Who Will Your Pallbearers Be?

I had lunch last week with a good friend of mine.  We’ve been trying for six months to get this lunch set up, but just haven’t been able to make it happen.

This is a guy I love!  We worked together at Applebee’s, spent basically every day together. He’s the best operations person I know, great leader, and one of the few people I would ever go to work for.

So, why haven’t we been able to find time to get together more often?

Well, he told me, “Tim, you know I think you’re great. You are the best HR person I’ve ever worked with. But, I’ve been trying to focus on who my Pallbearers will be!”


He’s been trying to focus on six relationships. The six people who will carry his casket when he dies. His Pallbearers!

His theory is I can’t keep up with everyone. I’ve probably got six relationships that I can really focus on in my life. These six people I call my Pallbearers. They are the ones who will carry me to my final resting place, and given that, I better focus on having a really good relationship with them.

So, two things:

  1. I didn’t make his Pallbearer list. Which I’m actually okay with. I loved hearing the philosophy to behind why he’s dodged me for six straight months, and how he selected his six!
  2. I don’t have six!

It really got me to thinking.  Who the hell would my Pallbearers be?  If you take out family, because I really don’t want them to work to hard the day I go six feet under, who would carry my casket? Sadly, I couldn’t come up with six.

I’m 45 years old, and I couldn’t think of six people who would carry my casket. Not if they were asked. I’ve been asked to be a pallbearer, and you can’t say No, even if you really don’t know the person. I mean six people who wouldn’t allow anyone else to carry my casket because they wanted the honor!

In my mind, I’m thinking six men.  I have some close friends that are ladies, but I’m a little traditional in that you don’t normally see ladies carrying a casket. I’ve either got a bunch of relationship building to do, or I need to lose a bunch of weight! If I’m super skinny, maybe I can get away with just four pallbearers!

Another thought was cremation. If I get cremated I really only need one person to carry the ashes.  That would be way easier to find just one!

I still kept coming back to the pallbearer six.  Why don’t I have six male relationships in my life who would really want to carry my casket?  Need to change that.

In the end, it comes down to priorities.  For the better part of 19 years I’ve put my time into my family and raising kids. And, I don’t regret a moment of that! But, my friendships suffered because of it. Pallbearer type friendships take time and effort. Time and effort I didn’t give.

Do you know who your pallbearers will be?


8 thoughts on “Who Will Your Pallbearers Be?

  1. Very Deep!!! I got buddies from college but that’s about it. But for u my friend I would join John Hollon and fly in from Dubai

  2. Tim, I’m available too. I know it probably means a trip to Michigan, but after spending the last year going back and forth from California to upstate New York, Michigan looks easy.

    I will also gladly knock down a shot of gin in your honor even though I hate gin (why can’t you like rum or tequila?). If you want, I will also read one of your blog posts that was published on TLNT in your memory. It’s the least I can do.

  3. I’ve got my 6 pallbearers already picked out, but it’s not because they are the 6 closest people in my life.
    It’s because I want them to let me down one last time.

  4. Tim -heavy stuff for a Friday – but great food for thought…I too have to look at this – I am in the same boat as you – focus has been on family/kids too (which is good) but time to look external as well! Thanks!

  5. This is one reason I’m glad I can call on my Marine brother and sisterhood. One call does it all. But now….who would be my 6 honoraries. That’s something to ponder.

  6. I’ve been resistant to a philosophy in business where you only pour out yourself to a select few. I prefer giving my all to everyone I can as best I can. However, in the area of personal relationships, outside of family, I don’t think one could find more sound wisdom.

    • Believe me Hebert, paying is one possibility. I mean we outsource everything else, why not outsource this one final job!

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