Have you ever found yourself daydreaming about what might be said at your wake? Your funeral? After you die?
The truth is, someone very near and dear to my life is going through some life-changing and terrifying things right now that have left me thinking about my own mortality. Not in that existentialist way that applies to religion because I’m not religious, but in that way where you stop and ask yourself “what if”. What if I died, would anyone show-up to my funeral? Would there be a funeral? What would I want to do if I knew it was coming? What thoughts and memories would I leave behind for my loved ones, my children, my circle of friends? Would anyone remember me beyond my award-winning and witty blog in ten years? (Hey, a lady can wish)
In all seriousness, it’s been on my mind. When I look at my children, and I really think about what impact I’m having in their lives, and even in their friends lives I am humbled by the opportunity to get to think about the path forward. Yet, I have this relationship with this person who is battling so many demons and can’t see that there is a way out and that they aren’t alone, and that every single action they are taking right now is representative of pain and anger they’ve buried somewhere deep and are afraid to confront.
I know something about confronting pain and anger. For years I thought it was everyone else who created situations in my life that left a lot to be desired. It was every man, family member, or coworker that ruined it, but I was adamant, it wasn’t me. In fact, it was anger and confusion about numerous things that actually created reactions to my life, not the world around me. I was recently blessed to get to hear Rachel Hollis speak via my business with Rodan + Fields. In her presentation she said something that really resonated with me. She said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Life can either be something that happens to you or that happens for you.” I mean, wow! Can we stop for a second and just soak that little nugget in?! Is life happening to you? Or are you like Cinderella twirling in a circle as life happens for you?
We all know I’m a bit of a nut, so in thinking through all of this, I decided what I wanted to do was write my own story. My own words to leave with people, and maybe someday they won’t be needed because we’ll have found a way to live forever where I can continue to spend my time trying to help others. But, even if I only impact a few, or one, that is all I truly desire. So I’m writing my own story (see below) and if I die suddenly maybe someone who knows me will remember this and come back here to print it off and share it. Because if you can’t go out on your own words, well that would just seriously suck.
Amber Welch – An Life Lived
Hi everyone! Yeah, I know it really sucks like a bitch that I’m dead huh? And, yeah, get used to it because this letter to you all after I’m gone is going to contain some colorful language because if you knew me in life you knew that my mouth spoke in rainbows, not monochrome.
You might be asking yourself right now, “Why did Amber write everyone a letter, including her potty mouth, to be read after she’s gone?” I know it’s a confusing situation, so let me clear it up for you. My life isn’t over! So right about now is when my mom’s jaw is going to hit the floor because I am, I mean I was, an atheist. Pick it up mom, because wherever my extinguished flame went, I’m still an atheist. However, that doesn’t mean my legacy is done! Oh no, not if I have anything to say about it.
This isn’t going to contain a bunch of sappy advice, but some savvy as shit advice because that’s how I always rolled. I never did anything half-ass, so why would I start now, just because my heart isn’t beating.? Screw that! So, let’s get to it shall we?
First, put all those damn tissues away! I made it VERY clear to my family and some of my friends, we are NOT going to be crying because that is a total waste of my life. My life isn’t about endings and mistakes, and missed moments with the grand-kids or spouses, or whatever hell things I am going to miss. My life, MY life was and is about love.
Yep, you suckers read that right. L.O.V.E. one beautiful four letter word that fits in just fine with my rainbow vocabulary. So put those nasty tissues away because we aren’t sad today, we’re celebrating a life well-lived.
Sure, there were some pretty serious roadblocks and fuck-ups throughout. I mean, I did lie once and tell my big-brother and his wife that I was meeting someone to talk about God when I was actually hooking up on a first date with my now ex-husband. (Sorry Mark and Christine) Also, if I was wrong about this whole religion thing, I might be going to Hell for that one! Regardless, life is short, trust me I know, and it’s worth living not missing.
So here’s what we’re going to do. I want everyone to stand up in your seat. Don’t lie to me, I know my mom or husband, or kids, and one of them shitheads planned a funeral even though I implicitly asked to NOT have a funeral. I wanted my organs donated then my body used to grow a tree or something, not this, but how am I going to know so whatevs!
