When I pass, I don’t want to become a collection of pictures that are quickly forgotten; flat images on paper without substance. Abandoned furniture in a dusty house that’s slowly rotting and left to the amusement of neighborhood kids to vandalize and make fun of. I want to be remembered for who I was. Remember […]Into that dark night… — Brightspot Daily
When I read that beautiful post by Beth (and you should definitely read it too), I wanted to write my own version. Hers was beautiful and heartfelt and funny and quirky…much like Beth is. I wanted mine to be the same, but I don’t think people would use those four words to describe me. Never mind. I gave it a go:
Remember that I was often inspired by the works and words of others – by their poetry, their blog entries, the passion they poured onto paper or into a project. I would take their words and keep them as a reminder that those words spoke to me, as a reminder of the place where my head was at when I read those works. But I would also strive to recreate their magic. Remember that I spent hours as a child retyping (on a typewriter!) a novel I’d read because I wanted that magic to transfer to me, in much the same way that an artist would try to recreate an artwork by a grand master artist in order to gain proficiency and skill. Remember that I would mimic a person’s style until I finally accepted that the place I’d landed when I fell short was where my own style lay. That’s why you could see Chelsea in my journals, but also the Griffin and Sabine book by Nick Bantock. That’s why you could see Mum in my newsletters. That’s why you could see Kylie, Charlie, Robin and others in my poems. That’s why you could see Teresa in my stories. Or at least, I hoped you could. Remember that I never learned to draw or paint because I was a perfectionist who couldn’t bear an image to look less than photo-perfect, but that I recognised that in myself and still managed to find creative avenues and outlets. Remember that I still found wonder and beauty in the art created by others, and that I loved that drawing Mum did of the cowshed at Ryan Road, even though she would roll her eyes at me and wave it away as ‘just a sketch’. Remember that I thought my children were both exceptionally talented artists and I envied them their hard-won skills.
Remember that I was passionate about preserving history and the moments we were in. Remember that I blogged my children’s childhoods so that they could keep those moments that are too often lost to the fog of the past. Remember that I irritated the hell out of so many of my family members by bugging them to let me interview them. Remember how people told me I was morbid because I wanted to do it NOW before it was too late, and I didn’t care anyway, because sometimes it really was too late and nothing could change that. Remember that I wrote and rewrote and rewrote the background of the family heirlooms so that the next generation would know the stories behind the items, but remember too that I then went on to write the background of damn near every bloody item I owned because ‘Elle never does anything by half’ as Mum always said. But remember that the stories were always more important to me than any item and infinitely more important to me than any monetary value of an item.
Remember that I didn’t like being called a hoarder and I never referred to myself as such. And yet, remember that I had boxes of memorabilia and ephemera dating back to my childhood because I couldn’t bear to throw out anything that held a memory. Remember how Caitie would roll her eyes at me and tell her friends ‘My mum is so sentimental.’
But remember too that Lynda described me as ‘brutally honest’ and that Andrea would tell me I was ‘so much like Dad’. I liked to think I found a balance, but ha, no, I never did anything by halves.
Remember that I was opinionated, and I loved to debate and play ‘devil’s advocate’, and yet I was always open to changing my mind. Remember that I wasn’t afraid to admit when I was wrong, and I wasn’t afraid to apologise. Remember that I learned valuable lessons after judging others and then walking in their shoes. Remember that I didn’t always understand, especially when it came to things like mental health, but that I always tried to help and to learn and to accept.
Remember that I loved to learn, and never considered myself an expert on anything. Well, not since those early adolescent years where I obviously knew that I knew everything and was generally smarter than the average bear! Remember that I enjoyed taking courses and learning new things for the sake of learning.
Remember that I hated peeling potatoes, and I hated being poor because it meant we had to buy dirty potatoes that needed peeling. Remember how happy I was when Steve bought me a gift of pre-washed potatoes one day, and how so many people were confused by how happy I was to receive potatoes! Remember too that my favourite colour roses were yellow, even though Steve’s female colleagues were horrified that he’d send his wife yellow roses because they symbolised adultery (apparently). Remember how much I hated the word ‘arguably’ and how I’d rant about how it nullified any sentence it was used in. Remember that I loathed finding typos in finalised, printed publications, and yet hated being called a ‘Grammar Nazi’. Especially when I had no idea what an adverb was, let alone a preposition.
Remember that I loved to swim, and loved to take photos, and that I hated mushrooms and coffee. Remember that I likened green tea to ‘grass flavoured water’ and that I loved the sound of the surf and that I could tell the difference between a hereford, a friesian, a jersey and an angus. Well, obviously, I mean they look nothing alike! But remember my delight in showing my kids how a calf would suckle your fingers and how turkeys would talk back.
Remember that I didn’t like hugs, absolutely hated massages (except for my feet!), and that I had a true fear of going to the dentist. Remember that I would put off going to the doctor but if one of my kids so much as cleared their throat one too many times, I was rushing them to the A&E to get checked out.
Remember that I didn’t like being the center of attention, but I wasn’t afraid of public speaking. Remember that I loved to see bands play live, and that virtually every song before 1990 reminded me of my dad. Or Uncle Philip. Remember that I was stupidly sentimental and all I really wanted for my children was for them to be happy. Remember that I was an ally to the LGBT+ community. Remember that I was proud to be a Kiwi, but also proud to be of British heritage. Remember that I believed that family was exceedingly important, but that I also understood that I was lucky with mine. Remember that I knew that real, true connections could be made online.
Remember that I rarely finished a project, and was far more excited about starting one than finishing one. Remember that I loved to read, even to the point of reading cereal boxes and wall insulation as a child, but that as an adult, I insisted that all my books have happy endings. Remember that I believed that everyone deserved their happy ending. Remember that I got mine, because I had you.