Native Writes: What if I die?


Recent events have moved me into another realm of thought: What if I die?

A night long battle with indigestion brought the inner turmoil to the forefront. It felt as if I were having a heart attack. A can of pop burst that bubble.

It was compounded by reading – it’s amazing what’s on line late at night – about a German couple suing for access to their deceased teenage daughter’s Facebook account. She was killed when stepping in front of a subway train and they wanted to know if she did it on purpose, thinking she might have shared her thoughts with friends.

I have joked that I have left no journals, no deep dark writings, nothing that would lead to anything as profound as “The Bridges of Madison County.” However, I am writing a memoir of my 50 years in journalism, come September.

While people on what I call “trash TV” scream that they learned of a significant other’s infidelity on Facebook, I have determined that I wouldn’t have been on that stage, even when I suspected I was living with a cheater. It was not on Facebook.

Lots of people feel such active hatred for another person or group of people that they feel compelled to scream it in public, write it in a letter or put it a nasty posting on FB. I have been a target and I have learned no one has all the answers most of the time.

I dealt with deep personal loss by briefly wallowing in grief, then finding humor in myself and eventually in others. Persons who viciously and verbally attacked me were “unfriended,” and I prayed along with countless others for healing of someone very beloved. God’s will was done.

In my scrapbook, I have an unfilled prescription for Valium a doctor felt I needed to cope with loss. I laugh about it, now. Laughter is the very best medicine. I am the funniest thing that ever happened to me. What if I die? I would hope I will be remembered with laughter.

In my book, I am pulled over by a young cop – to me, they are all young – and admit that I committed a traffic offense.

“You a comedian?”

“No, I’m a reporter.”

“Same thing.”

If he’s reading this, I hope he laughs at the memory.

I’m leaving my daughter-in-law with my Facebook PIN so she can get into it if I die. She will look for drama and find little, but she will find my delight at watching my grandchildren grow up, my celebration of each baby born into my circle of friends, joy at success, sorrow at failure and hope for the future.

I finally “unfriended” a couple of friends who had been dead for several years. I don’t think there’s Facebook in Heaven, they just look down upon us from time to time.

A 20-something friend observed, “You got rid of the dead folks?”

They are in the depth of my heart and memories. I think of them and I smile.

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