Post-mortem kindnesses

(J. R. Miller)

Do not keep the alabaster boxes of your affection sealed and laid away—until your friends are dead. Fill their present days with tenderness. Speak your words of commendation, while their ears can hear them! The things you mean to say when they are dead and gone—say before they go! The flowers you mean to send for their coffins—send beforehand to brighten and sweeten their homes, before they leave them forever!

I have often said—and I know I speak for thousands of other weary, plodding toilers—that if my friends have vases laid away, filled with the perfumes of sympathy and affection, which they intend to break over my dead body—I would far rather they would bring them out now along my toilsome days and open them—when I can enjoy them and be refreshed by them!

Post-mortem kindnesses do not cheer the burdened spirit. Tears falling on the icy brow of death, make poor and too tardy atonement for coldness, neglect, and cruel selfishness in life's long, struggling years. Appreciation, after the heart is stilled in death—has no inspiration for the departed one; it comes too late, when it is pronounced only in funeral eulogies. Flowers piled on the coffin—cast no fragrance backward over weary days.