So I'm going to be a subject for this study where blood is being drawn for a whole bunch of experiments on specific genes where the subjects are people of color. One part of the consent form was intriguing, since it states that my white blood cells could become "immortalized" in order to run potentially other experiments in the future on the impact of drugs on different folks of color.
Given that it'll be six years since my mom passed away this coming Saturday, it's got me thinking about mortality, "immortality", and what people remember most about each other, particularly when someone's died. If one reads my old blog postings, the first couple years were really focused on responding to my mom's death and seeing how that's changed and evolved as the years went by. Considering it's been 6 years since my mom passed, there are times when it feels like it just happened a few days ago--and there are times when it felt like an eternity. Looking back, I do appreciate my mom for who she was...and I've accepted that she wasn't perfect.
I do remember that one of her obsessions was that she wanted people to remember her, usually based on the accomplishments that my sister and I did (or didn't do). I guess it's pretty normal for people to do that, but it felt growing up that she really only focused on us just so that people would look at her positively. Now I know different.
What is immortality, anyway? is it to be remembered by everybody for one thing that one does, that makes an impact? Is it to be fondly remembered or to be absolutely hated? Is it being known as a bunch of cells that are artificially kept alive to reproduce, even when the person itself no longer exists?
For me--for now, the most satisfying answer is to know that I've affected the people that I care and love for in one way or another. That in one short part of his or her life, that I cared for someone as much as he or she did for me. Looking at the bulk of my friends and family, especially the ones that I've kept in touch with--or re-established contact with, it's amazing to me how many people I know who care enough to at least maintain contact with me. Of course, the most important and closest people are those who I can pick up and maintain a relationship with, even when it's been years, or even decades, since we physically saw each other, and yet when we talk, the years melt away, and there's no awkwardness. I'm glad that I can say that I have a few friends who are like that.
I think if anything, sociology taught me that it's very rare that one person can change the entire world--but it's very easy for one person to change the world around him or her.
I sometimes wonder if my mom ever realized that.