I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

Yesterday I did my weekly cruise ship book talk. Afterwards, while I was signing copies of Find The Good (Holland America Line buys my books from The Babbling Book store on Main St., and re-sells them on the ship, something we worked out before I agreed to go onboard.) Anyway, a woman came up to me and said she appreciated my reading and point of view, and then she teared up, and shared how her mother had died young, 46 or 47 she said,  and that it took years for her to grieve. She said she didn’t cry for her mother, her loss really, until she attended another woman’s funeral about a decade later, who happened to be her mother’s age too. That obituary was read as a eulogy, and when the officiant noted the deceased “liked to play bingo,” she said she broke down and sobbed like she never had before for her mother. 

I asked if her mother had been a bingo player, and she said no– 

 “But I swore right then that I would make something special of my life, so that when I died the best they could say about me would never be ‘she liked to play bingo’– and I have. I have been writing my imaginary obituary ever since that funeral, and making sure it is full and meaningful.”