The past few months have been taxing to say the least with the passing of many people that were literally here today and gone today, unexpectedly and without preparation, whatever that means. And it got me to thinking about what our legacy will be when it is our time to leave this Earth. I guess I have been thinking strongly about this because of all of the wonderful stories and memories that are being shared about the folks that have passed on recently. Things like “she was never without a smile on her face” or “you could always depend on him for anything” or even “no matter how sick they were, they were always worrying about other people”. Such things like this mean to me that their presence meant something to many and it will be missed for a long time to come.
I just attended a funeral and was in awe of all of the wonderful things that people shared about this incredible woman. The funeral or celebration of her life and going home ritual was beautifully orchestrated and I even remarked to someone that it would be nice to see what people thought of you while you were alive and not when you were not able to hear any of it and possibly never even knew that people felt this way. Crazy thought I know, but is it really that crazy a thought?
How do you think that you will you be remembered? Will people say those things about you? Or maybe a better question might be what is it that you want people to remember about you and what are you doing about it?
Tracy Chapman wrote a song titled Unsung Psalm, which says:
Do you live by the book do you play by the rules? Do you care what is thought by others about you? If this day is all that is promised to you, Do you live for the future the present the past? If there is one thing I know I know I will die, If anyone cares some stranger may critique my life, I may be revered or defamed and decried, But I tried to live right.
And then there is another one also from her called Change where she asks the question would you change:
If you knew that you would die today, saw the face of God and love, would you change?
If you knew that you would be alone, knowing right, being wrong, would you change?
Are you so up right, you can’t be bent, if it comes to blows
If everything you think you know, makes your life unbearable, would you change?
If you’d broken every rule and vow, and hard times come to bring you down, would you change?
If you knew that you would die today, if you saw the face of God and loved, would you change?
And so I ask again, what will people say about us when it is our time to leave this Earth. Maybe it is time to look at our lives while we are still here and make a difference to ensure that we leave good feelings behind. Let’s live the way that would allow people to also say great things about us when we are gone. And tell me how your week is going at [email protected]
Catherine Tyson is the author of I’m Somebody’s Mama and host of the Lighten Up Show With Catherine Tyson on Cayman 27.