I wish to live my life in such a way that when my first-born son gives my eulogy one day, he can say, “I never met anyone who loved life as much as my mother.” (I’m fairly certain he will also say, “She never forgot a child under the age of eight” and “She made me cook as soon as I could push a chair over to the stove!” — but I digress.)
The good, the bad, the fantastic, the mundane, the sad, and the wonderful: I want to love all of life, in glorious heartbreak and triumph. Does this mean I wish to love people too? Yes. How could I not? People are fabulous, even though, yes, some people are terrible. But life is more than people, more than us. Life is this world, and that means the physical, as well as the emotional. And it means the spaces in between and the times no one can rock you to sleep. It’s living with the sadness and the despair, so that you can fully embrace and truly appreciate the bliss that you will find … if you let yourself find it. Or, more accurately, if you let bliss find you. That’s really how the universe works, although it takes us so long to see this truth. We think we can search and track down and trap the most fantastic things in life — love, happiness, peace — but we cannot. We must busy ourselves in work and caring and deadlifts and heartache and in doing so, unearth fabulous things within ourselves, and then be wonderfully, wholly surprised when there is a knock on our door and we open it to find ourselves there, glowing, smiling, somewhat satisfied at last. Hello, bliss. She arrives quickest when we forget her the most, when we are obsessed with the others and how we can help them. Bliss is so clever that way.
This is how I wish to live.
And, one day, when the bemused, amused world that tolerated (and sometimes, celebrated) me for so many years wonders, “Was it madness? Or just her?” My son can say, “It was just her. Or madness. Maybe both. What does it matter? She loved, she laughed, and we all lived. It was, for her and for us, a glorious life. All is well.”
So, how do you wish to live your life? What will be the sentence you want the world to utter once your lips are still and only your memory speaks evermore?
“She was crazy, people said. But they didn’t have to say.” — Lorrie Moore, “Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?”