My Shout: The celebration of life

Charlotte Guedry
Charlotte Guedry is the Editor of the Gonzales Weekly Citizen.?You can reach her by emailing

Funerals have always scared be a little bit. I’m a sensitive soul, and the entire idea of a funeral just makes me so very sad.

I grew up never viewing an open casket. I know the body lying there is only a vessel, but the entire concept frightens me, so for the most part I’ve avoided going to them.

Recently a very dear friend of mine’s mother passed away. The lady, Mrs. Barbara Schexnaydre, was a lovely women from what I hear, and when my friend Kent called and asked me to come, I felt it was my place to do so.

Perhaps he sensed my fears when he said,”?This will be like no funeral you’ve ever been to. It’s going to be a celebration.”

Well, Kent, Amen to that!

Barbara’s funeral was filled with singing and with laughter, Of course there were tears, but for the most part, the entire time was exactly as Kent said it would be. It was indeed a celebration of life.

On the night before her funeral, people waited outside to get in and pay their respects. They smiled as they told stories of Barbara and her family.

The service before the funeral saw family members and friends come together and rejoice in a women who had touched the lives of so many.

I honestly had no idea funerals could be that way.

I felt myself getting washed with the same wave that was taking over those closest to her. I laughed when others did, and I sang along with voices lifted in her honor.

I never met Barbara. I never spent time with this woman who mattered to so many, but I have been included in her family by my friends, so although I felt strange for being there at first, I soon discovered that this funeral was about more than saying farewell to a woman so revered by so many.

You see, this funeral was to serve as a reminder of all the good that can come from simply being decent.

I left Holy Rosary?Church with a different outlook on life. I walked to my car and felt that a new peace had washed over me.

When my time comes, I want to be celebrated. I want no somber affair. I want people to laugh at the memories of me that brought a smile to their faces. I want them to sing along to the songs that meant so much to me. I want there to be dancing, and even the odd remark about some silly quirk I possessed.

Most of all, I want to be surrounded by the good people who’s lives I have touched, as that’s truly what that day was all about.

I will never get to know Barbara. I will never laugh with her, or feel better for having known her. I will, though, live through her.

She taught me on that cold Saturday morning that life is what you make it, and if you make it the best it can possibly be, then the rewards will certainly come. I saw it firsthand in the faces of those who knew her. 

I vow to be someone people will honor and celebrate.?I vow to be someone people with remember as having lived a fair and a good life. I vow to be the best Charlotte I can possibly be, to everyone who meets me.

I do this for my family and my friends. I do this for those I have yet to meet.?Mostly, though, I do it for a woman I never knew, but who somehow taught me more in one day than so many that have come before her. I do it for Barbara.

Charlotte Guedry is the Editor of the Gonzales Weekly Citizen.?You can reach her by emailing