How Do You Want To Be Remembered?
There are around books dealing with self-improvement, management, or the like who suggest that you think about how do you want to be remembered, what you would want people to say at your funeral, and so on. I chanced upon such a book, and I thought I would say a word.
I am sure most people would reflect that they want to be remembered as the kind of “kind”, “gentle”, “nice” person who always behaved as if life was an uninterrupted exchange of pleasantries; the one always ready to say to his neighbour: “nice day, isn't it?” or: “what a nice dog you have!”.
It makes sense. This is, in fact, exactly the kind of people who would want others to praise them after they have died, telling the world what capital fellows they were.
I beg to differ.
I want to be remembered as the kind of person who was always ready to say the “unkind”, “harsh”, “not at all nice” truth whenever prudential judgment made me deem advisable to say so; and who was ready and willing to earn scorn, mockery, or loss of friendship for it. The one who complained. The grumpy old man.
In this day and age, it is difficult to be considered the all-around-nice-chap without tackling the many issues around you that require you to say the “less nice” things. Show me the man liked by all, and I will likely show you a man who liked himself first, and never cared about the salvation of others. If you don't care, it's easy to be nice. If you care, it's a completely different ballgame. Ask any father.
As to me, I hope to be remembered as cantankerous, “unkind”, “uncharitable”, and all those other adjectives beginning with “un”; in the pursue of a good, for myself and others, more important than every popularity contest, and more important than the approval even of those dearest to me.
But then again I won't want any eulogy, either.
A small place in purgatory is all I ask. If I get that, nothing people say about me will ever count. If I don't get that, nothing that people say about me will ever count, either. Let those of the world care about what the world say of them; let them care for it so much, that they'll be very worried about what people say of them after they have died. I for myself will not care a fig in death as I did not care a fig in life, then we aren't on this life to procure sugary eulogies for ourselves after we have died.
How do I want to be remembered, then?
I want to be remembered like this blog: assertive, aggressive if needs be; sharp as a knife; always ready for a fight; utterly uncaring of the approval of the “nice folks”. But perhaps, perhaps, with Padre Pio in heaven smiling about all that “uncharitable” stuff a bit, and the Blessed Virgin looking with compassion on this wretched sinner. Oh, to have such an endorsement!
Seriously: who cares about the eulogy?