A Year Full of Yes
by Erin Darst Hein
Most of the time, we all do a pretty good job of willfully suppressing the thought of our own mortality. No one likes to look the thought of death in the eye. We all know that we will die, of course, and we know that we should have a will and that we should have a plan in place for our passing, but the truth is, most of us don’t. (My husband and I, for example, started our will probably 5 times, but when we get to the part about who would get our children, it gets gritty and emotional and we put it off.) Still, the thought of our unknown future death is always quietly just There. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing! It’s good to remember that every day is precious, but realistically we’re all walking the same line of thinking about it enough and suppressing it enough; that line between healthy self-preservation and living in fear.
When you grow up behind the scenes of the funeral industry, it’s in your conscious mind more than your peers. Maybe you look squiggle-eyed at a trampoline instead of coveting it like most kids. Maybe as a teenager you refuse to drive after dark on New Years. Ok, or maybe you’re just a little bit of a wet blanket. Now with kids of my own, I’ve learned (and I’m sure my husband will tell you that I am still learning) to trade fear of what I can’t control for reasonable preparation; to get out in the world and make the days count. So this year our New Years’ resolution was to “Say Yes More.”
That’s why last month, when we were sitting at lunch with our 3 kids (4, 2, and 4 months) one minute one of us was imagining how fun it would be for the kids to see snow and a few hours later, we were in the van, suitcases packed with whatever warmish clothes we could put together, and we were headed North with absolutely no destination in mind. We called it our Choose Your Own Adventure Vacation. When we were hungry or crabby, we stopped. When something looked interesting, we turned off for it. Each morning we checked the weather, called ahead to random hotels along the proposed route(s) to ask about snow and road conditions and just set off. We landed in Elk City, Oklahoma, of all places. We all tried new foods, and met new friends, and saw family that we have missed. We had a midnight snow ball fight and went sledding on plastic bags, and Jack (4) learned a hard lesson when his boots got stuck in the snow drift so he walked up the hill in his socks to tell us about it. I think it was the best vacation I have ever been on.
Maybe I still have a long way to go before I could say yes to motorcycle tricks or tornado chasing, but I’m definitely trading in some ‘what-ifs’ for some ‘why nots’, this year. I’m going to get out there and tackle things I have been putting off (Like that will. That’s in print now - so hold me to this, guys), and I hope you’ll join me. Dust off your bucket list (and your half-finished will) and let's go check some things off and make some memories. When you do, shoot me an email. I can't wait to hear about your adventures!
Here’s to a year full of Yes!
Erin Darst Hein is the daughter of John Darst of Darst Funeral Home. You can reach her at email@example.com. Erin lives in Kingwood with her husband Evan and her 3 children Jack (4), Caroline (2), and Ian (4 months).
If your Year Full of Yes includes pre-planning your funeral, just call John and mention this article for $1000 discount. You can reach Darst Funeral Home at 281-312-5656, visit us at 796 Russell Palmer Rd, or join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/darstfuneralhome
This article was originally published in Dockline Magazine.
Part 1: Earliest Memories
Part 2: Holidays on a cemetery
Part 3: This Little Light of Mine
Part 4: Genealogy
Part 5: The Man Behind The Magic
Part 6: No Cancer But a Dose of Perpective
Part 7: A Year Full of Yes
Part 8: Last Moments and First Steps
Part 9: Facing Fathers Day Without Your Father
Part 10: When Children Grieve
Part 11: From Velvet to Violets: Shedding New Light on Saying Goodbye
Part 12: If it Won't Open, It's Not Your Door
Part 13: Love, After All
Part 14: New Beginnings
Part 15: Not Goodbye, Just Goodnight
Part 16: Holding Space for Dying
Part 17: Grieving and Pets: A Family Affair