My poetry brings joy to the world. My art is thought provoking. My code is efficient and ingenious. My habits and routines are productive. My love is warm and beautiful. I have tremendous skills. I work hard. I am honest. I care about my children and I prove it every day.
I value all of the various parts of my soul, these remnants of my time spent here so far. My vast creativity is a wellspring of value. I offer it freely most days. I help people when I can and I do not seek recompense. I teach people when I know and I abstain from cloying conceit. I laugh and cry with my kids. I am more than the sum of my parts. Someday I’ll be gone from this world and I wonder if my epitaph will list only my GPA as a child and my salary as an adult.
My hope is that those things are blown away like leaves on an autumn breeze, that people will forget how many medals I won, how many dollars I earned, and what all the little pieces of paper said about me. My dream is that my steadfast attachment to the beauty we each bring to the world is some part of my final tally. I would like to be remembered for my teaching, my music, my laughter, my creativity, and my family. In this endeavor, I can enjoy the comfort and encouragement of Maya Angelou.
Is it really like that? I have spent many long evenings with Death. Death and I have gone shopping for new clothes together, often neutral suits, ugly ties, and shoes that never fit. We have cooked meals together. We have walked arm in arm down the aisle towards other people’s new lives.
Death doesn’t judge me at all, neither valuing me nor degrading my existence further. An impartial bailiff in the court of eternity, Death is the single most valuable contributor to meaningful ideas that the human race has ever had. Death is the complete absence of opinion. When time is up, there is no negotiation.