How do you want to be remembered? I think if everyone asked themselves this question, the world may be a better place. How do we want our loved ones, friends, and acquaintances to remember us? I’ve had a lot of time to think about this the last couple of years. In 2016, I was facing a potentially fatal health situation with a mass in my abdomen on two major organs. I wasn’t afraid of dying, but I was afraid of what it would do to my husband and children. I felt guilty about the potential pain and loss they would feel. I didn’t feel like I had had enough time with them. I even took my youngest daughter to Disney World because I wanted her to have happy memories of me, since she is still so young. Fortunately, that health scare all turned out to be benign, and I made a full recovery (I think!). Now I’m facing another serious health situation that has me questioning not only my mortality, but also thinking about how I want to be remembered. As I struggle with the migraines, seizures, balance problems, tinnitus, vertigo, and pressure in my head, I am constantly trying to stay positive, grateful, and keep my sense of humor! With the real possibilities of hearing loss and facial paralysis, and even death, staying positive can be a challenge! I lean on my husband a lot, but I know it hurts him to see me hurting and struggling. I’m just lucky I have him to help me through this process. I may live another 30, or even 40 years, but I may not. Any one of us could be gone tomorrow because of things we cannot control. So even though being sick has made me think about these things more often, everyone should think about this…..see if it changes your attitudes or behavior toward anyone, or about how differently we could be conducting ourselves.
My parents and grandparents were wonderful people. I don’t know of anyone who remembers them differently. They may be remembered for their humor, their bravery, their honesty, compassion, and kindness, but most of all, they will be remembered for being good people. My grandmother had a poem hanging next to her front door written by Samuel Walter Foss. It was called, “The House By the Side of the Road.” It read:
“Let me live in a house by the side of the road, where the race of men go by. The men who are good and the men who are bad, as good and bad as I. I would not sit in the scorner’s seat, nor hurl the cynic’s ban. Let me live in the house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.”
On the back of the poem was inscribed, “To Daisy…who lives in the house by the side of the road.” Obviously, my grandmother was thought of, and now remembered, as someone who was a friend to all, no matter how good or bad. Years later, I told my former sister in-law about that poem, and she presented me with one very similar to the one my grandmother had for my birthday. I have it hanging next to my front door, as Grannie did, and it reminds me every day to try not to be scornful or pass judgement on someone in need. It reminds me to be patient, helpful, generous, compassionate, and kind because my grandmother was all of those things and more! Having people in my life who have been so influential as far as their character and morals has been a blessing! Not everyone has good role models, and I have been blessed with so many! I have also been blessed with a good sense of humor, which helps me get through a lot of difficult situations!
For a very long time in my life, I was unhappy, and stressed out with a lot of responsibility. It was hard to stay positive sometimes! I hope that if people remember me during this time period, they will at least remember my strength and perseverance. I made it through some really difficult situations! We will all have difficult times in life, and hopefully, we are better people after getting through all of it.
I hope to be remembered as someone who is a good wife, mother, and grandmother, compassionate, helpful, protective, funny, kind, considerate, loving, sincere, welcoming, accepting, strong, stubborn (not always a bad thing, is it?), generous, and loyal. Are there other ways I will be remembered? Short? Silly? Sarcastic? Dog lover? Hard worker? Good teacher?
Like I said earlier, I think if we all thought about our own mortality, and how we want to be remembered, we may make more of an effort to be good people. Who wants to be remembered as mean, petty, selfish, angry, resentful, controlling, manipulative, racist, or hateful? We never know how much time we have left. We will not all live to be elderly. If you see any of these negative qualities in yourself, it isn’t too late to change. I want to be remembered as the one who lives in “the house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.”