Dead People Can’t Hear You

Why is it that many people have to wait until they’re in a wooden box for others to say how they really feel about them?

You’ve probably been to funerals where family and friends talk in glowing terms of the person who has passed on and wondered if they knew how loved they were while they were still alive.

Sure, there are times when the person who has died bears no resemblance to the wonderful human being who is being described at the funeral service. Some people seem to have no redeeming features during their lifetime but suddenly develop a much kinder and more lovable disposition at the time of death. That’s not the kind of person I’m talking about here. I’m talking about good people who have done their best with the days that they’ve been given on this planet yet have gone to their grave never really knowing just how much they’ve meant to those close to them or how they’ve influenced those whose lives they’ve touched.

A Live Wake

Last week during the Simply Living segment on 98.5 Sonshine FM, Jill Bonanno and I talked about having a ‘live wake’ to express love and appreciation before someone passes away. You can hear our conversation by clicking the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

It wouldn’t need to be a morbid affair. The next time someone you love is celebrating a significant birthday you could perhaps invite friends and family to say a few words which would demonstrate how they feel. I’ve heard of people who’ve asked others to send stories and photos before a celebration so that they could put together a book of appreciation.

Who needs to know how you feel about them?

On a personal level, have you ever taken the time to send a note, a letter, or even an email to someone to tell them how much they mean to you? When was the last time you looked into someone’s eyes and told them you truly love them?

Saying something like, “They know how I feel”, is a copout. How can they really know if you haven’t told them? And if you haven’t told them in recent weeks don’t take it for granted that they still feel secure about their place in your heart.

How else can we show appreciation?

Can you think of other ways to ensure that those you care about know, really know, with every part of their being, that they are loved and appreciated?

Don’t let anyone you know die without knowing the impact they’ve made in your life. None of us know how much time we have left so don’t put it off. Tell someone today how important they are to you.


Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Dead People Can’t Hear You? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

View all posts


  • Great post and so very true! We aren’t psychic. Having someone tell you how much you mean to them can really lift your spirits and help you keep going in loving others.

  • Hi Rod, I used that headstone graphic with my name on it last November to illustrate a point. Let’s just say, after the couple of months I had after that I won’t be doing it again!

  • I helped arrange and run a funeral for my senior pastor (and mentor)’s wife yesterday. She was an amazing lady who had just lost her 10 year battle with cancer.

    She was also an amazingly humble lady who, though worked hard even amidst her sickness to win people for Christ, she never wanted the praise for her actions. She would have flatly refused a live wake – though I’m sure people always tried to tell her what a wonderful woman she was.

    Yesterday’s thanksgiving service had 600+ people there, totally packing out our church and joining hall (with live video feed) – we even broadcast the service live to the internet because we knew people overseas who wished to be at there.

    This was our opportunity to show the family how much this lady meant to us. And for us to share with and support them in their grief.

    I think that’s probably more what a thanksgiving service is about… rather than saying things we couldn’t say during their life.

Join the conversation