Writing Exercise 5: What I Will Miss When I Am Gone
I think where I hope to go inspirit, once my human body no longer functions and I am deceased I will not miss anything of the earth or the people I leave behind. I am fortunate to have been given grandchildren and experienced their years of growing up, their marriages and now giving me great grandchildren to enjoy.I appreciate the many blessings God has bestowed upon me, the treasures I have engraved in my memory and I suppose those will go with me when I leave this earth.
I will miss my kids the most ( I am already in tears). Keith is warm, easy to talk with, pragmatic and has a lovely sense of humor. I can speak with him so freely about almost anything. He is a very good listener and can understand both sides of a situation which is why he is so good at giving advice and solving problems. He always had a knack for this. I remember his second grade teacher telling me that she dreaded to see Keith walk up to her desk because she just knew he was going to suggest something other than what she just told the class. She said that he got to her just about every time and she would find herself agreeing with him. That same teacher told me that whatever Keith does in life, she was sure I would be proud of him – and she was absolutely right.
I remember telling him one day after he was back home for a few months that I considered it a gift to be able to spend one more year with him under the same roof. He is such a pleasure to be with. I love his parenting style. I love his sense of self-worth. I love his honesty. I will miss seeing how caring, loving, understanding and respectful he is with his wife, Hannah.
I feel that I can take a small bit of credit for Keith having these skills because when I was raising my kids, I used to tell them about some issues that happened at work and would ask “what do you think I should do?” That made for good discussions and good development.
I will miss Keith’s sweet, caring disposition. I will miss his love. I will miss his creative, loving wife, Hannah, too. She writes the best letters, emails and text notes – always with wit and humor. I will miss seeing how much they love each other, they are truly soul mates. I will miss their children, my grandkids, Charlie, now seven years old, and Quinn, now seven months. Charlie is creative and great fun to be with. He has an impressive memory. He appreciates whatever you give him, whether it is a key chain, a shirt, or taking him to his favorite restaurant where he can get his burger smothered in mushrooms. I will miss giving Charlie a bath and watching him delight in diving underwater. Quinn is only seven months but I will miss his instant smile as soon as you say “Hi Quinn”.
I will miss my son, Brian so much. He is my go to person for anything I want to know about computers, cameras, cars, electronics of any sort. Brian is usually the one who pulls together a family vacation with his brother, Keith and his family – and then they make arrangements to bring mom along. We have gone on several ski trips together and even went on a road trip to Canada. Brian often invites me to come and visit for a week or longer and spend time with his kids. Brian has very fond memories of my parents and he puts great value in the role of grandparents with his children. I love that about him and will miss him, his wisdom, his generosity, his terrific sense of humor, his ability to think ahead at lightning speed, and his quick wit. I have so much respect for him. (I am crying so much right now that I can barely see what I am typing).
Today is December 17, the day my mother died. I feel such a loss and a feeling of emptiness right now that I want to stop and pick this up at another time. I took a two hour break, called two of my sisters and joined them in a toast to our mom. I am ready to continue.
I will miss Eloise, now seven years old. She is pensive yet playful. I love how she asks me to tell her another family story. I wish I could remember more on the spot when she asks me. I know I will remember some after I am gone and wish I could send her a message ‘I forgot to tell you this story”. I will miss playing Mankala with her. I am glad she showed me how to play Jewels Star on my phone. Sometimes we take turns and sometimes we play together. I like how she makes up games – one day, we were hair stylists. I love the time we went to the theater and we practiced speaking in “proper English with a bit of an accent” – I will miss the memory of that time we shared. I will miss her picking out my earrings for the day when I am there visiting. I will miss sleeping in her bed and feel proud of her that she gives it up without hesitation.
I will miss the fantastic, ever so giggly Lucy, who is now four years old. Her smile alone can make me smile. I wish everyone in the world could be as happy as Lucy seems to be. I love it when she knows she ‘got you’ – tricked you. I love her hugs and I love how she hugs her doll and says ‘oh, she’s so cute”. I will miss her hugs, her love, her kisses that she blows.
