LoveFests: A blog about Celebrations and Assigning Significance

April 27, 2018

 

 

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. 

 

 

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