How will they remember me?

A couple of weeks ago a friend's wife died of breast cancer. I didn't attend her funeral but her husband posted on their blog the eulogy he delivered at the funeral. For privacy reasons I won't link to it, but let me assure you it was a great eulogy. The word 'eulogy' is derived from two ancient Greek words meaning "good words" and this eulogy was exactly that. It was warm and funny and sad and joyful all at the same time. Obviously a eulogy can only go for so long so you are forced to choose which memories to share and which character traits to highlight in honouring the person you loved. This has led me to wonder what things people would say if they had to choose a few things that sum up who I have been... and I wonder if these are the same things that I would choose?

I feel quite sure that someone would mention my fanaticism about correct grammar and punctuation. I would like them to talk about my faith in Jesus and my love for God and his people. Apart from those things, what is it that people notice? What is it that defines me?

Much of my life and energy at the moment is directed towards healing from abuse and trauma; and a large part of the process is about learning who I am. I endured many years of harmful words and actions that are part of the reason I have developed a view of myself that is both unhealthy and inaccurate. I know there is a "real me" and I get glimpses of her sometimes but for a lot of the time I am influenced by fear, doubt and confusion.

It won't always be this way, but for right now I think it would be fair to say that other people know me better than I know myself. Other people see things in me that I simply don't see, even when the evidence is right in front of me. The truth is there but my view of it is sketchy at best, and even when I see the truth I often don't believe it.

If it weren't for the fact that it's a bit macabre I would ask a few good friends to write my eulogy for me now, while I'm still alive. It's not a vanity exercise; I really want to know what it is that other people see - what is THEIR truth and how does it differ from MY truth? Actually I don't believe that truth is relative, so perhaps I should ask what is their perception and how does it differ from mine? And of the two, which one is the truth?

Hmmmm. It would be an interesting exercise.


Long dark hair, blue eyes said...

Well for my money I don't think your eulogy would be complete without mentioning your great sense or humor, your strong faith and your amazing way with words.

I strikes me that the way you write about sometimes you seem as though you are trying to find your perfect self and be that - we like you as you are too you know - and so should you.

Femina said...

I sincerely hope that's not the impression I've given on this blog. I'm just trying to find myself, not my perfect self. I'll wait until I get to heaven for the perfection part! :)

Hippomanic Jen said...

Hey, we get to be perfect in God's eyes - He sees us through Jesus-coloured glasses!

I see in you courage, persistence, strength and vulnerability. Great sense of humour goes without saying, as does intelligence. But it's the people gifts of compassion and time supporting others that I think people remember when we're gone.

D.M. Cornish said...

I love your intensity, that you love words, I deeply respect your oppinion and if you were anyone else but you as you are (and were back in Sydney-town) my world would not have been so excellent. (Also, I am a bit scared of you because you are smarter than me... there, I have admitted it).

I really appreciate that though it seemed tense between us in our time at Sydney, we are friends still... Maybe I grew up enough in the end to be worth talking to... hmm.

Femina said...

The tenseness came and went but we always came through it as friends. I think Sydney wasn't the right place for either of us and we've both relaxed a lot and found our true selves a bit more since moving away.

And you also found the lovely Mrs Cornish - congratulations on three years! :)

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