Over the last few weeks, our newspaper seems to have been filled with death – sudden, unexplained deaths of teenagers, prolonged suffering from cancer, particularly brain tumours, and emergency medical conditions that have all led to people being lost. These things always seem to come in waves of lots of deaths all at once and this has been a particularly extreme example with several very young people dying very suddenly. I have written more tribute pieces in the last three weeks than I have in the last few months before that.
Tributes are now the easiest things to write – there is so much more pressure to get everything right and you really want to do the absolutely best job you can of recording someone’s life in 500 words and a few pictures. It can also be an incredible experience, to be trusted with the last words that will be printed about someone, to get every important detail into the story about their life and loves. It is a phenomenal responsibility and one I do not take lightly. I consider myself pretty good at writing these pieces after being thrown in the deep end right from the very beginning in my work as a journalist. Being good with people and empathetic definitely helps, but you need to not dwell on the sadness of losing someone – instead treat the story as a celebration of the person’s life and a chance for family and friends to get closure where perhaps a shock death can leave them wanting.
Sorry, I don’t mean this to be such a morbid post – but all this death and all those tribute pieces just got me thinking about what people – friends and family – might say about me if I were to suddenly get hit by a bus or something. Whether I would be described as a go-getter, as adventurous or kind and thoughtful. Or whether people would say that I loved life to the full. It makes you wonder. I mean, nearly everything that people say about you when writing a tribute is complimentary, which is reassuring, but you still wonder what nice things they would say exactly – how they view you.
I’ve never been one of these people who worries about what others think – I think you can waste a lot of time doing that when often the people who voice thoughts are not the ones whose opinions actually matter. But I have always been rather intrigued by how people see others and by which traits we are remembered. With my plans to go off travelling next year, I’m sure I’ll meet a lot of new people and it makes me wonder what kind of first impression I make and how people remember me when I have moved on. I always think that a first impression is worth everything because as we all know, you can never get another chance at it, whether personally, professionally or socially. It is always important to be the best you can be the first time around because this first chance can taint a future relationship.
So, I’m going to be brave and ask the question – at this moment in time – how would you remember me?
I had already written and published this post when I spotted the Daily Prompt and figured this fitted quite well!