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How I want to be remembered

There has been many deaths in the last 6 months. Death by pandemic. Death by accidents. Death by domestic violence. Death by discrimination. Death by suicide. Death by chronic diseases. Death by heartbreaks.

The only thing I haven’t heard, so far, is death by chocolate.

It seems that everyone have lost someone recently.

In the last six months too, I have lost three people to cancer.

In October 2020, I have lost my late mother to Mestastatic Breast and Lung Cancer, Stage 4. She was diagnosed too late and the cancer has spread to her lungs. She passed away within two weeks of diagnosis.

In November 2020, I have lost a work colleague to Mestastatic Lung Cancer, Stage 4 that has spread to his liver. He fought so bravely for five years before finally succumbing to cancer.

In May 2021, I lost an old friend and college senior. We went to State University of New York at Buffalo twinning programme circa 1988 to 1990. She had Mestastatic Breast Cancer, Stage 4, Triple Negative, which is aggressive and fast growing.

She was diagnosed six months before I was diagnosed with cancer. However, she didn’t start chemotherapy until after I started my cancer treatments. After reading what I shared on Facebook about chemotherapy and my cancer treatments, she approached me to ask if cancer treatments hurt. She was afraid of chemotherapy. I reassured her that it wasn’t as bad as she thought.

When she finally started with her chemotherapy, it was too late. The cancer has spread to her lungs and bones. She was no longer responding to drugs used in chemotherapy. So the doctors put her on palliative care. Nothing else can be done except to ease her pain and to make her feel comfortable in her last days. She passed away peacefully at home leaving a husband and six children.

As I grieve for all the people I have lost throughout my life, I realise, what I remember most is not what was said and done. Rather, it was how they made me feel when I was with them, and the impact they have made in my life.

This had me thinking about my own eventual death and how I want to be remembered.

Don’t get me wrong.

It is not that I think that it’s my time to go. Not just yet anyway, and not so soon hopefully.

However, that does not change the fact that we are all going die, sooner or later. No one is getting out of here alive, that’s for sure. The only thing that we don’t know is when, how and where we’re going to go.

That got me thinking. How do I want to be remembered?

I don’t care to be remembered for the things I own, the clothes I wear, the food that I cooked, the coffee I brewed and served, for my home library filled with books and for conversations we had over coffee, tea and cakes, and over lunches and dinners. But I’d be happy if you want to remember me that way.

I don’t care to be remembered for healing remedies, therapies and treatments, as well as food recipes that I have shared with everyone, or how I have inspired you with my musings on Story Lah, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But I’d be happy if you want to remember me that way.

I don’t care to be remembered for having cancer and fighting all out to beat the disease and helping other cancer patients. But I’d be happy if you want to remember me that way.

I don’t care to be remembered for how I have touched your life and helped you with your needs, during your difficult times, and moments of sadness. But I’d be happy if you want to remember me that way.

I don’t care to be remembered for how I have contributed to your learning in your personal development journey, whether through training and coaching or through sponsoring your education. But I’d be happy if you want to remember me that way.

Above all of that, I want to be remembered for not for the words I have said or what I have done with you, for you or to you.

More importantly, I want to be remembered for my presence, for my ‘being’ with you, and how I have made you feel because of what I have said, written and done, with you, for you or to you.

I want to be remembered for every time that I have made you smile or cry with tears of joy.

I want to be remembered for every time that I have brought happiness into your heart.

I want to be remembered for being authentic, humble and vulnerable enough to stay in your hearts.

I want to be remembered for being compassionate, loving, passionate and powerful enough to make a positive impact and make a positive difference in your life.

I want to be remembered for giving and doing my best at everything I do – both in life and in death.

Those are what I want to leave behind as my legacy to this world.

To the people I have lost along the way, I will forever carry your strength, resilience and fighting spirit in my heart and soul.

I promise never to take life for granted, until I breathe my last breath – whenever that may be.