Monday, April 27, 2009

When I Die

One of my great fears in life is dying alone. I don't know why. I can't explain what seems so horrific about that. And sure, I know "we all die alone." Or whatever. I mean physically, I want someone there when I move from this life to the next. Period. No metaphor.

No one feels great about car wrecks. I'm sure of that. Well, except for demolition derby drivers and I bet they still don't like wrecks on the real, live road. I don't think that most people are as afraid of them as I am. I am terrified to have a wreck with my kid/s in the car because what if... It's horrifying to think that something might happen to them, or even to me and they might be scared and upset and I might be unconscious.

But, to have a wreck alone in the car is almost as bad. Because then no one would be there. I would be all by myself, bleeding and dying on the side of the interstate, unable to dial my phone and say goodbye to my husband, my kids or my mom. (Nevermind that most wrecks are fender-benders and no one dies.)

But, when I die, alone or in a crowd. I hope that people cry over me. Let me explain.

Today the chair of the board of the organization I work for (whew) stepped down and the new president stepped up. Very exciting and all. We all love her bunches and I, for one, will miss her voice on the phone. Of course, people keep reminding me that she's still on the board, she still loves us, yadda-yadda. I know she won't call as much. While there was sweet speechifying going on, she started talking about our founder. He's dead now; I never met him.

Her eyes welled up with tears as she spoke about him and his dedication, his determination, his weird sense of humor. Before long, everyone at the table who had known A was wiping tears from their eyes.

I don't want wailing and gnashing of teeth. Please, please don't cry at my funeral. (In fact, if my wishes are followed completely, there won't be a funeral at which to cry.) I hope that everyone laughs and drinks and eats and remembers, but in a happy way.

But I do hope that years after my death, my life will have had such an impact that people still cry when my name comes up. I hope that I have touched people in such a way that they will miss me even if it's just in passing while they are talking about something else. Even if I don't ever accomplish everything I want to do. Even if I don't manage to rebuild all the bridges I've stupidly burned, even if I just am who I am right now. In other words, if I die tonight.

But really, no crying. And no organ music either.

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