Words from a Reader

The “Writing Life Stories” e-mails I receive are such treasures. As soon as I see there is one in my inbox, I read it immediately. I look forward to them and never know how they will touch me. They can be interesting, informative, humorous, and/or touching.

Monday, March 5, 2012

How Do You Want to be Remembered?

Perhaps it is because I've lost so many loved ones recently, but I have been thinking about the value of life.
Recently I asked some companions at dinner how they wanted to be remembered. I notice reporters always ask older celebrities that question which means I know you won't be around much longer so what do you want me to say about you when you are gone?

One of my friends said he wanted to be remembered as a good person who always tried to do the right thing.
I am sure he will be remembered that way. He is generous and caring. My other companion said she didn't really care because she would be gone and it wouldn't matter to her.

Have you put much thought to that question? I think all of us who are writers hope that the written word will keep us around a long time. I think it is interesting that the author of the original Sherlock Holmes books seems to be immortal. Louisa Mae Alcott will be remembered for a long, long time I hope. Though few young people of today have a clue about who she was. Perhaps if Hollywood continues to make Little Women movies every decade or two, she will be remembered.
We have immortalized poets like Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Emily Dickinson and others, but there are just a few poems by each that are remembered.

Having laid to rest my husband of many years, I was forced to think of how he would want to be remembered. He never told me. I figured his love for music, his witty personality, and his extroverted personality should be the theme of his memorial services. Those are the traits most of his loved ones remember.

I was asked if I knew how I want to be remembered.That is an easy question for me now.
I want to be remembered for making a difference in lives of others, for helping someone accomplish her dreams, for being a supportive spirit in a person's success. 

As an elementary school teacher, I had hopes that I could make school a happier place for my students than it had been for me. Sadly, a teacher of children that young seldom hears of the triumphs of her students in later years. But now, as a teacher and a mentor for other writers, I can see the outcome of my work. Teaching and working with adult writers is a joy to me. Having my own business and being self-employed is a joy, also.

When I am told that I work too much, I laugh, because I don't do anything I don't want to do. My work is my enjoyment. Learning new ways to teach and be creative  are pieces of my work, and that is fun to me.

How do you want to be remembered? Have you given this any thought? 
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DJan said...

This is something I have thought about. I guess it's not easy to lose our loved ones without thinking of our own passing. I hope that my life story will be remembered as someone who learned to thrive in adversity and helped others do the same.

Diana Shuster said...

She was an American Farmer who fed, not only her family, but the nation from her back yard, from her fields of amber grain, and her pastured, healthy, livestock.

Unknown said...

I want to be remembered as someone who was honest. That I told the truth in love. That I was a good friend. That I placed others ahead of myself. That I lived my life unselfishly. That I loved with the honesty that God loves us all.

Glenda said...

DJan, Diana, and Susan, I'm sure you all will be remembered in the ways you wish to be remembered.
DJan your legacy of learning to thrive in adversity is a goal others can immulate. I think that is what our country was built on -- the lives of those who prevailed in hard times, but led others through those bad time.

Diana, I know the American Farmer is to be admired even if some take the good food we have for granted. My father was a farmer and no one sacrifices more to good of all.

Susan, your faith is strong and your devotion to your family and friends is obvious. I feel sure you will be remembered for this.

Thank you all for commenting.

Judy Roney said...

You have made a difference in so many lives, Glenda. You are a success, for sure. Your post has me thinking now for me and my husband. I'll mention this to him later. I'm interested in what he wants to be remembered for. I can think of his success in life (which is doing what he loves) but I'm interested in what he will say.

Anonymous said...

I think most people want to leave a legacy so that they are remembered. Certainly, most of us want to be remembered for goodness. At least among us mortals, legacy is temporary. Here I'll paraphrase one of my own poems: You die when the last person who remembers you dies.

While that may sound cynical, I find it motivational. It makes me carry on all the harder. Perhaps then I'll be remembered not necessarily as someone who achieved all his goals but as one who never quit trying.

Glenda said...

Robert, I like that "never quit trying" and, I don't think it is cynical to say we are not dead until the last one who remembers us dies.
I think that is definitely true.
Perhaps that is why I like to keep the memory of my loved ones who have passed over alive in stories and poems such as A Photograph of My Brothers and Me, An Old Photograph, and others I've written about my family.
Writing family stories is a good way to keep those people alive in memory. We can also write memoir poems. I treasure memories of good times and great people.
This sounds like I live in the past, but I don't. I live very much in the present. I enjoy making memories for stories and poems.

Abbie Taylor said...

I haven't given this much thought, but I suppose I should. I just turned fifty last year, and in the past twelve years, I lost my mother and two grandmothers and gained a husband. In the years before I got married and started writing full time, I helped senior citizens and the visually impaired by conducting music and other activities in nursing homes and other facilities, serving on a state trust fund's advisory board, facilitating a support group for the visually impaired, and teaching Braille. I seem to be recognized more for that than I am for my writing so maybe that's how I should be remembered. I don't know.

Nancy Purcell said...

Well, you made me think. I hope I'm remembered for caring about others, always being there for them. And for being a true friend to my many friends. I want my children to remember how I
always look forward, lived for the day, and lived my dream...being a writer, a published writer! I worked hard and went after my goals. Going to Iowa summer program at age 60 was
a wonderful treat and I learned so much there. I hope they remember how I've continued to grow
in my craft, in my love of life, and all the joys they brought me.

Thanks for reminding me of making a list!
Regards, Nancy Purcell

Glenda Beall said...

Hi Nancy,
I just found your comment here. Thank you. You will leave a wonderful legacy for those who know and love you. Your determination to be the published writer you wanted to be inspires me to continue even though I'm told to slow down. Like you, as long as health allows, why stop doing what we love to do. I hope your surgery recovery goes quickly and well.