I will miss Laura. She is living symbol of intelligence, strength, fairness and generosity. I think Laura can withstand anything – she is quite stoic. She is bound by doing what is right and is tireless in her efforts to give to others. I will miss seeing her smile when Brian gives her a hug. I will miss seeing how much they mean to each other, how much they respect each other and enjoy talking to each other.
I will miss laughing with my sister, Pat. We laugh so hard that tears roll down my cheeks and I have a wonderful feeling for days after. I will miss being able to talk to Pat. She is so easy to be with. We understand each other. I have shared more with Pat than anyone else in my life. We are two years apart and were best friends growing up. We have very different personalities yet we have so much in common – our sense of right and wrong, our beliefs, our closeness with our kids, our political beliefs, the movies we like, the food we like to cook and lots more.
Right now, my husband is putting the lights on our Christmas tree. I will miss how much he loves putting up the Christmas tree. I will miss his ability to come up with creative ideas for gifts. I will miss having the person I spend time with every day, just being there, knowing how to read me. I greatly appreciate how he lets me be myself and understands that my work ethic is more of a driving force for me than it is for him – and he accepts that as part of me, and admires me for it most of the time. I will miss the trips we go on. I will miss his navigational skills. He has his own radar system. Bob can look at a map once and just keep it in his head and know where he is – and I just follow him. I will miss being able to say “I love you” to him, especially when he does not feel love from many people. I will miss being there with him to help him from feeling lonely. I will miss not having enough time or enough wits to make our marriage better than ever before. I will not miss watching him eat too much and shortening his life.
I will miss my sisters and brothers. Maybe when I have the time to really complete my own ethical will, I will find the time to include a note to them too.
I will miss listening to music, taking a hot bath, walking along the beach, swimming with my grandkids, seeing a beautiful sky, learning new things, going to the theater, cooking for friends and family.
I will miss being there to give a helping hand and being able to share experiences together. I will miss the love I feel.
Writing Exercise 6: The Funeral
I think I was twelve when I decided it was futile and a waste of time to worry about what others thought about me. Often, I felt misunderstood and decided that was ok as long as I understood my own feelings and was comfortable with myself. I think there might be remarks like this…
Mary was very upfront with people. You always knew how she felt. If she disagreed with you, she would not hesitate to say that but not in an offending way.
Mary was devoted to her family. She loved her kids above all else.
She has been creating the family calendar since 2006. I don’t know who can take her place at that. I know she spent weeks thinking about new creative themes and would spend hours looking for just the right mix of photos. She would not settle until she thought it was just right. She took pride in doing that and it was very generous of Mary and Bob to print sixty copies so everyone had their own.
I will never understand her passion for mindmaps but I can’t think about her without picturing one of them in my mind. She used them for recipes, the calendar, for work, for just about everything she did.
She worked hard but she enjoyed working. She loved living in NYC. She liked the energy and the diversity. She felt comfortable and safe.
Some would say – why aren’t her friends here? (Note: I have considered leaving a note that my last wishes are that I only wanted family at my funeral – just to avoid having everyone know that I can count the number of friends I have on one hand – a serious flaw in my life).
Pat would say… Mary was able to craft her own special treatment with mom and dad. She was allowed out later than I was and I am two years older. I still don’t know how she did that. She taught me how to use a computer and she generously gave me her old one when she was ready to upgrade. She would spend hours in the kitchen to make the best meal possible when she had guests. She helped me out and was very generous. She worried about me. She could keep a secret. I always knew I could trust her. We had some great laughs.
Bob would say that he does not know anyone who is more honest and who can stay focused on anything for so long. He would say that I loved my kids more than anything in the world, including him. I would whisper in his ear that there is no bond like the one between a parent and their kids but that does not diminish the love I have for you. (One thing comes to mind – when going through a divorce, I learned that the relationship you have with each person is special and should not be diminished in any way by how you perceive their relationship with someone else).
Charlie and Eloise would say… I thought she was going to live to be 100.
Brian would be more able to put his emotions aside and tell a few funny stories and share some fond memories. I think Keith would need some time to compose himself before he could talk. My kids know my shortcomings but they also give me credit for bringing them up to the most independent kids in their school. They are honest, caring human beings who make me very proud. I don’t know how much credit is really due me but I can’t think of a nicer good-bye than to hear them say “thanks, mom”.