Writing About a Life Before it is Over

Have you ever had someone wave you away or make a jerk off motion in response to something you said or wrote? I have, and it is the MOST infuriating thing when you are honestly trying to do your best.

This morning I set about the task of writing a eulogy for my youngest son. Don’t worry, He is alive and well.  It is for a class.  He really was not giving anything to me to work with, so I improvised. He did not like it and actually seemed insulted at my focus on his artistic talents. (Teens are really so odd, are they not?) When asked what he valued in life, he said time and family. Okay. Good answers. But, really? I need more to work with.

A couple of years ago, I was given the duty of eulogy writing for my middle son, when he took this same course. He was easier to work with. He and I routinely had philosophical discussions and I had a good sense of who he was and what he valued. It’s not that I do not have this sense about my youngest; I do. But, he does not verbalize his feelings or thoughts as easily, so I am left guessing what he wants me to say in this “assignment.” It is really not as easy as one might think. The hardest part is being their mother and having to write about their death. I am sure they do not understand that part.

Anyway, I drafted a eulogy this morning. I thought it was fairly good but was open to make changes if necessary. Let’s just say it was not what he wanted. I focused too much on his artwork and life as an artist while I eulogized him. “What about me just being a kind and good person, who gets along with everyone?” he asked after I read it to him.

“What about being optimistic and enjoying life, my time with family and friends? We only have so much time,” he said.

Then, he revealed, “Art is a social connector, I see it as drawing people together, socially, something that people can gather around and relate to as a group.  I do not want to live as a hermit off in the woods somewhere” – which I had worked in to the first draft  because he had told me that a number of times before.  He had been joking. Who knew? Now, I do.

I know he loves a city, or thinks he does, for that is where our focus on college is at the current time.  Yes, incorporating that into his life story would be better than hermitizing his existence.

“I’m goofy. I have friends. I enjoy life and value the time we have to live.” he told me. He does have great friends who seem to enjoy his company whether it be at the YMCA to play a game of pick up basketball or play a board game with the family of a girl he’s been seeing. He enjoys life. He gets out of bed happy and is dancing around the kitchen before 7 a.m.. Who wouldn’t want a kid like that?

Okay. I get it. I missed the mark. Now, I have something to work with.

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