Terry Pratchett created a series of books set in the Discworld, a place I love to visit whenever I can. Within the mystical confines of this series I can escape to another world. A world that is not spherical as ours is (unless you are a “flat earther”) but one that is beautifully flat. It lies upon the back of four elephants, who in turn stand upon the back of the Great A’Tuin, who is an enormous star turtle. To ensure that the inhabitants don’t fall over the precipice of the earths perimeter edge the Discworld has a boundary edge that is a waterfall that “cascades endlessly into space“.
There are many fabulous characters within the Discworld and it is difficult to choose just one favourite but if pushed I would have to say my ultimate favourite character is DEATH. It was a tough call between DEATH, the witches ~ who are fantastic and the one and only keeper of law and order Vimes.
So why DEATH? I think I would like DEATH to be my friend if he were real. He has a dry sense of humour and a penchant for curry and cats. When he speaks in the books his words are written in capital letters ~ I find when I read the words I can hear a rich deep powerful voice that is neither quiet or loud but somehow makes you stop and listen as the hairs on the nape of your neck start to prickle.
Death doesn’t just manifest, instead he travels on the back of a white horse called Binky. Back in his house, which is decorated in various shades of black as DEATH can’t create anything in colour, is his manservant called Albert. Albert used to be a wizard and is alive so long as he stays within the confines of DEATHS home. If he leaves the few remaining grains of time in the Hourglass of his Lifetimer would fall, hence bringing forth his death. However whilst living in DEATHS abode he is able to live indefinitely for the sand in his Lifetimer stays magically static while he is there.
The Lifetimer hourglasses of all the folk living on the Discworld are held in a special room in DEATHS house. In another room books are held which magically write the lives of the living ~ only finishing as the last grain of time runs through into the base of their Lifetimers hourglass.
When DEATH decided to take on an apprentice, the father of the boy he chose asked where DEATH was based, he replied “FROM THE UTTERMOST DEPTHS OF THE SEA TO THE HEIGHTS WHERE EVEN THE EAGLE MAY NOT GO” (Mort ~ Terry Pratchett)
DEATH appears as a hooded cloaked skeleton to those whose souls he collects, when they look at him they may see deep within his eye sockets are two very small blue stars, which on occasion can twinkle. For those who DEATH comes into contact with but are not due to die he appears as a rather tall skinny man with indefinable features, their interaction with him forgotten almost immediately after the interlude has passed.
Why am I babbling on about Lifetimers?
I had a “fall”, one which left me shaken, bruised and sore. I somehow fell down the last 5 stairs and instead of stepping firmly down onto the hall floor I found myself falling forwards landing on all fours then banging my left temple hard against the lounge door frame, which is directly in front of the stairs.
Since my fall I am very wobbly, I am walking very carefully and trying to be less clumsy but my balance is a bit off. I am exceptionally lucky to have nothing broken considering how heavily I fell.
It made me reconsider my thought process about living with chronic illness, mortality and my life choices. What will I leave behind when I die? Will I leave good memories and a positive legacy?
When I think of legacy I don’t think of it as leaving property, jewellery, business or cherished items. I think of it more as how I have touched people’s lives, have I somehow given them a small piece of me that they will carry forward into future generations.
I found a website here, which says..
Leave a Legacy – Questions to Ask Yourself
These 10 questions will help you to identify the legacy that you wish you leave:
1. What do you want your life to stand for?
2. How do you want to be remembered by your family and friends?
3. What will those beyond your circle of family and friends remember you for?
4. What kind of impact do you want to have on your community?
5. How will the world be a better place because you were in it?
6. What contributions do you want to make to your field?
7. Whose lives will you have touched?
8. What lessons would you like to pass on to future generations?
9. What do you want to leave behind?
10. How can you serve?
Tough questions to answer, well for me any way.
So number 1 ~ what do I want my life to stand for? I have no clue, perhaps that I lived my life to the best of my ability. That it is important to take care of those around you, to be aware of those who need your help and support. To not expect any reward for your actions because if you do then you aren’t doing it for the right reason. I think it is really important to evaluate your life at regular intervals and look to see what you can do better. Life is about challenging yourself to push yourself just that little bit more to see how far you can go. To accept new opportunities and learn from them. Most importantly you must learn to love yourself before you can expect others to love you. Having that awareness of yourself enables you to then help others more effectively.
