I Still Am
BY Tracy Ahrens
PUBLISHED May 17, 2017
Editor’s Note: This piece was submitted by a contributing writer and does not represent the views of CURE Media Group.
To the people who said, "I just want to remember you the way you were," when you do this “remembering,” chances are you hear my laugh, my wit and surprising sense of humor. Maybe it includes musical notes I shared when I was playing piccolo in municipal band, fife in fife and drums corps, or flute or hand bells in church. You may visualize me drinking hot tea, parachuting, canoeing, kayaking or taking long walks in the woods or on park trails. You may remember riding my bike many miles, fly fishing in my waders, drawing at my art table, bowling uniquely straight rolls along the gutter’s edge to pick up spares or flying kites together (I kept two in my car trunk).
Imagine my long blonde hair or how I looked in shorts or jeans, or my face and clothes filthy from working in the yard and gardens. You may recall me running around in a flurry organizing a fundraising event for a humane organization. For the men I've been close to, you may call to mind my smooth skin and slender frame once noted as "perfect.” If we shared intimacy, you may reminiscence that "the sex was great,” that I liked to touch, and if I looked into your eyes I could read your soul. Maybe you think about the smiley faces I drew for you on your bathroom mirror, pieces of paper, the walls or your skin while sleeping. Bring to mind when I spotted little things, like tiny feathers or dropped coins settled in old soil. You may recollect my love of creatures, stopping to pet every dog or cat I met, picking up worms from sidewalks after heavy rain, or scooping up a spider or fly from inside the house to relocate it outside. Hold dear my philosophical talks that made you think, or goofy banter that made you laugh so hard your face hurt. Hear my singing when I was focused on cleaning my house inside. See me with a pen in hand, writing thoughts on any piece of paper I could find.
You may recant tears I cried when life hit me hard, or how hard I fought to get back up. Maybe it's my writings that moved your soul, or you were amazed at my ability to draw something detailed.
To those who say, "I just want to remember you the way you were,” the way I was is the way I still am. The interior is the same (with added chapters), the cover is updated from the craftsmanship of living. I may be thinner and my hair is now short and dark. I may have bags under my eyes from fatigue. I may move slower and moan a bit when doing so because of chemotherapy side effects. I may cry easier because I know the frailty of life and I am tired from fighting alone. The cover may be different, but the text is the same. I still feel. I still think. I still love. I still create. I am a classic, among forgotten books set on a shelf with fondness. Remember, classics guided and formed us. To those who dove in and read me voraciously, to those who took time and made notes in the margins, to those who tossed me in a corner or placed me high on a shelf to pull out and revisit "someday,” to those who say, "I just want to remember you the way you were" … look up. I am calling for you to hold this classic and savor it once again. I am still on the shelf. Weathered, timeless. I still am.