And last night, I dealt with my late best friend's mother processing her daughter's death, three years after the fact. The trigger? My late friend's husband had put her off on giving her any of the sentimental things she had asked for. (He did that to me, too, but I simply shrugged it off, because so much of just the world reminds me of her, anyway.) I also reflected that, like with some other people I have been close to, it was a case where, in life a person might hardly have ever had a kind word about someone, but in death they become a saint. And they never had anything but criticism to give them, when they were alive, rather than love and support. But I said nothing about this. I just let her talk. But I reflected on the irony.
My mother always said: "If you want to give me flowers, you had better give them to me when I'm alive, because I sure won't be here to appreciate them when I'm dead." We don't spend enough time giving flowers to the living.
I've been fortunate in that, for the most part, I try to keep everything up to date, that way, because I've never been certain if I'll see someone again. Mother's presence in my early life was always sensed as a fragility that could vanish at any time. Friends...I lost too many too early, starting in 6th grade... Live in the moment, live every moment fully, and leave no words unsaid.
Recently, I had a bit of--we'll just call it a stressful situation--with a friend, and ended up explaining that when people vanish on me, it hits all sorts of odd buttons, because I don't know if they're alive or dead, if I'm dealing with irresponsibility or misadventure. But one thing this situation (which was more toward the misadventure end of the scale) did was make me evaluate how important this person had become, without my even realizing. We've since had odd discussions about ways in which the too-frequent presence of death has affected each of us...and become closer thereby. And today I get email (in response to a discussion of gardening, no less): "-if those who are no more cease to exist its because no one gives them credence or thought. It is then that true death occurs. But then there are those who are not truly alive." Just out of the blue. More food for thought.
"And when I die, who shall remember
This lady of the West Country..."