Monday, April 23, 2012

Saying Goodbye

                I saw a news segment last week describing the latest ap available to a tech-driven, smart phone, ipad saturated generation. This new, must have ap is called ifidie. (Honestly, shouldn’t it be called whenidie?). In short, this ap allows the user to write a last message friends and family that will be distributed to their preferred social media site or email in a timely way, shortly after their death. I’m not entirely sure who sends it out, perhaps St. Peter at their arrival at the Pearly Gates, for surely no use of electronics would be permitted in paradise.
                The users of ifidie say this is the most meaningful way to communicate with their children. How did that happen? My mother-in-law had an expression she often used as she tried to makes sense of the generational changes that were overtaking her genteel traditions: “I feel like I’ve been dropped here from another planet!” I have become my mother-in-law.
                I know I probably can’t control the timing or nature of my demise, so you can bet I’ll take charge of my last goodbye. I’m at the point in my life where hellos and goodbyes are about even, but the time is coming when the goodbyes will begin to dominate, until I finally reach the last goodbye. At that point there will be no last minute reminders, apologies, or words of sentiment required. By then, my actions will have spoken volumes.
                My children already know they are the single most meaningful accomplishment in my life. I couldn’t be more proud of the adults they have become, armed with enviable work ethics and a tolerance for others that serve them well in both their casual and meaningful relationships. My husband knows that 42 years of marriage is not an accidental milestone. If he goes before me, I won’t try again; it would be futile to attempt to duplicate this relationship. My twin sister  has always known what I needed to tell her, and my friends will let my life speak for itself; it’s all there. My grandsons will come to appreciate how much I loved them from our rituals and traditions: cooking, biking, bedtime stories, camping, swimming, and playing games.
There is no sense letting final words create a maudlin smear on the events themselves. I don’t want some fleeting sentiment thrown out in cyberspace to be deleted or forgotten. I’m living life as an epitaph that may grow shorter as it is passed to succeeding generations, but it will never be a final goodbye. Rather, I hope it will be an igniting spark.