When I die, I’d like to donate all my viable organs to people who will be grateful for them, and actually take better care of them than I have. But not my whole body. I will not be giving this giant bag of flesh to science for research, or any other purpose. I have already had my fill of people standing around and staring at my body, without really knowing the better parts of me, thank you very much. But my eyes, and any internal organs, those are all up grabs.
I hope, that whoever, or whomever, gets my eyes uses them to see things that are as beautiful as my life is full of, or I guess, was full of, at that point.
But what, as the commercial use to say, will they write on my tombstone? It has to be brief, those tombstones are fairly small. The original twitter, offering one last tweet to sum up a lifetime of living.
“Here lies the leftovers of Jessica Rae Ingram Vaughn. Mediocre Wife. Exceptional Mommy. Amazing Sister. Hilarious and Loyal Friend. Occasional Writer. Dedicated Truth Teller. She was shy when it didn’t matter, and courageous when it did. Forever Loving. Forever Loved.”
I think that would be nice. And mostly true. And also long, which is fitting for me. Brevity seems to be my arch enemy.
I especially like the bit about forever loving, because that’s my goal. I suck at it sometimes. And sometimes I don’t. But you know that part in With Honors, Joe Pesci’s best movie, where he is doling out all his worldly goods postmortem, via his hand written will? Well, he gives Moira Kelly’s character something and says, “For (whatever her name is), who knows how to love.” I saw that part over 20 years ago, and it still makes my breath catch. Can you imagine a better compliment? No, neither can I.
So, that is my goal. My end game.
And yes, I am vain enough to keep wondering. But, also to keep striving to live that way. Even tonight. Even after today. Even after I practically ran from the house screaming because all the children and all the chips were stacked against me, or thrown at me, more likely. My sweet babies, whose angelic faces I adore, joined forces in some kind of Unified Urban Spring to overthrow their dictator today. I’m almost proud of their effort, it was so wonderfully and intricately constructed. My little Revolutionaries.
It’ll be funny in a few days. Just, not today. Today, I am sitting in a café, drinking tea while some college man/child plays soothing music on guitar, contemplating my own mortality. This manchild, who is not half as good a musician as my husband, and who I have no doubts could not handle five children. He is too calm. Too soothed. He plays slowly, needily, looking around to see the impact that his playing is having on those around him. I could not bear to watch that smooth veneer crack wide open when the children broke all of his finest things. I can barely watch this calm cloying, his virginal fingers meeting the hardened metal strings.
I hate to tell you, buddy, but the people playing dominoes, couldn’t pick you out of a lineup. The guy at 12 o’clock, well, I’ve seen him eat a half pound brick of cheese straight out of the package, like it was a freaking candy bar. And the selfie king by you, is only using you for Facebook/Twitter/Instagram creed. Whereas, I appreciate your trying, as much as your reminding me of how amazing my husband actually is on the guitar. It kind of soothes the rug burn of his needing another guitar every few months. Well, a little. But, play on.
I’ll just be sitting here, planning for my hopefully not too imminent demise. Lovingly.