Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Now That I Am Dead



Now that I am dead will you recall me with more than I am? Will you talk of our last hug? Will you remember our last talk? Will you think of the glisten in my eye, the tone of my voice, the pressure of my hand? Will you remember all our hello's and goodbyes? Or will your memory of me, like our memory of others, become a smudge of generalities?
Remember the last time we played tennis? Or was it horseback riding we did? Recall when I grimaced at the lemon? Remember when I offered you unwanted advice? Do you remember when I tripped too? And what about the time I broke your dish, your faith, your trust, your belief that I was really listening? Am I to be remembered for all those other little and large foibles, or is it even necessary that you recall the whole of me?

There is a last time for everything. I turned the corner. I stopped. I climbed those stairs and I came down them too. I pushed the chair in for the very last time. I thanked you for the meal. I even said grace. And I brushed my teeth, combed my hair and looked in the mirror at my face. Were you watching? Did I impact you? When I wrote your name, when I spoke of you, looked at you, smiled for you, was it necessary that you be there?

Now that I am dead you will somewhat remember me. Naturally. Others will amplify or detract from my memory. There will or may be retained a general sense of my physicality, but that will slip away with time and what I said or stood for will perhaps remain for awhile. And with your death, and with the others who knew me too, I shall disappear altogether into the ether. Are our graveyards not full of such ghosts? Who amongst us recalls things about our great-great and even not so great grand-ancestors?

Now that I am dead my story, inasmuch as we each have individual stories, will become a series of sentences boiled down in the retelling from some paragraphs to some mere phrases, and eventually to a date or two. Here lies Nobody We Know, born '52, died '11; so it goes. He or she must not have been important somebody might dare to submit, for there is no record of her, nobody knows him, and the offspring are no longer able to be traced. Huh? Is it necessary that one leaves a by-product, a legacy? Yet so it goes too.

Still, we leave traces, each of us, in every breath. We take in and let out atoms that are as aged as the universe, and incrementally we affect all with our thoughts, our deeds, our emotions, our beings. A beach is less for a single grain of sand not being there; a sea is less for a single drop not being a part of it; a universe is less for a single molecule not being included. Were you or I such a grain or molecule, would we denounce the existence of another? And now that I am dead I am but transformed into some other energy that remains within the totality. After all, which or what part of Everything is not?

So now that I am dead do not concern yourself with missing me as much as you might miss yourself; your part in this universe is as important as any other's part. Shall that grain of sand feel less than an atom of whale? Shall the indigenous native feel less than the sophisticated usurper? Shall the uneducated feel less than the professor? Shall you feel more or less than I? We each play our part. We each go on. Even if I'm now dead.

1 comment:

  1. Richard,
    I saw your post on Facebook tonight, which led me to your blog and to catch up on some of your past posts. This one caught me, and I toyed with whether to comment, and said what the heck!

    You have been, for several years, one of the people I respect most in the world. Whenever I see you I can't help but smile, and rave about you to whomever I am with. Most of my friends and family also know about you, by this point. I remember clearly the second time I met you, when I started crying because I worried I couldn't be part of your show, and you told me your story of coming from Africa. I hadn't been in Calgary a year, had never been part of a community theatre show, and your words and your kindness pulled me in, and as it turns out, inspired me for life. I cherish every word and every look from you. I have an email from you printed and saved in a box.

    You, sir, could never be a smudge of generalities. You don't have a choice - it's just how you are :)

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