1. Don’t talk about wishing for more time with me; if there were opportunities to spend time with me when I was alive of which you did not take advantage. I spent many years alone, without phone calls or visits or letters or cards or communication of any kind from those I had thought would share my senior years. Instead I had to learn to make new friends and fill my days with new relationships to fill the void.
2. Don’t say nice things about me; if you gossiped about me and said nasty things behind my back. Your thoughtless cruel and angry words broke my heart and destroyed my confidence, made me feel inadequate and unworthy. You should have shared the nice thoughts and your good opinion of me when it counted…when it would have brought me joy.
3. Don’t say you loved me; if you did not show your love and caring to me while I was alive. There were countless days when I felt unloved and unlovable. To fill the void I had to learn to reach out and form new relationships. People who treated me with the kindness and respect I deserved.
4. Don’t tell stories of the fun times we shared; if you did not share those fond memories with me while I was alive and could have enjoyed the reminiscing with you. In my loneliness, I finally got to the place where I believed that there were no pleasant days in all your memories, that there was nothing beautiful worth remembering. That all those years were a wasteland of negativity and all my efforts were for naught.
5. Don’t compliment me; if you neglected to compliment me when I was alive and would have welcomed some positive appreciation. If your neglect made me believe that I had done nothing right, and that everything I did was somehow second rate or did not measure up, then hollow words of praise mean nothing to me now.
6. Don’t talk about my good traits; if when I was alive you criticized me and told me how I needed to change to be better. It was so tiring trying to live up to your expectations and always failing. If you made me believe that nothing I did was ever good enough for you, then you have no business endorsing me now.
7. Don’t say you will remember me; if you forgot me on my birthday or other holidays where it is respectful to remember those we hold dear. There were many of these special days that I spent all alone and unremembered. The tears of sorrow that I shed cannot be wiped dry with empty words. There were times if felt invisible and forgotten. If you did not give me the comfort of consideration and the warmth of being remembered when I needed them, they are wasted effort now.
8. Don’t thank me; if you never thanked me while I was alive and would have welcomed knowing that you appreciated something I did for you. I spent many hours in self-doubt, thinking that I had gotten it wrong yet again. Over time I came to feel that much of what I did was a wasted effort, a thankless job unappreciated. If you did not appreciate my generosity and kindness when I needed to hear that they mattered, then what use are empty words of thanks to me now?
9. Don’t talk about the nice things you remember about me; if you only told me the bad traits you wished I would change while I was alive. I would have welcomed some good feedback too. If you devalued me as a person and made me feel unworthy, if you deflated my self-esteem then you have not earned the right to praise me now.
10. Don’t pretend that we were close; if you never took the time to get to know the real me. If you didn’t get to know my dreams and my aspirations, if you did not learn my regrets or find out what hurts I had suffered and endured; then you did not know the events that had shaped my life. If you did not learn what motivated me to get up and try again after every disappointment or learn what inner strength and courage I had to develop to be able to cope; then you did not know me and you do not have the right to presume so now.
11. Don’t say you will miss me; if you never spent time with me when I was alive, when I would have welcomed your company. There were lots of lonely days I wished you would remember me and had only fantasy visits to sustain me. Only those friends who were a part of my life through visits and letters and phone calls, deserve the honour of missing my company now.
12. Don’t say you are glad to have known me; if you didn’t ask how I was doing and you weren’t glad to spend time with me when it counted most…while I was alive. If you compared me unfavorably to others or replaced me with those you thought more qualified to be in your life, then you have not earned the right to claim my past.
13. Don’t tell the world you knew me: if you could not read my emotions and know the secret sorrow I carried in my heart. If you did not learn that, “I’m OK” really meant I did not have the words to express my fears and hurts and that I really could really use a friend. If you could not see beyond the smile I showed the world, if you did not see the sorrow and doubt on the inside, then you did not know me. If you did not look close enough to realize that the smile rarely touched my eyes, you did not know me. My secret grief I carried hidden deep inside and few were privy to that side of me. You never got to know me.
14. Don’t presume to put on a show of caring; if you did not care for me when I was in need of your caring. If you did not value me enough as a friend when I was alive I have no need for your hollow words now. Those who stood by my side during my times of greatest heartache won’t be deceived by your lies and flowery words. There is no need to impress those who know the truth abot the lack of caring you showed me in the living years.
© Photoart by Renate Dundys Marrello
© My journal blog entries and pictures are copyright
You may quote and share if you contact me and ask for permission
Hard copies may not be made
Photoart may be ordered as signed art if you contact me.