Continuing Relationships: Living on in Lights
I've been thinking a lot about legacies, and the ways in which people live on. Some legacies are big - a name on a building - or even a street. A charitable organization in their honor. And some are more private; the ways in which they affected us, changed us.
This is going to make me sound like a brat, but as a child I used to get so annoyed at my father's continued instance that I should turn off the light when I would leave a room. I find this especially hilarious now that I'm a dedicated environmentalist, however, back then, I just didn't understand how one person leaving one light on now and again (or with regular frequency...or whatever....) was a big deal. Plus I hadn't yet paid an electric bill.
Lately I've actually been cooking more frequently, and often while I wait for the water to boil or oven to pre-heat, I'll head into another room to work. And every single time, so, so clearly, I hear his voice in my head telling me to turn off the kitchen lights. He says it kindly but firmly - as he always did - and every time I find myself wanting to argue back ("but I'm only leaving the room for like, 10 minutes!"). And then every time I sigh and turn back around and turn off the lights.
It's been almost 6 years since he passed away, and it's not just the past I mourn but also the future that will never exist. There are so many parts of my life he'll never be a part of, so many experiences I'll never get to share with him. But in this one small way, he's still a regular visitor, still guiding me, still pushing me to be more conscientious in what I do and how I live.
Sometimes I'll purposely leave the lights on, just long enough for the opportunity to remember his voice. And then I'll turn them off, for him, and for the planet he loved.