Living and dying well

Not every day is filled with laughter.

Yesterday I went to a funeral. It was the send off for a friend’s brother, Mark. Hundreds of people had driven to the corner of the city to pay their last respects to this one man. By all accounts Mark was a kind and fun-loving man. I never met him but I knew him through his sister’s words and it was always clear how much she loved him.

Mark spent his last years saving lives as an ambulance officer. He died helping a neighbour cut a branch off their tree. As an organ donor, his death brought new life to five sick people, including a two year old child.

It was a sad day. Funeral’s always are sad. Yet it was a true celebration of a wonderful life – a life filled with laughter and love. When Mark’s son spoke at the funeral he said his father couldn’t have died better. Mark died on a sunny day, on his much-loved land, surrounded by his family, and helping a friend. Beyond that, his death may have saved the lives of many more.

We are all going to die someday. And so we must try to live as we plan to die. If every day we live according to our values and our love then, chances are, when our time comes, we will have died well.

My friend summed it up beautiful when she shared her memories to the mourning crowd: “It is said that there should be only three goals in life – to love, to be loved, and to make a difference. By this account Mark lived a very good life.”

It’s simple and powerful advice – dedicate your life to loving others, to being loved, and to making a difference. Happiness (both your own and other people’s) will naturally flow. By following these three guiding principles you will not only live well, but chances are you will also die well.

Rest in peace, Mark. You did a bloody good job.


About Cassandra

Hi, I'm Cassandra. I work in fundraising, love travelling, and am fascinated by how we can inspire one another to greatness and spread human kindness. Connect with me on twitter @cassandra_nz


  1. What a beautiful testiment to a beautiful man!

  2. That is so beautiful!!!!such a nice lesson “there should be only three goals in life – to love, to be loved, and to make a difference.” I love this!!

  3. Wow what a wonderful man he sounds like and someone who will be missed by many people…………

  4. Anonymous

    it really inspire me, hope that more and more people see
    the difference.

  5. To live so that one’s life and one’s death both have meaning is a powerful statement.

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