Maybe a slightly depressing or morbid topic, but one which I have been contemplating for several days on and off now, and consequently one I feel I ought to write about here.
What would people say about me at my funeral if I died?
Think about it. What is there, in your life, that people might remember you for? I suppose we’d all like to think that people would remember us only for the best parts: the funny things we said, the charitable things we did, the amazing things we did, and not even think for a moment about any of the things that may have put us in a less positive light. Honestly, though, I suspect this isn’t true – humans are, as history very clearly demonstrates, excellent at forgetting, but not so great at picking which parts to forget, and so I wonder what will truly be left behind of me, aside from my dead body, when I pass away.
Obviously, I can only draw on the first 14 years of my life, and so maybe more stuff, both of the negative and positive variety, will show up before I die, but I wonder…
Will people remember me for the charity fundraising I’ve taken part in?
will people remember me for the arguments I had with others?
Will people remember me for the funny things I [occasionally] said and wrote?
Will people remember me for my selfish moments?
Will people remember me for my weird knowledge of the UK rail network?
Will people femember me for my weaker moments, ill and in hospital?
Will people remember me for this blog?
The answer is, of course, that I just don’t know, and will never know, and I suppose it’s better like that. Often, people ask a friend or maybe a family member: “If I died, what would you say about me at my funeral?”, and of course their answer there and then is not going to be truthful, however much they try, because no one can predict the emotional impact of a specific event on someone until said event occurs, and then it’ll be too late to answer that person’s question to their face.
Undobtedly, this question, if thought about enough, does cause you to think about your life. Even now, i’m reevaluating a lot of things that I do, and have done, and I wonder now if they were, or are, truly worth it. Does everything I do reflect the kind of person I am, or maybe a more accrate description, who I want to be? Although I recognise that it’s almost impossible to examine oneself in this fashion, I highly suspect that the answer is no, because that’d be impossible. Even the most cheerful of people have their sad moments, but that doesn’t mean that they are a sad person. It is all part and parcel of being human, and none of us can change that.
What is remembered about you by an individual must be based on what they personally saw of you, or knew of you directly. I suppose, therefore, that each and every single person who ever knew me is going to have an ever so slightly different memory of me when I die, based on their own personal experience. Of course, reputation and rumours have their place, but I think someone’s overall conclusion of a person can only come from their mind, and not others’ views.
I want the overall judgement of me to be a happy, positive one; I want people to remember me for the good things I did, and not the bad stuff. Sure, the negative parts have their value – they make me human, in some reppects, but I’d rather people leave my funeral thinking that I led a positive and, basically, good life, and that there wasn’t nothing still between them and me.
Maybe this will help. Next time you have to make a decision – not a little decision, like if you want ice-cream or not, but a big decision, about a friendship perhaps, or a fundraising event -, think about how it fits in with the overall way you want your life to be remembered. Of course, the way people judge you shouldn’t affect how you live your life, but think of it more like how your life fits together. Does a particular act you’re about to perform, or sentence you’re about to say or type fit in with the overall theme of your life, and how you want your life to look at the end, when everything’s complete and people are just flicking through your life, like a book, and ooking at the major things that made you up as a person?
Just remember, however, that nobody’s perfect, but that that shouldn’t mean we can’t try to be perfect as us, because in the end, that’s what matters.