I think that this question is actually very diverse. I wonder if it means in the immediate sense, or in the long-term sense. Unfortunately, I think that one of the terrible curses of departing this life is that over time your personality is forgotten by the huge majority of people. Really, by the time most people face their finality they are immortalized almost exclusively by who they married and any children they bore. I think it would be fantastic if there were more tombstones with snapshots like “she had the best laugh anyone had ever heard”, or, “he once ran a five minute mile”. Those are the things that make a person unique.
As for me, I would like to be remembered for being a good sibling and daughter, rather than wife or mother. But really, I’d like to be immortalized more by what I contribute to the world. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I sincerely hope that when I die there are printed volumes with my name on that live on far longer than I do. Of course it’s an idealistic wish, but then so is wishing to be remembered as a loving wife or a caring mother.
As for the people around me, I hope they remember me for how I really am, rather than immortalize me in some airbrushed version of myself. I hope they put that my rule for life was “ABCD: Anything But Chardonnay, Darling” (taught to me by my Aunty when I was fifteen), or that my favourite vegetable was parsnips. Something fun. I think that truly more people would stop and examine tombstones if they contained actual unique information about the bereaved. Let’s face it, a stone that read “He really thought that “Avatar” was overrated” would stick in a memory and give a truer representation of a person than some over-used phrase.
Ok, maybe I’m on my own on this one, I don’t know. I’m fortunate enough to have never been in the position of burying anyone that I was in a decision making position regarding their immortal representation. However, my husband says he wants the song “Prop me up beside the jukebox” at his funeral, and I intend to honor that wish, even if by the time he precedes me into the earth he is ninety years old and a loyal grandfather.