First Two Rows
My father-in-law, Emily and Nate’s dad, Caron's husband of 50 years—Brian Boucher—passed away recently after a sudden heart attack. He loved people well, was a loyal husband and father, teacher of 30 years, and Young Life leader in Lake Oswego for over 40 years.
Brian was always so generous with his time and talents, had a deep faith, and would ask really great questions to get to know you as person. In one sentence, he took seriously what it means to “Love God and love others.” He is already deeply missed by our entire community.
Two weeks ago we had a celebration of life for Brian where several hundred people came to pay their respects and share stories of how Brian impacted them. His legacy was amazing. I was reminded of something I heard Daniel Harkavy say several years ago about the first two rows at a funeral. He said that although many people attend funerals and have relationships with the person who died, the lives of those in the first two rows are impacted forever. After a few weeks, most people go about their own lives, but the friends and family in the first two rows will continue to feel the loss far beyond the weeks and months ahead. I feel that a lot now. The world seems to be moving forward, and for his wife, kids, and closest friends, there is still the deep ache of missing him that won’t go away anytime soon.
That got me wondering about my own "first two rows"as I reflect upon how Brian lived his life. It was a reminder that we don't have a lot of control over many things, but we do over how we interact with others. Who are in my first two rows? Am I giving them the attention that they deserve? How can I live more intentionally to foster those relationships that truly matter?
Maybe it means putting down my phone a little more when I'm with my kids. Maybe it means picking up the phone to set aside time on my busy calendar to meet with an aging parent or friend. Maybe it means connecting with a sibling who I haven't had as much contact with over the past year.
I don’t know who are in your first two rows, and none of us know when the last day on this earth will be. But I hope that maybe Brian's life well lived will be an inspiration to be a little more deliberate with the people who will someday sit in our first two rows at our own funeral.