. People literally choking on their own phlegm and shaking with uncontrollable remorse over a loss that far outstrips anything Diana, JFK or Val Doonican achieved. We do need them to pull themselves together at some point however as all 600 will be required to make their own personal addresses from the pulpit about how their lives were completed and enriched by you and nothing but a vacuous and meaningless void now until they are once again reunited with you in the hereafter. 

Advanced LIYEr’s won’t finish when the curtain comes round the coffin or it is lowered into the grave, they follow everyone onto the pub to get the full grief effect once people are knocking back the sherry. Here the group is neatly segmented so one can listen in to gushingly positive feedback on what an amazing friend, brother, cousin, sister, daughter, lover, counsellor, philanthropist you were. 

But what do we want our old work colleagues to say? How do we want to be remembered by the people we lead, were lead by or worked alongside? Best goddam marketeer I ever knew?! An accountant who truly knew the importance of adding up correctly?! That kid knew their way around a post room like nobody I’ve ever seen?! Well yes but when we really break down people’s achievements in the work place its astonishing how often people reflect positively on the times they helped someone who was struggling. How they went out of their way to listen to a colleagues problem and then try to offer some support through the difficult time. And of course never underestimate the apathetic “kick up the backside” that often propels people to start taking their career or studies seriously. One of my clients recently explained to me that it was a Head of Finance who took him to one side and told him if he didn’t “get a grip and start working hard” he’d be in the same role for the rest of his career. “And you are too good for that” are the 7 words that still echo in his head today as he retires having made main Board for a FTSE 100 Utility company with a pension pot to shame the dead. What was wonderful about his tale was the guy telling him to pull his boot straps up was my Uncle Vic!. Bless him and god rest his soul as he passed away last year and biased though I am he was a true legend.

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