Lori describes her grandmother’s beautiful character distilled in four beautifully stated guidelines. Please take the time to read it.
What got me thinking, though, was the idea of Lori’s eulogy, which I assume was similar to the article. We are all going to die someday. Like all of the impermanent world we are going to return to the earth. All of the tiny atoms will scatter over time, always apart of the universe, but never again organized into me. What remains of who I am will be memory to my wife, should she outlive me, to my children, to their children, should they have them, to my extended family, and to my friends. It may last another generation or two, then for generations after be a simple branch on the family tree, a footnote in the archives.
But for most of us, there will be one afternoon where everyone coalesces all their memories, while they’re still very fresh, and in their grief, share you, share me, with each other, wrapping up all of our lives and intention into a final memory. For some acquaintances, this will be the best they ever know you and me. For some who were closer, it will only be a movie trailer, the best parts, edited to convince us that the movie really was worth seeing.
It strikes me that each of us has some say in what is said on that day. I think each of us hopes they will say wonderful things to a gathering that pours out the doors of the hall and into the streets. But what are we doing to, well, beautify that eulogy.
It inspires me to write my eulogy, not as it is now, but as I’d like it to read if it was up to me. To write it not with the idea of influencing someone else’s memories later, but with the idea of creating a pool of intention from which to drink each day. To inform and remind myself what is important. To remember that I am simply a part of universe, and that how I fulfill my intention will be the memories that are later spoken to a roomful. Or to an empty room, should I be so unskillful.
I will do this over the coming days and I will post it here. This is not to show you how wonderful I am, but to show me how far I have yet to progress on the middle way. More than that, to encourage you to examine your practice and your intention along with me.
What do I want them to say? What am I doing to make those things true, to make compassion, kindness, gentleness, acceptance, and love the things they remember about me when I am no longer awake to hear?