On the night before his death, Jesus took a cup of wine and a loaf of bread and shared it with his closest friends. He said, “After I’m gone, do this often to remember me.”
I think people want to be remembered after they’re gone.
Some people have done big things that affected lots of people and they are remembered by history, by a nation, or even by the world. Columbus discovered North America, Lincoln freed the slaves, Salk discovered a vaccine for polio, Mother Theresa defined compassion, Stalin murdered more people than Hitler.
Some people have done smaller but significant things that mean they will be remembered by a family, by friends, or by a special interest group of people. “He really established our family name.” “She was always first to respond when any of her friends needed help.” “He was a great fisherman, wasn’t he?”
Some people live their lives in near obscurity, interacting with only a few others, and perhaps never doing anything that real seems to make a mark. They never actually do the thing that causes people to say, “Oh yes, I remember him. He’s the one who…” or “You know what I remember most about her? She always…”
So how do we remember an ordinary person? We look at photos. We tell each other stories of our experiences and interactions with the person. If the latter years have been hard, we look back to happier times and choose memories from among the best we have.
If the best memories aren’t perfect, we sometimes mentally edit the memories and intentionally adjust the stories so that they make the memories good and pleasant and worth remembering. We’re free to do that.
Everyone wants to be remembered well.