Borderline Personality Users' Manual

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Left Behind

Recent events make me reflect. It has been said that you "can't take it with you." While this is most definitely true, it bears mentioning that the stuff we leave behind, in spite how little monetary value those items may hold, will certainly be of great value to those family and friends mourning the loss of someone loved. Something as insignificant as a coffee cup or a favorite pen can become a cherished family heirloom.
A week ago, my grandfather passed away after 97 healthy years. He was not rich, if that means having a lot of money. But he was rich in other ways: a marriage of 72 years, thirteen children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a respected member of his community and a good father and husband. This money simply cannot buy.
What few possessions he did have, he made no formal will to apportion them to family members. His children met after the funeral to decide what to do with certain family artifacts. Some of the brothers and sisters would be returning home out of state, so decisions had to be made quickly.
A chipped coffee cup from decades past remains one of his most priceless belongings. It represents the man that he was: simple, not flashy, down to earth. If you saw this cup in a garage sale, you might pass it up. Yet, it was cherished by members of this very large family. The cup, a lamp, a silver ring probably purchased from a street vendor. All are priceless treasures. None of them will be in a museum.
A few people in the family got upset about how this was handled. They felt that Grandpa's things should be left alone for a little while, locking in place the image of his presence. They cited feeling a connection with Grandpa being surrounded by his little collection of keepsakes. It's understandable. We associate things with memories. I especially feel the presence of my mom's late brother, Uncle Charlie, when I put on one of his ties. (Strangely, he was not known for wearing them.) it's pretty normal human behavior to make connections between people and their stuff. Ancient peoples revered their dead by burying them with their most treasured belongings. We do this today, placing objects in the casket of the deceased. I saw a rosary and a few small items with Grandpa before the casket was sealed.
So, here I contemplate the things I might leave behind. I own a lot of electronics - I'm typing this on my iPad - but these techie things tend to get replaced frequently, so there is not as much sentimental value in them. I have no jewelry save a simple gold wedding band. The trombone I played in high school and college might be of some worth. Someone might find significance in some of my books or my photos I took.
Now that this entry has taken a morbid turn, let me completely destroy this hypothesis by reminding everyone that there will be no one left behind to claim what little stuff I have. We have no children, and a radical hysterectomy makes the prospect depressingly out of the question. I suppose adoption is an answer. I will compose a new post on that occasion.
As for the idea of leaving nothing behind; it crossed my mind, but the objects are not coming with us, as I said. The trombone, someone will want. My copy of "The Fifth Element", a photo of me and my wife, a few pieces of clothing. Not much. If I ever have children, well, that's the trick.
My grandpa did a lot with his long life. He made a lot of friends. He helped a lot of people. He left behind a legacy of work, family and sacrifice. The thing I have kept of my grandpa's is the standard he set, and the lessons for making priorities and being an honest man. I look at my hands and face, and I know of his what I possess.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

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Beautiful, my love!

And the pic of the casket made the entry even more poignant.

We will have children... adopted ones... and at least one Paco-baby. You just wait and see!


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