Both of my grandfathers died decades ago. One I knew very well and the other is just a hazy image floating around in the memory of a five year old boy. Both men did great things with their lives. They traveled across the ocean as immigrant children with no money and became successful. One owned a grocery store, and the other became the mayor of a small town for over 30 years.
Yet, when they died, their past died with them. Sure, they are remembered by older family members and friends, but most of them have passed away now. All of those wonderful stories or adventures told over dinner or a glass of wine are now lost forever. All that’s left are a few black and white photos with cryptic captions on the back.
As I sit here entering another phase of my own life, I wonder too if I’ll be remembered in years to come. Will my memories fade as friends and family move on? Probably. So very few of us are blessed with accomplishing something so wonderful or tragic that we make our way into the history books. Sure we’ll have Facebook accounts that live on for a few years and maybe even an obituary tucked into a photo album but, for the most part, we’ll all fade away like the colors of a painted barn.
So what are we to do with such a bleak destiny ahead of us? It’s one of life’s mysteries and I definitely don’t know the answer to that one. But I say there is something worse than being forgotten, and that’s never being known. Therefore, live each day to its fullest and share it with everyone and anyone near you. That’s the best we can do as humans.
It’s better to have been known and forgotten than to have never been known at all.