Moving onto number 2, friends and family ~ I know how they will remember me, or at least I think I do. That I am emotional, sometimes irrational, impatient, I love emphatically, laugh ridiculously, mostly at bizarre things that many others don’t find funny at all. I am fiercely protective of those I love and will give them the clothes off my back and anything else at hand that may help them. Mostly, I hope I will be remembered for tenacity, strength, endurance, empathy and love ~ with a side of weirdness thrown in.
Now to 3, what will those beyond your circle of family and friends remember you for? I have no idea what other people really think of me, I have lost touch with almost all of my friends from my youth and I have made very few new friends due to health issues limiting social activity. Many of my friends are within the virtual forum on social media and I think they would remember me for my blogs, my photos and my desire to do more and be more, not just for myself but for others too. I would hope they thought I had a sense of humour and a desire to raise awareness and fight for those who are unable to fight for themselves.
I know number 4 is that I have no impact on my local community ~ I don’t really know how to change that, so far all I can think of is that I sign petitions against changes deemed detrimental to our community, I bake cakes for the homeless and try to help the homeless whenever possible. That isn’t really impacting on the local community as such and to be honest that is the way I like it. I moved from a village where everyone knew who I was, who my parents were and whenever I went to the loo! Our move to Derby was to get away from that, to be more anonymous, where no one knew us and where we could just be. I would much rather do random acts of kindness locally than be remembered for anything specific within our community.
Onto 5, How will the world be a better place because you were in it? I have no idea. The world will keep on turning despite my death when it occurs ~ children are born and people die every day ~ some leave a legacy that generations will remember but that’s not me. I would like to think that my family think that the world is better with me in it but as for the bigger picture, no ~ the world is no better or worse for me being in it.
6, what contributions do you want to make in your field? What field? I have no field? I just have me, my home, my family, my dogs, blog and camera. I hope to leave many photos of my family behind and me with them to keep myself alive in their memory when I die. I suppose my “field” is my life and my contributions are to my family.
Thinking about whose lives will I have touched when I die is simple, just my family, my very close friends and my dogs. I love unconditionally and fight fiercely for those I love, I’m a little on the weird ticket and am a control freak. Those who know me will remember my love and humour. I hope they will keep the weird going along with the love and protectiveness for those close to them.
What lessons would you like to pass on to future generations? Number 8 has made me think long and hard. I would hope the future generations of our family would be open to all genders and sexuality. To not judge by appearances, a persons exterior does not define who they are. To help others whenever they can, who knows you may need help yourself at some point in your life. That swearing is a great way to blow off steam and in my eyes is perfectly acceptable as long as they also have a great vocabulary alongside it to prove to others when challenged that they have a brain and it is other folks perceptions that need examining regarding swearing. That it is essential to know how to “ice skate” on a laminate floor whilst wearing socks and singing at the top of your voice. Mostly that being labelled as weird or different is not insulting, it means you are unique. It is important to follow your gut, not the direction of others, don’t be swayed if you are not comfortable with something. Have the courage of your convictions, even if it makes you different from the others. To love yourself, seriously to really learn to honestly love yourself, don’t follow the trends, be healthy, be confident and be you, whatever shape or size that may be.
Onto 9, what do I want to leave behind ~ nothing really, just memories, photos and that I loved fiercely and lived fully and honestly. I don’t want a grave, a plaque ~ nothing that shows where my remains are. I just want to leave happy memories and nothing more.
The final question is the best one ~ how can I serve? I will serve by helping others whenever I can. I am aiming to do volunteer work within my energy restrictions for the local community and homeless. To be the best mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend I can possibly be. To get up each day and navigate what life decides to throw in my direction the best way I possibly can. As I age I am aware of my mortality, no one knows when they will die, it could be today, tomorrow, next month or not for several years to come. I want to enjoy my photography, to hell with any critics, I don’t care if it’s not brilliant, I enjoy it and it makes me relax.
As the saying goes, never say never ~ how true that is, who knows what tomorrow will bring.
Talking about photography and legacy, I took my camera for a walk around the garden and also took a trip with youngest daughter to Ripley for a short while. I thought I would share them with you and hope you enjoy them. The last set is of my dogs ~ life is always significantly better when you have pets..