In Chapter 17 of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom gets to do something that many of us (at least subconsciously) wish we could do.  He gets to hear his own eulogy.  He gets to witness how greatly he has touched the lives around him.  His town, thinking him dead, is awash with grief and they lavishly extol his praises, finding even his mischievous spirit to be something they will sorely miss.


Tom Sawyer own funeral

Tom Sawyer got to witness his own funeral. What if you got to do the same?

There will come a time when each of us will be eulogized.  Unlike Tom though, we won’t be around to hear it.  We do however get some control over the content. We can live our lives right now in accordance with how we wish to be remembered.

Author, essayist, and poet, Annie Dillard once wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” So it goes without saying that how we spend our individual moments is how we spend our days.  If we wish to be remembered as loving and accepting, then we oughtn’t spend our moments being ruthlessly judgmental.  If we wish to be remembered as patient, joyful, and appreciative, then we should stop sprinting through our moments as if our lives were some sort of grueling race to reach the finish line. 

I look at my life as a mother and I think that I would rather be remembered as the mother who would drop everything to go look at a flower opening to the warmth of spring than one so intent on paying the bills that I could not put down my pen to gaze in wonderment at that small, faithful miracle.  I would rather be remembered as a mother who would run in the rain than one who worries about whether that rain gets tracked across my clean floors.  I would rather be the mom who could sit in a rocker on the porch next to my child, hold their hand, and witness the remarkable person they’ve become than a mom who must get up from that same rocking chair, because something — I don’t know what — but something must need to be done in the house (and I am the one who needs to do it) so I’d better go scout around for some kind of busywork to do.

Of course bills need to be paid and houses need to be cleaned.  But if I, like Tom Sawyer, were able to eavesdrop on my funeral and heard my children singing the praises of my spotless baseboards or my meticulously balanced checkbook, I would be the one grieving, for I’d have lost my life twice.