How will YOU be remembered?
So, I try not to be a downer here but every once in a while I know that I am. Today, my hubby sent me a link from snopes that truly saddened me. To save you from clicking over, it's about how the following obituary was a TRUE one posted in the Times Herald on August 16th, 2008:
1929 - Aug. 7, 2008
Dolores Aguilar, born in 1929 in New Mexico, left us on August 7, 2008. She will be met in the afterlife by her husband, Raymond, her son, Paul Jr., and daughter, Ruby.
She is survived by her daughters Marietta, Mitzi, Stella, Beatrice, Virginia and Ramona, and son Billy; grandchildren, Donnelle, Joe, Mitzie, Maria, Mario, Marty, Tynette, Tania, Leta, Alexandria, Tommy, Billy, Mathew, Raymond, Kenny, Javier, Lisa, Ashlie and Michael; great-grandchildren, Brendan, Joseph, Karissa, Jacob, Delaney, Shawn, Cienna, Bailey, Christian, Andre Jr., Andrea, Keith, Saeed, Nujaymah, Salma, Merissa, Emily, Jayci, Isabella, Samantha and Emily. I apologize if I missed anyone.
Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing.
Her family will remember Dolores and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her and perhaps we will think of those times too. But I truly believe at the end of the day ALL of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I hope she is finally at peace with herself. As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again.
There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. So I say here for all of us, GOOD BYE, MOM.
How SAD is that??? I wonder how a family could be this torn apart? How can you live with a family that is so obviously full of hurt and anger? I wondered to myself, "was the whole family this way or just this one particular daughter?"
So I googled "Dolores Aguilar". Thankfully, I DID find an article that was printed in the Times Herald a week after the original Obit was printed. It was a commentary written by a neighbor of Dolores which read as follows:
Article Launched: 08/24/2008 08:18:25 AM PDT
I had been told about an unbelievable obituary about a woman who was not loved by her family because she didn't love them. Today, I was given that obituary to read and could not believe my eyes.
This was a woman I knew, and had grown to love.
Dolores Aguilar was my neighbor on Carolina Street for many years. A few days after we first moved there, I was introduced to her by her young granddaughter who was living with her and she was taking care of. I met her husband, Raymond, who loved her very much and she loved in return. They were friends, and comrades in life. Raymond, who worked at Mare Island, died a few years later from asbestos poisoning. He was a very good man.
I spent a lot of time at her house. She adopted me as her granddaughter, too. I was happy to be there, as I loved to hear her stories and her hugs were always heartfelt. Every time she saw me, she would hug me and say, "I love you Nena" or "I miss you." Dolores had many stories to share. She spoke a lot about life experiences, and being strong in the world. The one thing she made sure to tell me was not to lose love.
Although she didn't go to church often (she did not drive), she was a deeply religious woman. She talked a lot about the saints, the Virgin Mary and God. She spoke a lot about Heaven and also about faith and forgiveness. She was excited to go to Mass, dressed to the nines, and heard the service in complete solemnity. Dolores' spirituality may not have been visible to others, but I knew she believed and she had great faith in God.
She often cried for her son, who died in Vietnam. I was honored to be included in a trip with her grandchildren to South San Francisco, to visit her son in the cemetery. The experience was unforgettable. All the way there, she talked about how he was a good person, and how he decided to serve his country and how she often prayed for his safety. She had zest in her eyes when she spoke about him, and she would also stop mid-sentence as she tried hard not to cry. In her frailty, she made the trip to see her baby boy, she touched his tombstone, and whispered "I love you." I didn't hear one word against the government, against the war or against those who killed him. All I heard was that he was a good son, he gave his life for what he believed in, and she missed him terribly.
Dolores had a great love for animals. She welcomed dogs, and spoiled them. She was also good with people, and understood deeply about their paths in life.
What I want everyone to know is that she isn't the woman on the obituary. Because I knew her, and I loved her and she loved me. She was a wonderful woman. She was a beautiful woman. Despite all the different sorrows and pains she may have gone through with her family, she still continued to love.
She made a huge difference in my life. She may not have given me material things, but the pearls of wisdom and her enduring belief and love for me is something I will cherish forever.
Grandma, I love you, and may you truly rest in peace. I miss you and I am forever grateful.
I felt a bit better for Dolores but then I thought some more. Why did her daughter feel such loathing for her and yet a neighbor such love and caring? Was it something that her daughter perceived or was it a family 'secret'? Were there two Dolores Aguilars, the cruel family Dolores and the kinder neighbor Dolores? Was Dolores incapable of showing care to her family but still able to be kind to outsiders? Was she somehow frozen in her family life because of some unknown turmoil or tragedy? Did the loss of her son turn her cold towards the rest of her family? WHY could her daughter not see the person her neighbor saw? Obviously this woman was capable of giving, receiving and feeling love. She did so with this neighbor.
WHAT HAPPENED WITHIN THIS WOMAN'S FAMILY LIFE?
So, I say (once again) make sure that those you care about know how you feel. Sometimes it so much easier to be kinder and loving to outsiders because of some unseen circumstance. Whether it be because you think your family/friends/loved one know how you feel or because you were raised to not express yourself to family. Maybe you were raised that showing emotions is weak or unnecessary. Maybe you get caught up in living life and therefore are too busy at home to express your love and caring. Maybe you set too high of expectations within your family and mistakenly withhold care to "toughen" family up. Maybe you are too frightened of being rejected or are being held back by a past tragedy or hurt to express yourself to your closest loved ones.
SCREW ALL THAT!
Be sure that people in your life know how you feel. If they don't return the sentiments, F'em! At least you won't be giving anyone a reason to write an obit about you like the one written about Dolores Aguilar.
Never let yourself be unknown to anyone. Never leave yourself in doubt. Never leave reason for a obit such as the one written for Dolores.