The Things We Leave Behind

One of hubby’s uncles passed away in his sleep two weeks ago and last night, we had his wake. This afternoon is the funeral with military honors although I’m not sure if I can attend it as the little guy will be in school.

I’ve only ever met this man about five times since I married into hubby’s vast extended family. My first memory of him is from my church wedding day when, at the reception, he came up to the main table and asked us where we were having our honeymoon. Granted, I had not wanted a full-blown church wedding and we’d already been married two years before in Vegas, going away on a honeymoon was the last thing on my mind. I was also too exhausted from smiling all day, but I probably answered something like we haven’t thought about it yet. So he gave his suggestions and one of them was Asia. For some reason which I don’t remember now, it segued into something that had to do with hookers and I had to laugh because he was saying this to the husband and wife. Of course, he was joking but I always remembered him to be larger than life and opinionated, often loud but sincere.

Last night I got to listen countless relatives and friends, former coworkers, and community representatives stand at the pulpit to honor his legacy. Every single one of them noted his big heart and desire to help others. He was the Boston kid who was pro-union, had a picture taken with John F. Kennedy, and could pull enough strings in his community to get a kid going to school at the wrong side of town into the better school on the other side of town (the better side) in less than 48 hours after his mother called to ask for his help.

I almost cried a few times listening to their stories and marveled at what an amazing man he was and was truly loved by the community that they ran out of time to accommodate people who wanted to share their thoughts about him. But we got closure and know he’s in a better place.

It got me thinking about the things I’d leave behind when I move on. What will people say about me? What would they think of me? How would they remember me? It’s one of the things I often worry about when people see me running around town without my makeup and I can’t help but wonder if they ever think to themselves, wait, that’s the author?

Anyway, I slept on this question only to wake up to learn that Anthony Bourdain is dead at 61. Cause of death? Suicide.

I first heard about Bourdain through his bestselling book Kitchen Confidential that began life as an article in the New Yorker. It would change his life and as far as my saute pan choices, mine, too.

I enjoyed his TV shows, especially the ones where he went to the Philippines where he declared the best lechon came from my home town. He also loved the smelly durian which is one of my favorite fruits as well. It smells so bad that it’s prohibited in many, if not all hotels in Southeast Asia. They actually have tables where you need to check the contents of your bags in case you decide to sneak in durian or jackfruit. He even beat Andrew Zimmern there who couldn’t stomach eating it.

Val Kilmer wrote a post about Bourdain’s passing that may be triggering to some folks but when you read it and ponder on his message, you see it from the side of the ones Bourdain left behind. It’s selfish, yes, but it also deserves to be explored because for those of us left behind, there are many things some of us may never find closure for.

6 thoughts on “The Things We Leave Behind

  1. My dad talked non-stop about what his legacy would be for years before he died. He ended up dead, estranged from friends and family with none of the legacies he dreamed of.
    The only thing I hope to be remembered for is raising happy children who remember me fondly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think in the end, that’s what matters. The memories people have of us that hopefully they’ll pass on to others.

      Probably the only thing I have of my father is an rectangular digital clock that he received as a gift from a shipping company he did business with. It has the center face and around it, 4 digital readouts of different countries, the stickers identifying which cities they were now long gone. I used to change the batteries every time so it wouldn’t rust and keep going but now, I don’t even know where it is.

      My dad did shitty things before he died. He asked us for money which I sent home because I thought he really needed it. I did this while needing the money more for my son’s therapy then because I didn’t want my dad to fail. We found out later on, he used all that money to buy his new mistress her own home in cash so the banks couldn’t touch it. And sure enough, when he died, she got to keep her house and we got nothing but liens for things he signed as collateral that we’re still sorting through years later. I’ve never processed his passing even though it’s been almost 6 years. I have to go back to my MM blog to see what year he died because that’s how I marked it, with a poem. And that’s all I ever did and then moved on. If anything, it got me to go back to my writing with a vengeance because in many ways, that’s where my safe space is.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.