“Everybody starts texting all of a sudden their spouses and their children, and I’m like, “What’s going on?” –Jennifer Aniston on her plane making an emergency landing during her February trip to Mexico, on Jimmy Kimmel Live. People mag June 17, 2019, page 3
Let’s Face It… Things look a lot different when we think we’re about to die.
I mean, I’m thinking most of us at that point could not care any less if we’re wearing clean underwear (or wearing any at all for that matter), if we left dirty dishes in the sink, lawns so overgrown our neighbors secretly think we’re playing Jumanji, or an Inbox overflowing with boring crap you had planned on ignoring for at least another week. TBH, at that point, I’m thinking the only thing that would really matter is my relationship with the One I was getting ready to meet. I’ve heard it said there are no atheists in foxholes. I dk about that but I do know that if I believed my death was imminent, anything else seems superfluous.
Oh, I’m sure I’d want to try and touch base in some way with my husband and kids if I had enough brain cells clacking together to do that. I think we all might wonder how we’d behave, what we’d think, and what we’d feel facing our own imminent demise. Would we scream? Cry? Sit and stare? Laugh maniacally? Rend our garments and streak down the aisle? I remember driving two of my kids (one in a carseat) through an intersection then glancing out my window to see a car careening toward us while the driver was adjusting her radio. Although I have no memory of the actual impact, I do remember thinking, “I always wondered if I would spew profanity at a moment such as this and it turns out I don’t. Huh.” Then impact. You think the strangest things at times like that. My next awareness was her car’s hood looking like an accordion and my baby screaming in the seat behind me. We were alive. I think moments like that cause your attention to be very focused, like a laser. So much falls away as inconsequential.
Then I started wondering, if I died, what would be said about me at the funeral? Do you ever wonder about stuff like that? Have you ever been to a funeral and wonder who in the world the speakers are talking out? Like, the dead guy (or gal) wasn’t even REMOTELY like that. The eulogies practically reinventing history, like what the revisionists get railed for doing. I would pay good money to attend a funeral like that where every time someone misrepresented the truth they got shocked. Not like crazy, smoke-from-the-ears shocked but enough of one to make them jump a little and look around with bug-eyed suspicion. Like a psychology experiment from the 1960s before all the layers of approval got involved. Why do we want to make all dead people seem like benevolent sprites? I guess it’s for us because the dead guy certainly doesn’t care. I guess it helps us to ignore the bad stuff and exaggerate the good stuff. Or does that make us feel gaslighted? Like all that stuff we remember didn’t really happen because the person in the casket is a wonderful, beautiful, kind-hearted, generous, thoughtful, forgiving, gentle soul who is much more at home in heaven than s/he was here.
Well, if you’re hearing their eulogies then they are dead and you are not. So you still have a chance to have an impact on what legacy you’ll leave behind. Rest assured, regardless of what you do, someone in the throng will be tapped to testify to your loving-kindness. But what will everyone else be thinking?