There are a lot of posts attached to this blog. This is number 238. That is a lot of little bits of who I am. In a way, what is found here is the best legacy there is of a true "me".
Living in stealth really sucks. Oh, I'm not a bad person in person, but I hold back. I still pretend. Promises were made to someone who I refuse to disappoint yet again if I can manage it.
It has always been my contention that after death, this body is no more important than some hair on the floor of the hairdressers shop, or some fingernails in the garbage can; just part of me that I used to have a use for.
What becomes of 'us', the spirit part is something I cannot be certain of, if I am honest. We all have hopes and beliefs. When you spend big chunks of your life-energy trying to improve yourself it is difficult to believe that your soul is as impermanent as the flesh. One thing that seems beyond debate though: once we are dead, it is too late to tell someone your own life story.
One way we do live on, in a sense, is in that part of us that is carried by those who loved us and continue to think of us. But what person is it that lives in their hearts and memories?
Over two years ago, I wrote a piece where I discussed a little of my thoughts on who we are versus who people think we are in J'écris donc j'existe. At the time, I was very much that work in progress. Now, a little less so, but as an unknown reader said, "We are all constantly evolving. Our needs change. Our relationships change. The rules change."
Re-reading a post Caroline wrote in early August got me really thinking about this (I need to blame someone for all this 'pensing' don't I?) in a post she called Life and death...
Caroline's friend and neighbour Douglas had lived a good and full life. At the send-off for him, it fell to a man named David, who had know Douglas well enough to "speak for him". This sort of funeral, one where an individual is charged with the task of 'speaking for the dead person', telling as honestly and accurately who the deceased was and what their life had been about, is the sort that has always appealed to me.
There is a local friend M who asked me some years ago to be that person for him if ever the occasion should arise (ie he should die before I do). M and I have had some pretty serious and interesting talks over the years, yet I have the advantage of not being family, and not being a former co-worker. We are very recent friends. Just the sort of person who can speak without hidden agendas. He doesn't want someone who will forget the bad stuff, or dwell on it either. Just include it. Be honest.... Perhaps he has wondered why I did not reciprocate. How should I tell him that I am not ready to be that open to him when he is so ready to honour me in this way. A promise to my wife means more to me than these feelings however and I digress... time to move back to the point.
It occurs to me, that the easiest way to fill in a very important blank in many of my family and local friends impression of "who I am" would be to bequeath to them the following url
and tell them to set aside a few hours to move forward from that pivot point in this life until whatever place this blog leaves off.
Well hello there my dears.
Remember please, I loved you all so much.
I hope you will always remember that.
It would have been better to tell you all of this in person, but...
Caroline's post and this one remind me of Orson Scott Card's book Speaker for the Dead, where the main character does exactly that, tells people about the person that's just died.
I've been trying to think of someone that could fill that role for me and its really difficult. Maybe I'll have to do something similar to you and leave them a link to my own blog for them to read at their own pace.
Thank you for the book suggestion Jenna!Delete
You say that a part of us lives on through the memories other people have of us, but is that really correct? They may remember some of what we did and said, but that would not have been what we were. In addition, what people remember is their perceptions of us, filtered through their own consciousness.ReplyDelete
If I do not know what I am, neither can anyone else. They may see bits of me that I do not see in myself, but that is all to do with my outer, conscious self. (The JoHari Window experience). There have been countless occasions when someone has said, "No, he/she couldn't have done that!" only to discover later their mistake.
Yes, it would seem to be rather wasteful if, having undergone a process of psycho-spiritual healing, and therefore being at our healthiest (spiritually speaking) at the moment of our deaths, we were simply to be annihilated. I do think that the journey through the death event, rather like the journey through the conception and birth events, is all part of the process of becoming, of an ongoing transfiguration. If that is not the case, well so what. Do we not try to lead our lives in the best way possible because that is what we feel called to do?
As your quote from Socrates at the top says, "The unexamined life is not worth living." If the examination results in appropriate action, understanding and wisdom, you've done pretty well. Who can ask for more?
The JoHari window is new to me. Wondering how I managed to miss that one during a work career dotted with professional development days.Delete
"..., if that is not the case, well so what."
Absolutely Tom. and like good art made by the artist for themselves first, all of this rumination is essential for me, not optional. If anything does live on, that is the bonus, not the goal.