In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In Loving Memory.”
I have struggled all day to write this piece. I have written a paragraph, walked away from it, then come back later to delete the whole thing and start back fresh again. Here it is, now past midnight, and I am starting from scratch again.
This prompt I’m working from tells me to write my own obituary. Well, first off, I hate to take prompts quite so literally. Part of the fun and challenge for me is to spin it into something that is uniquely mine, and not feel like I’m writing a high school English journal entry. My second objection is that it just seems so depressing and I can’t figure out how to put a positive spin on it. I mean, it’s my obituary (loving the new WYSIWYG editor on the iPad app, by the way). How can you get more macabre than writing your own obituary?
And isn’t it really just a self agrandizing activity? I either take the option of being all humble and not note anything good I’ve done, or I write what I’d hope to accomplish, but is probably impossible for me to achieve. I just don’t see anyway of doing it where I don’t sell my life short and yet come away seeming like anything but a pompous ass. Probably just a personal character flaw, I know, but I’ve been struggling with it all day.
So I decided to give it one more swirl of the brain. After assessing the aforementioned annoying points yet again, I had a thought which actually led to something productive. The thought? I am only three years younger than my mother was when she died. Mind you, she died way too young, but in three years I will be the same age as she was when she died.
This isn’t the first time I’ve thought of this rather sobering fact. In truth, this is my main reason for quitting smoking, for becoming dedicated to going to the gym and for actively working on shedding 30-40 lbs. So far I have managed to avoid my genetic predispositions, but I realized I needed to help me help myself. This writing exercise has reinforce why I’m doing what I’m doing and why it’s a good thing.
As far as my obituary, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to write that. But I realized today that even after 15 years, when I think of my Mom, a tear comes to my eye. Not necessarily a sad tear, but a tear full of memories, and laughter, of good times and bad, of games of softball, and bedtime stories, and skinned knees, and turning the living room into a fort on Saturday night to watch SNL and MST3000; but most of all, a tear of unconditional love. A tear remembering the wonderful person that shaped my life in every way imaginable. I can only hope that 15 years after my death, thinking of me could produce the same sort of tear in a loved one I’ve left behind.