Sunday Stories: How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

Yesterday, I went to the memorial service for a gentleman who had been in my Orlando writing classes years ago. His name was Al Pfeiffer, and he was also a buddy to my good friend Misty. In fact, she was the one who convinced him he needed to write his life stories.

Albert Pfeiffer, Spring 2014

Al accomplished a lot in his eighty-seven years—well-known New York City architect, accomplished artist on a couple of continents—but what stood out to me most yesterday was his impact on people from so many facets of his life.

The memorial included tears, of course. This man left a gaping hole in the lives of so many people, but what I remember most about the service was the laughter. One person after the next—his husband, good friends, fellow volunteers, and even a waitress from a local restaurant he and his friends visited weekly—showed up to celebrate Al and share moments enjoyed with him.

In retirement, Al used his artistic abilities to paint and draw his friends’ beloved animals. In 2020 when Al was eighty-five years old, he drew a portrait of Jethro, Misty’s furry son, a seven-pound Shiatsu whose personality far exceeds his size. It is one of her most treasured possessions, even more so now.

I talked about how much Al complained about writing in my class. He questioned everything I said, and each time he grumbled, I tried to convince him how this device would improve his writing. Then, one day, I saw the hint of a smirk as I launched into my latest explanation. He was messing with me.

When I called him on it, he flashed a guilty grin and said, “Complaining is part of my writing process.” I couldn’t argue with that. I’ve seen and read about the writing processes of many authors, and some include unusual practices.

The service also made me think about how I hope to be remembered and what I wish people will say about me. At one time, I wanted to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, but now, I’d feel fulfilled if people thought I used my talents, abilities, and experiences to help and improve the lives of others in some small ways. Also, if they remember me as funny, I’d like that.

Years ago, I gave my class members the assignment to write their own obituaries. I won’t do that now, but it is an excellent exercise if you decide to do it.

For today, though, I ask you only to write how you hope to be remembered and share it with us in the comments section below.

Remember, the only way to do this wrong is to not do it at all.

Until next time, happy writing.

Jethro

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
15 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Lisa Marie Webb
1 year ago

I don’t know if I’ll be remembered, since my immediate family count seems to be dwindling. If there are any friend’s or family left maybe they will remember that I liked to write and once had a short story published, or maybe they’ll remember that I sang at church. Possibly they will remember my ongoing struggles to learn to grow flowers and vegetables. I imagine some might recall that I had a small part in defending America as I served in the military. There could be those random people who would not necessarily remember much about the details of my… Read more »

Holly Martinez
1 year ago

I’d like to be remembered as coming from my heart and leaving no one behind. I am a firm believer in living a meaningful life now. Making every day count. Never put off what you can do today, until tomorrow. Tomorrow may not come. I don’t make time for bs, fluff, or what I call plastic people, the head talkers.  Don’t plan on coming to my funeral and telling me what you thought about me, when I’m dead, because my ears won’t be working then. The only important part will be the memories we shared which remain in my heart… Read more »

Orah Zamir
Orah Zamir
1 year ago

I hope to be remembered as someone who, depressed by my early experiences, ventured into the unknown, chose the healing process and learned to say yes to all that life offered her.

Becky Henry
1 year ago

A nice tribute to a student you challenged and enriched, one who affirmed your goal of enriching a life, even when he was perfecting his art of complaining to improve his writing skills.

Steven Weisberg
1 year ago

He was “the best of the left fielders!”

Steven Weisberg
1 year ago
Reply to  Patricia

The link is found on newspapers.com but that service requires a subscription.

Catherine Farrar
1 year ago

I hope I’ll be remembered for my sense of humor and for occasionally having a useful insight. Most of all I want to be remembered by my family and friends for how much I loved them.

Catherine Farrar
1 year ago
Reply to  Patricia

We developed a family brand of humor that was very important to my identity. My dad side of the family had it. He liked to laugh at himself. My brother was a gifted conveyor of hilarity until a few days before he died. My two older sisters used sarcasm and practical jokes which bordered on mean, but I didn’t know that until I left home. My mother wasn’t as tuned in as the rest of us, but she had her own wit. My sisters and I still see life with a twist that most younger family members don’t get and… Read more »

Linda Peterson
1 year ago

I hope to be remembered as compassionate, empathetic, and always possessing a listening ear. It wouldn’t be bad to be remembered for my writing either.

15
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x