A woman I know just died. She was expecting it, though I wasn’t; and even though she was elderly, it still came as quite a shock.
After hearing the news, I found myself running over all the stories she told me about herself and her life; about how Sean Connery used to be her milkman (He was “full of himself”), and how she had been a child stage-star who eventually sold her accordion for her first house’s down-payment. I reviewed and rehashed all the little, precious tid-bits she had shared with me, searching for something it seemed-- a remnant of that bright beautiful person to keep with me, though she was gone.
She was a spry woman, with a keen wit, and every time I saw her, she would say, “Look out, here comes the Queen of Blarney!” and I would affect a bow to her Highness or some such nonsense. I thought it was quite humorous that she had thusly labeled herself! It seemed the perfect nomenclature for such a grand personality as she, though in stature she was quite petite.
It wasn’t until just before she died when she asked, shyly one afternoon, for my name. She confided that had not known all this time, which is why, she said, she always called me the “Queen of Blarney”.
“Me!” I spluttered. “I thought you were talking about you!” We had a good laugh on that one, we two Majesties of Rubbish, both. I must admit, I was flattered. But then, Blarney would be.
All these musings on this woman friend gave me pause: After we “shuffle off this mortal coil”, all that remains are the memories of us that others carry with them. We have no say as to whether their recollections ring true or hollow, and whether they choose to remember the good stories or the bad. But it does give one pause to ask, “What stories will be remembered about us and our lives shared with others? What shadows will persist after we are gone?”