The Last Will and Testament of Mary Andrews
I hesitate to write what I will someday no longer be able to say.
A writer always wishes to live on through their words,
for even though their lives and loves will pass away,
their words will not pass away.
Like Poe, Frost, or Dickinson,
they seek to achieve everlasting life through their good works.
Faith will help me move on,
even while all the inspiration that has yet to be revealed
tries to get me to hold on.
I write to my husband John, a letter—
trying to tell him a lifetime’s worth in a thousand words—
the length of flash fiction;
for when I got the diagnosis,
it was like my life was over in a flash.
I ask him to take care of golden Katja,
who was one of the best parts of myself
I brought into the marriage.
Read to our daughter every day that I am not with her:
the stories I loved,
the stories I have written,
the stories that have yet to be written.
Teach Lara how to make cabbage rolls,
fill the house with the smell of them,
for it will be then that you can close your eyes
and just imagine.
Give her the list of the books I loved,
for through them,
perhaps even loving what I loved,
she will come to know me.
There is a box containing ten books—
a book for each for my closest friends.
for I hope that the words of others’
I pass on…
Whatever loose ends there are,
tie them up in a pretty little bow.
Keep up my blog for me:
Every week, post one of my thousand and one poems,
in the sequence I describe.
By doing that, you will have extended my life on this earth
another twenty years.
By then, I will have grown vague in your mind,
but my words will be fresh as daisies in the springtime.
Publish all of my books online for the price of a coffee,
so that they may never wither away,
so that they have a chance someday
to become known as something great.
Leave my Facebook page open,
for someday, I may leave a message for you,
and it will be as if I am alive.
In a safe deposit box,
paid up for eighteen years,
there is a batch of letters tied with a lavender ribbon—
a letter for Lara,
every year on her birthday.
A P.S., I Love You type of thing.
Every year, every letter,
will reveal a new memory
she didn’t know we shared.
There will be a DVD for each one,
and just maybe,
she will remember for real.
I would spread them out forever if I could.
I would have recorded more memories had I known.
Because of you,
people will someday know my name.
You are my hands, my eyes,
my heart, my voice,
my intercessor on Earth.
I ask all of this from you because I am not ready to let go of this life,
for the day will come that all those who remembered me
will be gone,
and all that will be left are my words on a page,
on a screen,
floating like stars across the blogosphere—
tiny pinpricks of light shining across the virtual globe.
When the summer rains come down,
think of them as my tears,
baptizing you with my blessing to live—
to finish what we started together:
When it is lightning,
think of me playing with fireworks
with the sister I never got to know.
When it thunders,
think of me atop my old horse, Seccy—
of the happy reunion we must have had,
the winds of Heaven blowing through our manes
as we jump over the rainbows and
race through the crowds—
a fantastic chariot race,
an exhilarating steeplechase.
When the sun shines on you,
think of my warmth,
and the shade,
both covering you completely.
When you smell the gardenias,
and taste the strawberries that grow
around the white arbor in our garden,
know that I have just been there.
You couldn’t quite catch me,
but I will be near,
just beyond the trellis,
to that place where the woodbine twineth.
And if you ever do fall in love again,
and I so hesitate to say,
for I am not losing you,
you are losing me…
Put my picture away
for only you to see.
The flowers on my grave
need only be freshened once a year,
for even the most important deaths,
are remembered but once a year,
and am I not so much lesser than that?
Someday, Lara will be grown,
and I will become real to you all over again.
She will be standing under the lattice,
the sunlight reflecting off of her strawberry blond head,
so like mine.
Her face will be shadowed.
She will be at the very age I was when I passed away,
and you will be struck with the awe and wonder
that is my greatest legacy.
For that second,
you will be given a glimpse back in time.
I have seen in my dream what it will take you years to see.
It was the last gift God gave me.
She will not remember,
but she will see
through our lovely technology,
how much I did love her.
She will know that she brought us back together,
that we tried for her,
and stayed for ourselves.
I am so happy now,
when I think I won’t ever really be gone—
just simply somewhere else
in another dimension,
where time flows in a different direction.