What I Want People To Say About Me When I’m Gone
Inevitable Part of Life
It seems like a morbid, fatalistic thought, I know, but I have given thought to my funeral. Having attended the funerals for my father, my aunt and my father-in-law, and the wake that followed, I know how people can talk about the things they remember most about the person who has passed. Material things are not what people usually talk about at a funeral. They usually talk about what kind of family person they were, how many friends and loved ones he/she is leaving behind and whether or not he or she will be missed. The things you remember about someone who has passed is usually time spent with them and the relationship you had with them.
One day not too long ago, my children were joking with me about what they would be saying about me at my funeral. They had many embarrassing stories and ribbed me about things they knew I didn’t want to be said about me. We all laughed and had a good time. Later I got to thinking: what would I like people to really say about me when I’m gone? Maybe I should say what would I NOT like people to say about me when I’m gone.
I don’t want people to say I was selfish.
Sure I have selfish moments, like anyone, but I try to think of others before myself. Still, I know I don’t always succeed. I think I would like to hear that people close to me thought of me as selfless.
Who hasn’t had times when you are asked to do something outside your comfort zone? Like Bilbo Baggins, I say adventures make one late for supper, and that’s not comfortable. I would rather not leave my comfy bed and stay a week with a sick family member, or drive hundreds of miles to be at the hospital for a friend, but those are things we should be willing to do for the people we love. I hope I have ignored my discomfort levels and done things for people enough to be thought of kindly when I pass.
If we have been pleased with life, we should not be displeased with death, since it comes from the hand of the same master.— Michelangelo
I don’t want people to say I was cold.
Like being selfish, I know I haven’t always been the warmest or friendliest person, but I certainly have tried to be. I have had a few friends that really can try a person’s patience and some folks have asked me why I put up with this person or that person. I think it is because I want people to put up with me. If I show grace wherever I go, maybe I will be worthy of some back when I am older and less than friendly.
Every person, all the events of your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.— Richard Bach
Do you expect some bad things to be said about you at your funeral?
I don’t want people to say that I was hateful.
When I love, I love deeply and faithfully, even people who prove they are unworthy of that devotion. I have very few really close friends, but those who know I care about them. I have had my pet issues, but I think I have tried to separate the person from the issue or belief system. I know a few bigots, some in my own family. I really hate bigotry and racism, but I don’t want to be someone who hates the person that is acting that way. I hope I have been someone who is loving, even to the unlovely.
Say not in grief: "He is no more", but live in thankfulness that he was.— Hebrew Proverb
Time and Money
I don’t want people to say I was stingy.
Sure I have been frugal; ask my children. But stingy is someone who won’t share even when they have it to share. I hope people see me as someone who is likely to give and give generously if it is at all earthly possible. I’ve had some selfish, stingy moments when I think of how hard I’ve worked for what I’ve got, but those are short moments and I try never to indulge them. I want to be a generous, giving person always.
I look at life as a gift of God. Now that he wants it back, I have no right to complain.— Joyce Cary
Where We All Eventually Go
When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.— Cherokee Expression
My Great Aunt Paulou's Memorial
I don’t want people to say I was unapproachable.
This one is one of the hardest for me. I do like to be somewhat of a hermit and tend to close myself off, especially when I am being creative and artistic. But when I’m needed I try to be available. My husband said today that I masked it well when he called me for the 10th time to come help him, interrupting me from a creative project I was in the middle of. He said he didn’t notice that I was slightly annoyed. He’s sweet to me and probably chooses not to notice if I’m irritated. I hope no one ever notices if I am slightly annoyed. Creativity is one thing, but relationships are what last.
Death--the last sleep? No, the final awakening.— Walter Scott
I don’t want people to say I was a gossip.
I have had a few fiascoes when I failed to keep my big mouth shut when small ears were listening. I know there are many times when it is appropriate to talk about a concern, but I have fallen prey to talking out of turn about things and people that didn’t concern me and I am ashamed of those times. I hope as I get older that I have been better and keeping a watch before my mouth. It is my sincere hope that my failures are not what people remember most, but those times when I have been faithful and trustworthy with secrets.
The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.— Harriet Beecher Stowe
What do you think?
I figure if I manage to keep people from saying or even thinking any of these things about me, then I have lived a good life. I will be very happy.
What do you think?