The farewell address is a speech given by individuals who have served in a certain capacity for a long time. They address those who have followed them and are loyal to their cause. The address embodies the culmination of the successes, the failures, the stories long past, and gives a positive message and inspiration to those who have supported the individual over the course of a career. When I was 19, my father tragically and suddenly passed away. A couple of years ago, my cousin-we had grown up together and were as close as brothers-died after a battle with cancer. I was supposed to talk with my cousin one final time but never did. In fact, we never really talked about him dying at all. I guess it may have been too difficult to do it since we were so close. I never had a chance to talk with my father one last time because he died so suddenly. I believe that closure before death is important, both for the people that are dying and the family that they leave behind. Too often, the end comes tragically for some and unexpectedly for others.
My calling is to help people to become more resilient. I have taught my program to various individuals and groups; the common theme is that I help people design a program that includes multiple "tools" that combine to give you second to none resilience. This week, we will design our farewell address. This should not be a morbid exercise, even though you are imagining that you will be giving this speech at your funeral. This address is a celebration of your life on this planet. The address should embody key components that were important to you. The address should flow from your heart and instill a sense of closure for your guests. Speaking of guests, make a list of individuals that you want to be included as your audience to receive your speech. Friends and family, both past and present, dead or alive, can be included. Who are the important people in your life. Include them at the end of your speech.
This assignment is the ultimate self-reflection exercise. We conduct self-reflections as a way to look back on our performance, learn a few lessons, and improve our performance and happiness in the future. In this speech, you are giving the individuals in the audience both closure and a hope for a future that you will not be involved with, at least physically. What words of wisdom will you leave with your audience? How do you think they will react? How can you help them to give meaning to the tragic loss that they have experienced?
This exercise is not designed to bring you sadness. On the contrary, it should help you to open your eyes to the people that are most important in your life and help you to truly live today like it were your last one. Enjoy!
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