Now that you’re standing, look around you. Seriously, stop and look. Yeah, check out that fat person, look at the old fart who probably actually did just fart. Even check out the cousin you secretly think is hot…NO, don’t do that one that’s gross! Okay, you can sit down.
My point is this. This world isn’t made up of one color. It isn’t made up of one religion, or one lack of religion. It isn’t made up of all smart people, or dumb people. The world I lived in was as varied as the rainbow of words I used. Life was as diverse and full as the rainbow of words I used. So, now that we’ve established that please tell me why in the world you all are sitting here crying into tissues?! There is an entire world that needs love.
Guys, do you know why I didn’t want sadness at my funeral or wake or donation of my body to a good cause? Because my life was spent celebrating ALL the things. Good and bad, not just the good. It took me over 30 years to figure that out before I realized that life isn’t worth sweating even the big stuff. I’m not saying I lived it perfectly, but seriously, once I got that memo I stopped fucking around and spent my time loving people.
It’s just not worth anything else. Sure I could have lost weight, I could have stayed bulimic, or faked that I believed in something I didn’t. Do you know I chose none of those things and chose even less of others because they weren’t right for me. I knew, deep down, that my purpose was to be the best mother I could, the best person I could, and to focus all my energy on leaving a legacy, a trail of breadcrumbs to those after me to learn that a life well lived is full of love.
So stop arguing about politics, or religion because I swear to you mom I will find a way to haunt you if any one of you brings that shit up today! Now go on, get out of here. Go crack open a beer, make a Manhattan, a G&T, or whatever, but have the biggest damn party you ever had because my life mattered and it was great! I wouldn’t change a thing, not one single thing in the ruin and triumph that was the life I lived, and you shouldn’t either…except love more and worry less.
There are a few more words to share with my family.
Mom, stop focusing on changing everyone. In all the years I tried to fit the religion box I never impacted anyone, and probably hurt more than I helped. You are the most loving and generous and beautiful woman I have known, but you worry so much that someone else might not think you’re enough. Every single day you have been enough and you are the only one who hasn’t realized it. I’ve never known anyone with so much to give and such a heart to help, stop everything else and just focus on that because it’s your superpower!
Brad, you were the love of my life. I wish I had been able to spend more life with you. I wish I could spend forever with you. You are the cheapest mother-fucker I’ve ever known, but I love that you turned me into someone who doesn’t spend so much money, and that no one on this planet could push my buttons and still get me to laugh like you. YOU alone were my soulmate in life, and maybe I’m wrong and we can burn in hell together (hehe) but if not, I’m glad I had you for even a moment as fleeting as I did.
Braden, man you can be an asshole but I love you like I bore you from my own loins. Yep, I know I have now grossed you out, which was 100% my intention! Haha, but seriously, you are the son I never knew I needed and would love as much as I love you. You are full of wit and humor, and I just know you will do amazing things in life. Don’t be afraid to do the stuff that is hardest because that is where you’ll get the most enjoyment in life. Just because you aren’t like everyone else doesn’t make you anything but spectacular!
Gabrielle. No words describe you because I spent my whole life waiting for you, and then you were here. The shiniest and brightest star of my sky. I know I always jokingly call you my 80-year old daughter, but what I mean to say is you are like love that walks around bringing pure light to every room. Never let that light go out because it’s what makes you so different and perfect in this big, ugly, imperfect world. Not many people have that light, but you, you my sweet and beautiful daughter are the most wonderful thing I ever did. It’s you who got me through life and you who made all of it worthwhile. Every single unfair and horrible thing, I would have done a million times to get a moment of you. Always stay true to who you are, because you are the proof that LOVE in the world exists.
And that’s it everyone. That’s the last line of my story, the scene of my movie, the big hurrah. Don’t waste another minute crying and wondering why her, why so young. Go out, be full of love, experience life, and take the best advice I ever received. Don’t wait for someday because life is shorter than you ever imagined, and someday might never arrive.
Peace out bitches,