Pennie Hunt: We Are All Simple People

in Pennie Hunt

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By Pennie Hunt, Columnist

We were sitting in a funeral home at a round table in a small meeting room. I had been here before. 

Not at this funeral home and not planning this funeral, but I have been in this space. 

It’s the space where someone is no longer with us, the space where we plan the final goodbye, the space of exhaustion from the days leading up to this moment. I had done this many times before – sat in a chair like this in the space of sadness, grief and, yes, love.

This time it was for my mother-in-law, Marion. I say her name because we should. We should say the names of our loved ones who have passed from this life. It shows respect and honor for who they were. It helps us remember them.

During the conversation, the funeral director was going through a list of options when my husband said, “No, none of that is necessary. She was a simple person.” 

I smiled, remembering another time I heard that comment. It was a few months before my dad, Charlie Hunt, passed. He had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and it was his last few months of life. 

I had treated my parents to a nice hotel room. My dad looked around the room and said, “Oh, we don’t need anything this fancy. We are simple people.”

Hearing my husband say it about his mom made the room we were sitting in feel bigger. Suddenly, it held the memories of all the funerals I had planned in the last few years. It held their faces, their last days, their last words. 

And it held a shocking reality – that we are all simple people. 

Most people don’t like to admit it. Most people don’t like to show it. We hide it behind the homes we live in, the cars we drive, the toys we buy and the clothes we wear. We cover our simplicity with titles, accomplishments and awards. 

We spend a lifetime trying to prove that we are somebody. We use our careers and status to help us believe we are, that we have climbed the ladder to the top and have made it far above the simple people.

But are we that important? Are we really above anyone? 

The truth is we are all just simple people. Stripped down to our raw nakedness of being human we are all the same. We all arrived in this life in the same way without any of these possessions or accolades. Without the house, the cars, the toys, the clothes, the awards and titles, we are all just people. We all matter. We are all equally important. We are all loved by someone. 

We have all made differences in our lives to someone. We are all simply living and making our way through this life the best we can.

Maybe it is time to wake up to this reality. I’m not saying we should get rid of all that we have worked for or earned in life. I’m just saying maybe it is time to put it all into perspective. The shiny things we buy and the big titles we carry don’t change who we are. They don’t make us bigger or better than anyone else. 

Don’t wait until you have been given a diagnosis and realize you have months to live. Don’t wait until you say your last goodbye to a loved one to see this reality. 

None of these things, possessions, properties, titles or awards matter. 

Understand this now: We are all simple people. 

Pennie’s Life Lesson: We all come into this life and leave the same way – as simple people.

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