Perennials – Swaying daffodils
Spring is a time of planting, pruning and blooming. So why am I thinking of remembrances and memorials? Shouldn’t I be thinking of awakenings? And yet…as I see the daffodils everywhere, I am reminded of both past and present at the same time. They have returned! I exclaim to myself just like the memory of someone close returns. How do I want to be remembered? Do I have any control over how I will be remembered? So much of my life and the different lives I lead (family, work, community) are recorded on various social media websites and in my innumerable email correspondences.
Do these stories capture me and how I have grown and become ME?
“Trippers and askers surround me,
People I meet . . . . . the effect upon me of my early life . . . . of the ward and city I live in . . . . of the nation,
The latest news . . . . discoveries, inventions, societies . . . . authors old and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,
The sickness of one of my folks—or of myself . . . . or ill-doing . . . . or loss or lack of money . . . . or depressions or exaltations,
These come to me days and nights and go from me again,
But they are not the Me myself. “
From Song of Myself, IV by Walt Whitman
My song has many stanzas and many voices. There is context. I do not want to be remembered without context. For this reason, I have instructed my children and husband that when I die, I want them to hear all those stanzas, know them, discover them, and share them with each other. I do not want them to be alone.
I want my body to be cremated and my ashes to be scattered in a national park or to be buried in a biodegradable urn and a flowering tree planted in a garden.
I want them to celebrate and to sing of my life surrounded by friends and family.
I am planning this now for me- I want to know how MY song will be remembered.
I am also planning for them - life will carry on.
This celebration will give them space to grieve and remember with love my song.
This celebration will also plant a pleasing memory – a perennial that opens up not on the seasonal calendar of the daffodils but on the asymmetric calendar inspired by an association of ideas-
What are your plans? Click on this link to hear a 13 minute Ted Talk on the value of planning end of life events.