When I pass, I don’t want to become a collection of pictures that are quickly forgotten; flat images on paper without substance. Abandoned furniture in a dusty house that’s slowly rotting and left to the amusement of neighborhood kids to vandalize and make fun of. I want to be remembered for who I was.
Remember how much I loved apple cider and picking apples with my kids; remember that I loved crab and cherries and pizza. Remember that I never let my husband cook for holidays, and that I got sad if the turkey was dry. Remember that I refused to wash dishes; remember how much I loved the cherry blossom pattern on my dishes because they reminded me of my wedding. Remember that I could drink my coffee black but I preferred it with sugar and cream; remember that I loved coco wheats with buttered toast (like they served at my kindergarten) and sausage, corn and butter noodles mixed together. Remember that I practically considered bread a religious experience, and that I HATED salad.
Remember how I loved to sing, and i loved Doris Day, and i thought William Shatner was amazing. Remember that I really thought those solos at Christmas concerts, in my red plaid skirt and my pile of curls, were the pinnacle of my existence. Remember that I loved directing the Children’s choir, especially when my nephew was in it. Remember that i loved the spotlight but hated all the backbiting and politics in theater. Remember that I dreamed of sending my son to Broadway; remember the lullabies I sung my babies every night, prayers from a mother who got too little time with them that they’d somehow feel and know that I was always with them.
Remember that everyone thought my favorite color was purple but it was actually blue; remember that I spent almost every day of my childhood outside by myself, and how I loved clinging to a swaying pine tree, the feel of moss on my bare feet, sunshine on a cool, autumn day and the brisk, cold creek water any time of the year. Remember that lilacs were my favorite flower. Remember that I grew up in a rich imaginary world that was utterly real to me. Remember that I thought I’d be more than that home i was raised in, but that I didn’t think I deserved anything better or at all. Remember that I was put in the hallway or behind a divider in class for most of my young school life, that I had few friends but was a talking distraction, that my peers called me Betsy Wetsy mercilessly and hated me. Remember that my world still shone with beauty and exploration.
Remember how being at odds with family hurt me, but I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. Remember that I loved and admired my mother as much as my relationship with her hurt me, and hated the distance that appeared in our relationship as i grew. Remember that I did forgive my father, that I loved my brothers, that I adored my aunts and uncles and cousins and nephews and nieces. Remember how I ran from anyone who rejected me, even if I cared about them, to avoid the pain. Remember the emotional, physical and sexual abuse that I survived; remember that my husband and children were my LIFE and helped me heal in so many ways. Remember that my animals were like children to me, but I got so irritated when they threw up on stuff; remember Brian knowing that if there was a towel on the floor, I was ignoring vomit and hoping he’d clean it up.
Remember my love hate relationship with school, my adoration of a family I never got to physically meet who lived in New Zealand, my tendency to ignore my own feelings until my body was falling apart to get my attention. Remember that I rarely finished projects but I was always eager to start them. Remember that Jane Austin was my favorite writer, my garden was my calm, safe space, and that I loved justice, fairness and lavender. Remember my “journeying” as I explored Celtic Shamanism, my love of the Tao, my calling myself a “recovering Catholic” who adored the mass and thought of it as home.
Remember the eccentricity that made me “me”. Don’t forget, don’t let me pass silently into the abyss. I was complex and sensitive and hard to love and loving – remember that. Remember me.