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I want to be remembered

Tonight I began a text which I then cut and pasted and began a post instead. Here’s what I was writing to my friend.

I can’t sleep and I have no idea why I did, but I suddenly started thinking about you. I was remembering when I lived in Colorado and thoughts about how we used to sit up talking sometimes popped into my memories. I don’t know if you remember things like I do. That’s something I struggle with- I always think that people won’t remember me or my time with them as nearly as important to them as they were to me. But I remembered how we would sometimes talk for hours. We would talk about all sorts of things. Our marriages. Body image. Our careers. Families. Big ideas. Deep thoughts. And tonight, well. Tonight I’m having so many of them.

Honestly, there are too many thoughts to even record here, and they’re mostly sad and political. There’s one thing, though, that I have to get down and have to share. I know now. I know how I want to be remembered.

Please don’t worry. Please don’t think this is some sort of suicidal plan or even ideation. It isn’t. It’s a good thing. It’s for when I’ve lived a long, amazing life and people sit down to plan and have to speak about me. It’s for when my natural end comes. It isn’t something I’m asking people to do or forcing people to say. It’s just what I hope, what I will set as an intention, that I wish people to think of me.

I want people to think back on me and realize that I was always saying I love you. I want them to think about how I said it all the time. To tons of people. To my students each day. To friends when they were struggling but didn’t need advice. To people who made me laugh. To my nieces, nephews, and niblings. To my husband and daughter all the time. I want them to associate the words with me as easily as the sky and the color blue. But there’s more.

I don’t want them to just think of me saying the words. I want them to recognize that what made me remarkable is that I didn’t just say it all the time. When I said it, I meant it. That’s what I want to set me apart.

It’s something I’ve noticed about myself lately. I do say it a lot. It is something I find especially quick to come from me when someone is in pain and I have nothing else to offer. I found myself wondering if I say it to fill the void. I was worried that I was just one of those “I love you” drones who just let it fall out as easily as a goodbye on the phone. But I’m not and I don’t. In fact, I could easily think of a few people in my life I’ve not said it to in quite a while. It’s been difficult, even, and I’ve made myself not respond with it because I know it isn’t true. So how is it that I say it so much?

I guess that’s at the heart of what I want to have as my way of being remembered. I want to be the person who loved so many, truly. Who had the room in her heart for all of them. And sure, while there were some who were closer to the heart of my heart, my soul, my essence, I truly had the space, energy, and capacity to love all of the others I said it to.

With all of that in mind, I think I’m ready to go to bed now. It’s been a long day. Good night to you. Sleep well. I love you.

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