The wife of a business associate passed away and John and I went to her funeral yesterday. We had never met the lady and went out of friendship and respect for her husband. She had battled cancer for the past eight years - what an incredible struggle.
It was the first Jewish funeral either of us had ever been to and we weren't sure what to expect. There were readings and a cantor who sang in Hebrew and the friends who spoke in remembrance of the lady. The service was nice and her friends said lots of nice things about her, how she loved her husband and son and things like that.
What bothered both of us was that most of her friends' and relatives' memories and reminiscences revolved around jewelry, shopping, cooking and clothes. So the picture we came away with was of a woman who had many loyal friends and that their times together were spent on lots of shopping excursions. One friend jokingly called her a Jewish diva which caused a bit of a rustle among the (older) people sitting around us. But mostly what they said made me think about what people might say about me at my funeral. And if diamonds, shopping and food are the substance of the lasting memories I leave with people, that gives me great pause.
Obviously I don't -- and won't -- know what people think of me or might say about me but I sure hope there's more than that to what I leave behind in recollections, not necessarily tangible things. And if I'm not leaving noteworthy memories with my family and friends, I better change that so they don't dwell on superficial things like my jewelry, my cooking and always dressing to perfection.
Anyway, it made me think and it gives me something to work on so that someone who never knew me won't come away thinking I was less than I really am. Of course, I'm not trying to elevate myself either but I hope my impact in this life is more than the credit cards I've worn out and recipes for chicken that I've cooked.
I'd like to be remembered for always learning, always trying new things, volunteering to the point of being overwhelmed, loving my family, being environmentally conscious and not knowing how to (or caring to learn) balance the checkbook, despite having an MBA.
What would you like to be remembered for?