DAILY PROMPT: DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME
Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone.
What sort of legacy will I leave? Nothing grand. If I’d wanted to be seen off with a fanfare of trumpets and a flurry of street closures, I’d have needed to plan ahead, and it’s a bit late for that now.
There’s one thing I’m certain of, though: I won’t be lying on my death bed wagging my finger and saying Don’t you forget about me, with all the threats implicit therein. What people choose to remember is their business entirely, and I’m not about to lurk around hissing if I’m not top of their list.
Mind you, I have promised a haunting or two. If, for example, I happen to die in some newsworthy fashion – chomped by a shark, crushed by a flying watermelon – and the journalist involved refers to me as elderly, he or she won’t be sleeping peacefully in their beds for many moons. And if my children fancy being biblical at my funeral (unlikely) and read from anything but the King James Version… They won’t be happy little vegemites for a while either.
But really, unless you’re Shakespeare or Einstein or Marie Curie, your legacy is likely to be ephemeral. My dad, as it happens, was a person of some note in his time, and his legacy to the development of Australian education was considerable. But of all the thousands of Australians now benefiting from adult and distance tertiary education, how many would know the name of the man whose vision set it up? Not one, I daresay. And does it matter? As long as the work goes on, he wouldn’t have cared.
But if he can see that the ethics and standards he and my mother taught us are still alive and well in his great grandchildren – now that would thrill him to ghostly bits.