A couple of years ago, while visiting the beautiful city of Charleston, I toured some of the old graveyards that are sporadically located throughout downtown. As I slowly wandered around and read all of the epitaphs, I wondered how I will be remembered someday. What are the things that I do that my friends and family will miss most? How do I want to be remembered?
My friends can vouch for me when I say that I am a firecracker. Yes, I have heard that more than a few times in my life. I often speak without a filter, I have been known to have one too many drinks on occasion, I am passionate (and vocal) about everything important to me, and my laugh can be heard from rooms away. And I laugh a LOT. My famous last words are usually, “Can we have just one more?” I don’t like a party to end.
Did I mention I am loud? I can yell in our 5,000 square foot house and everyone in the entire house can hear that it’s dinnertime… even with doors shut. (I don’t think my husband would remember that part of me fondly!) I am also a very loud church singer. I have always said that God and my kids (and my nieces) are the only people who love to hear me sing. So I make sure He can hear me!
I change my appearance on a whim with different hair colors and styles. Some days I wear glasses and some days I wear contacts. I was complaining to a friend last week about a mutual acquaintance who never recognizes me and my friend said, “In her defense, you DO change your look a lot.” I even went through a stage at 35 where I put a purple streak in my hair for a couple of months just for fun and had to bleach it out when I went to law school.
My passion is food. Bacon in particular. I also love pasta and seafood. Even more, I love them together. With bacon. I love Reese’s peanut butter cups, but I always break them in half while eating them to check for worms (yeah, that’s a memory from childhood I will never forget). I have an unhealthy addiction to gummy bears and Bottle Caps. I keep all of my favorite recipes in a program on my laptop and I share them with anyone who asks. I rarely drink sodas, but I truly think a fountain Mountain Dew is a nectar of the gods.
I am obsessive about timeliness and organization, but I can’t remember anything unless I have it written down. I need a checklist each day just to accomplish anything. I should own stock in sticky notes. I sometimes worry my sweet husband will grow weary of repeating things. I have to say someone’s name at least four times before I can actually remember it, then I will probably get them confused with someone else anyway.
My husband says I both hum and whistle through my nose while I sleep and I often wake myself up snoring. I can’t sleep without a fan on because I need the white noise and I like to sleep in nightgowns no matter how cold it is. I can’t stand getting hot in the middle of the night. Oh, and I LOVE TO SLEEP. If given the chance, I will sleep ten hours straight with no problem. And even after ten hours of sleep, I could take an afternoon nap. That apparent addiction to sleep runs in my family.
I don’t like to talk about unpleasant things or have unpleasant things talked about in my presence. I have no poker face whatsoever and if I am thinking it, then you can see it in my eyes. My husband and my children say I also have a glazed over look when I withdraw completely if I am in an uncomfortable fight or flight situation. My ten year old daughter told me last month, “You have that look that you get when you try not to hear what someone is saying.”
I love to drink wine and dance to music while cooking. Even more, I love to be surrounded by loved ones. My favorite night ever would be sitting around a fire with a big group of friends and family – drinking wine and laughing and telling stories and watching SEC football. GO GAMECOCKS! My friends and my family are my world and I am as dangerous as a mama bear when it comes to fiercely protecting them. I have a sharp tongue.
Being nice to anyone and everyone is what brings me happiness. My kids complain that I make friends wherever we go. If I talk to a random person at the grocery store, the kids will say, “How do you know her?” I’ll say, “I don’t. I was just talking.” And they will walk away while smiling and shaking their heads. I have been told by friends that I am intimidating at first because I tend to reach out a lot to people, which apparently can make introverts uncomfortable (who knew?). I admittedly stole the first kiss from my husband while sitting on a sofa on the patio at World of Beer on April 20, 2012. We were married May 11, 2013.
I’ve never had a speeding ticket in my life nor have I ever been charged with any kind of criminal offense. Although I have THOUGHT plenty of thoughts that if they had been carried out would have changed the previous sentence. My father put a fear of drugs in me that I pray I can pass along to my children. I admit I did plenty of things I shouldn’t do, but I was always one of those kids who the adults liked because I never got caught.
I dream of waking up on the water and can’t wait to move to the river as soon as my kids all graduate from high school. At the same time, the thought of my kids leaving the nest scares me more than anything else in this world. Well, and cancer. Cancer is pretty high up there. And losing my parents. I am glazing over just at the mention of that.
Some people care about cars, but I don’t even know what kind of cars my best friends drive. Cars are insignificant to me. I don’t care about being remembered for my job or for how big my house was. I want people to think back and remember me for how kind I was and how I made them feel better about themselves. I want to be remembered for inspiring people to be the best they can be and for making people laugh. If I am remembered like that, then I will feel like a success. If I am remembered for my servant’s heart, then I will have accomplished my lifelong goal.
All of that being said, I read a quote recently by Steve Maraboli, “She is delightfully chaotic; a beautiful mess. Loving her is a splendid adventure.” I think that is the perfect epitomization of how I want people to see me. That would be what I would want my epitaph to read.
To love and be loved is all that really matters.