Tag Archives: death

The Fear of Being Forgotten


One wonderful facet of blogging is reading about someone else’s life and thoughts, then allowing what I read to affect me, change me, prod me.

I had a brief e-conversation with the creator of the blog Rendezvous with Renee recently about a quote I borrowed from one of her pieces. In our exchange, she referred me to another of her posts. I have provided the link to it below.

The Fear of Being Forgotten.

The title of it got me thinking about my own similar fear. I figure I have about 20 productive years, at most, ahead of me. Twenty years are nothing. The time goes in a flash. Don’t believe me? Look at that child of yours nearing college age or finishing college. The span of their lifetime is a blur. It’s gone by so fast.

Anyway, I started thinking about my writing ambition. I have had it my whole life. Over the course of years, I kept saying about writing professionally, “Not yet, not yet. I haven’t lived enough. I don’t have anything to say.”

Then that thought changed. Now I fret that I won’t have time to get the words out of me. I fret that life will get in the way, and my stories won’t get told.

Yes, I fear I’ll be forgotten.

Oh, I know that I’ll be remembered by friends, family and children who outlive me. But when they are gone, then what? Poof. I’m gone for good. Especially in an age of digital data. There will be no paintings of me that pass from generation to generation, hung in the family library or den. Photographs of me saved on-line or in home computers will disappear. My e-books-to-be will corrupt in an outdated e-reader.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, twinkle in my father’s eye to twinkle in the starry sky. But who will be looking for the miniscule twinkle? Who will care?

At some level, it is the fear of being forgotten that motivates me to write.

Surgery Imminent


Today was the day for hubby’s surgery. However, a patient in more dire condition than hubby bumped him from his spot. His doctor courteously asked if hubby minded. He did, but the humanitarian side of him was gracious. How do you say no to a man who faces imminent death? You don’t. You yield with grace. Your own heart still beats.

In another day or two, a spot will open for hubby.

Friends and family have called, e-mailed, or traveled hundreds of miles to be here to offer support. Hubby and I feel loved.

I know when he wheels away into surgery, I will worry and wrestle with a dozen other feelings. Over the press of fear, I am choosing reason–at least in this moment. He has great medical people helping him.

So on the eve of surgery, I write. To keep sane. To focus on something else. To pretend everything is all right. Which it is, or will be.

Haiku

The missing started

the moment you turned your back.

It felt like forever.

Writing About the Death of a Child


Unless one has lost, or is losing, a child to death, one will find it difficult to portray what that experience is really like. I tried and couldn’t do it.

I learned something about myself during the exercise. I couldn’t conjure a meaningful tale. I couldn’t capture the essence. I tried to describe the moment between a dying child and the child’s mother at the instant when conversation turns to the child’s wishes and thoughts about the child’s own death.  I failed.

Maybe it is because I am a mother that I sabotaged the tale-telling. I don’t want to imagine the horror and pain of losing my child. And, worse, I don’t want to imagine being a dying child.

As I am writing this, I am remembering an episode from my early teens. I lost a classmate to cancer. I remember a couple of other kids and I went to visit the dying girl in the hospital. She made it easier on us during the visit by being upbeat.

She and I were not close friends. However, we shared an interest in dodgeball and softball pick-up games on the playground. Often we were the only girls on the field. It was early enough in puberty that we were physically matched to, and sometimes exceeded, the prowess of the boys. Our pride bonded us together.

I forgot–or blocked–that particular experience from my childhood when I was writing. It would have helped to call on my vague memories of those hospital conversations with my friend. I could have used my memories to reconnect to my internal conflict and despair. I could have tapped into the confusion I felt as a child who was getting a premature lesson in death and dying.

Instead, I choked. I went no deeper than re-mixing the song lyrics with a wooden spoon.

Subconsciously, I did tap into the nobility my friend exhibited. She was matter-of-fact about her lot. Like the character in my story, she focused her energies on making those who spent time with her feel better at a time when they felt awful. She lived her last weeks with grace.

In that small way, my story honored my friend. She died too young.

Response to “If I Die Young”


Sorry, gang. The story I wrote for this prompt got removed after posting. I was choking on a gag response, the story was so bad. Better to draw a blank and have no story, I decided, than to post one that was forced and contrived. Hence, I used the delete function.

Casting Aside Fear


WordPress blogger Veehcirra quotes Steve Jobs in her post “The Top 10 Regrets in Life by Those About To Die.” Although Jobs references death in the quote, I see his remark as sharing a tactic he developed for himself to shed fear, to choose what is important. See what you think:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

–Steve Jobs

On the Good Ship Diaspora


Mother corrals her sleeping infant in the corner of the berth, behind stacked pillows and life vests. She, husband and child are lucky ones. They push off from their island home, source of ill winds and invisible death, in their junque Diaspora. They have an exit plan. They will sail west and wait for sunrise.