“People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in the ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.”
― Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale
I’ve been thinking today (Halloween) about dying and what I’d like to leave behind when I do. I can think of a few things:
#1. Words. Lots of them. No one listens to what I say now, but if I die, they might. I want to be prepared to speak to my children when they are ready to listen to me.
#2. Quilts. Lots of them. I want each of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren (I hope I get lots of them) to have a quit I made with my own hands. I want each of them to feel my warmth wrapped around them. I hope they will find joy in their color and design and something soothing in their handwork. I want them to know then that I am thinking of them now, before they are even born and that I love them now and will love them then.
#3. Books Lots of them. I think hard copy books will eventually disappear from this world and I want plenty of them for my children and their children to hold in their laps and read someday. I hope they will think about me reading them and loving them enough to keep them safe from the digital world that’s rushing in on us.
#4. Stories and Photos. Lots of them. I want my posterity to know where they came from. I want them to see the faces and understand the lives of each of my beloved ancestors and feel the reasons why they made such great sacrifices for us to be where we are now. I want them to recognize these family members when they meet.
#5. Music. I’d like to leave a playlist of my favorite music just in case anyone wanted to hear it and think of me.
That’s about all I really care about. That’s the important stuff to me right now. These are the things I’d like preserved behind me in amber, like flies. I’d rather they be butterflies.
8 Dec 2016 Update Report from National Geographic:
First Dinosaur Tail Found Preserved in Amber
The tail of a 99-million-year-old dinosaur, including bones, soft tissue, and even feathers, has been found preserved in amber, according to a report published today in the journal Current Biology.