Beside the green chair, where she sits in solitude overlooking the garden that calls for her presence, is a bookshelf which holds her collection of sacred texts: her Girl Scout Handbook; an autographed copy of Where the Red Fern Grows; a collection of Anne Sexton’s poetry – a graduation gift from her favorite English teacher in high school. This bookshelf holds a collection for recovery, Shakespeare’s Complete Works and a photo album from a previous life.
Intentionally small, when she gets around to dusting and re-shelving, she’ll sort through her titles and part with one or two: generally to make room for new editions that better feed her soul. “Should someone write my eulogy based on the titles on these shelves,” she thought, “it might reflect an interesting course.”
What was she reading at the time of her departure? What was the first book she ever read? What title had the most influence on her life as an adolescent? As a mom; a daughter; a friend? What title made her laugh? Made her stretch? Pissed her off?
What if, when we die, our friends and family gather at our bookshelves as a way of celebrating our efforts at navigating this lifetime and select one as a token of their loved one? Which books would we will to each other and why?
She knew that the words of others were the balms and salves that helped her heal and traverse a common journey. Perhaps some of her own writing should be archived here. The rest, she would take with her. Her ashes mixed with the ashes of her journals - scattered somewhere she loved to be - on a favorite river, probably.