I think of those I admire most and what I love best about them. I want those to be the things remembered about me.

My apologies to all of you who have sat aimlessly the last two Friday mornings because I haven’t been here to entertain you. I was asked by several people this past week if I had been let go, but I assure you that I haven’t gotten that memo just yet. It’s just been a few weeks of busy and sad and many moments of sitting down with my laptop open only to sit there staring at that blinking cursor for hours and never being able to get what was swirling around in my head to translate into written word.

A little over a year ago a dear friend messaged me to tell me her sweet momma had brain cancer. In the chaos and fear in the hours following her diagnosis, Carol’s concern was letting me know before I heard it anywhere else. She made sure Kim told me personally. And after fighting valiantly, just a few weeks ago one of the sweetest ladies I have ever had the pleasure of knowing got her healing as she slipped from here to Heaven. You selfishly mourn the loss, but at the same time, you rejoice because she’s whole and happy and well now. It’s a bittersweet time.

Nearly two weeks ago we got word that Paul’s aunt Sharon, who had been stolen away by Alzheimer’s, would probably pass within 48 hours. We had plans to go out of town that weekend and every time my phone went off while we were gone, I just knew it was word from the family. Word didn’t come all weekend – just proof that even in her passing, she did it on her own terms and did it as determinedly as she lived life. Sadly, though, in the meantime a man I had known my entire life, Ron Clapp, passed. He was the closest thing to a godfather this little Baptist girl could have. Growing up, Sis and I spent just about as much time at Ronnie and JoJo’s house as we did at our own and he was a very integral part of my upbringing. Sharon passed just hours after Ron’s funeral. I attended two visitations and two funerals in four days.

I spent over an hour at my friend Kim’s house talking about her momma and what a powerhouse she was. This past week I spent hours sitting at tables in church fellowship halls, eating potluck provided by good church people, visiting with old friends, my high school principal, Paul’s cousins, and lots and lots of other family. It may sound cliché, but family really isn’t about blood. I am intertwined in the Clapp family by nary a single drop of blood, but they are mine just the same. By choice and by marriage, and most importantly by love.

Listening to eulogies and watching slide shows, smiling at the pictures, remembering how they were “back then” and seeing the love they had toward their kids and grandkids, moments captured years ago on film and more recently in digital, amidst the tears I couldn’t help but think about my own legacy. Will I be remembered as kind? Strong? Loving? Funny? Smart, resolute, utterly crazy, helpful, tender...the list could go on and on. I think of those I admire most and what I love best about them. I want those to be the things remembered about me. “She brought me cookies when I was having a bad week,” and “She sent me a card when Mom passed,” and “She could always make me laugh.” I want to leave behind – and be worthy of – a legacy of love and faith just as my Nana and Memaw and Papa and so many more have. I want to show my kids and grandkids that life is better when you go out of your way to care. I want to be more like my mom, the woman who was pulling the ingredients for sheetcake down out of the cabinet before she even hung up the phone with JoJo the day Ron passed.

I want my story to be one of laughter and kindness, of chocolate chip cookies and storybooks, of snuggles and belly laughs, of time spent and tears shed, of advice and hugs…and mostly, love.

Born a semi-diva and married to a redneck, through the magic of osmosis or just because of a serious lack of sophistication over the years, Kristin Hoover has found a balance of the two that makes her what she is today.