Today we're delighted to welcome Colette McBeth as part of the blog tour for her latest psychological thriller - The Life I Left Behind - sharing her thoughts on what she would like to change in her life and how she'd like to be remembered....
What I’d like to leave behind…
There’s a passage in The Life I Left Behind, one of the few from the after world, where Eve recalls discussing her regrets with the others who are in limbo with her. ‘Mainly it was the mundane preoccupations people would change. I wouldn’t, for instance, have agonised for weeks over which shade of white to paint my kitchen.’
I did wonder when I wrote those lines if Eve was talking directly to me. I’m a sucker for a paint chart. I’ve probably spent an annual salary on those little tester pots. In truth, it’s unlikely I’ll stop. But if Eve was talking to me she should know I haven’t ignored her completely. Writing her made me realise how fragile life is, that we don’t get to choose the moment we’ll go. If she’s taught me anything it’s how to get things in perspective; the unfinished interior projects, the laundry pile, the kids dressing like they’ve been shopping blindfolded at TK Maxx. They don’t matter. Not really.
If you allow them to, and I often do, there are millions of trivial worries that can consume you. Sometimes my head feels like one throbbing, ever changing to -do list. So in Eve’s honour I’m trying to care less about them because if I go what I’d like to leave behind is this; a live well lived. Not a list ticked off. I want to free up space in my head to enjoy the moment, allow my children one last kick of the ball in the park and silence the ticking clock in my head that screams ‘It’s almost tea time, we’ve got to go home.’ I don’t want to lose sleep about school costumes, or present I’ve forgotten to send. Finding time for a friend, making her laugh, smiling at a stranger in the street, talking to an old lady because I might be the only person she’ll talk to all day, all week, that’s what matters.
I’ve often thought I’d like to leave behind letters to my children, doling out sage advice when they come of age. If I was organised I’d write them now, tell them how much I love them, tell the boys to remember to change their clothes occasionally, that deodorant doesn’t count if you haven’t washed, that even when their heart is broken it will repair. Tell my daughter she is beautiful, that she can do anything she wants, urge her to stand out, not follow, that when she’s older she doesn’t have to wax everywhere if she doesn’t want to.
But knowing me I’ll never get around to it. So instead I’ll try to change a little bit every day. Because if I do go, inconveniently and before my time, that way they might remember me not as an angry clock watcher, cajoling them to get in the bath, get out of the bath, do their homework, go to sleep. They might remember me as someone who loved life enough not to give a shit. And they might do the same.