Often, we get bothered by the negative things people say about us. We get to a point where we question ourselves if those are the truth. And even when we hear a compliment, we find ourselves doubting its sincerity. Whether the criticisms were made by people close to our hearts or by those who wish to see us defeated, they won’t matter in the end because what will truly matter are the words that will be left unheard.
When Guil, my partner, was at a charity event a week ago, he met a colleague of my late father, Eric. “He was a good man… very artistic. His work was often published in the company’s newspaper,” the man said. That may have meant nothing for others, but not for me. You see, I was a daddy’s girl. I looked up to him for his acuity, aptitude, and wit. He was a jack-of-all-trades.
I’ve seen all his works, be it commissioned or for free. He won awards in several contests. He printed shirts, made signages, decals, artifical plants (that didn’t look artificial, mind you)… Seriously, you could’ve just named anything, and he’d do it to perfection. It wasn’t the money that drove him, it was merely his passion. His love for art.
My father was the most considerate and the most thoughtful man I’ve known, anybody who knew him would testify to that. But that doesn’t mean no one hated him. He was straightforward, just, but yeah, playful (if you know what I mean). He may have been the perfect father, but he wasn’t the perfect husband. He was ridiculed, particularly by the people who felt entitled to judge him. They’d mention his name as if it were bile in their mouth.
So knowing that there still are people who remember him for his kindness made me tear up. He may have done things that hurt me, but I love him nevertheless. He was my hero, still is, and will always be.
I used to believe that those kind words would’ve been appreciated more had my father been able to hear them. But after giving it some thought, I realized that how people remember him, after he passed, has a greater meaning. When one is talking to another person, he tends to choose flattery so as to avoid conflict. But what he truly feels remains hidden unless that other person is not present.
In our life, we will always be different people to those we’ve encountered. Each one of them has a certain memory of us, a certain image of us, that will leave a mark forever. They may not always be favorable to us, and I guess it is something that’s beyond our control. Inasmuch as I hope to be remembered as a good person, I guess it can’t be helped.
Many times, I’ve asked myself: What would people say should I die? I am nowhere near perfect. I am neither good nor bad. There is so much gray area that I myself cannot tell what my true color is.
I was that friend who went up to the third floor to get the book that was forgotten on the desk. I was that sister who willingly went to the market to pick up stuff needed for a party… that sister who also enjoyed babysitting her little nephews and niece. I was that daughter who tried to give even when there was not much to give.
Unfortunately, I was also that inconsiderate friend who said things exactly as they were, no matter how hurtful it may have been. I was also that disobedient sister who got into trouble, came home drunk, and argued when scolded. I was that clueless selfish daughter who refused to be hugged even when things had been too much to carry.
Will all the good things I think I’ve done be forgotten? Or will I be someone who does not deserve any eulogy at all?
Such a pity I will never be able to hear what people will say at my funeral. I won’t even know whether or not they will have anything good to say. No matter how people will remember me by, there is one word I hope they’ll think of…
That despite all the struggles and failures, the criticisms, the eyebrow-raising, eye-rolling, and all the name-calling, I choose to be happy.
And that’s what matters.
What do you want to be remembered for?
Check Rika’s other write-ups on her own website at RikaNobela