Thursday, 18 July 2013

Celebrate Now

Why do we remember people after they are dead? I don't mean we shouldn't; we should with all our minds and hearts recall and cherish those who have left us. What I mean is why don't we make more of a deal , more of a celebration, about those we love when they are alive? Why do we wait for this until after they are dead?

It is almost as if we are unable to celebrate and cherish those we love while they are still with us in the same way we do when they are gone. While they are alive we face their humanity, full blown. While their corporeal form is here amongst us, we see not just those precious parts of them but those human, failed parts of them too. We see all of them, their full portrait, and in that painting we seem unable to ignore the flaws.

Once someone dies, their ungainly humanity dies with them. They move to a plane where their existences is memory, filterable and revisable. We recall what we loved and cherished without having to deal with the ugliness of daily life. Our memories take over, replacing reality with a revisionist view, stripped of the grit and grime of daily existence. Memories are a wonderful thing. We get to choose, to remember selectively, to remember what we want to recall and forget that which burdens the tidiness of recollection.

When I die, when I am gone into memory, my life will be revised. Certainly people will recall all of what I was, including those parts that are somewhat less than stellar. Certainly there will be those whose memories are only of those poorer parts. Others will remember those plus parts, the good that was in me, that is in me now. Only a few, a very few, will recall all of me, both good and bad, with humour, love and sweetness.

I don't want to be celebrated after I am dead; I want to be celebrated while I am still alive. I want my children to cherish me now, as a whole man, a man with black, white and grey, a multi-coloured character with nuances, moods and mistakes. I want my friends to treasure me while I am alive, breathing, swearing, lusting, loving, living. I want my family to think of me now, not later, for what I am and what I have been and what I could have been.Celebrate me while I live; don't sanctify me after I am dead.

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