“By reading these words, you’ve probably figured out that I’ve left this life and am headed to my next destination. I’m looking forward to the journey.”
I found these first lines from a self-written obituary in the local newsletter. I had to reread those sentences before comprehending that, first, someone had managed to write their own obituary, and, second, that person was a former neighbor. I knew that writing your own obituary, if you have that luxury, is something that’s becoming more popular. But it’s still a shock that someone who was dying would have enough composure to celebrate his life.
What kind of person is able to record the details of their life, knowing that these will be their final words? Dan, my old neighbor, had a great sense of humor and a big heart; he was always happy to share stories with me about the history of our small mountain community. He had the wonderful ability of not taking himself too seriously, which comes out loud and clear in the obituary. After Dan wrote in his obit that he got a master’s degree in clinical pharmacology, he added: “I know it’s not as impressive to you academics as a PhD, but it worked for me.”
How do you sum up your life? What do you say about yourself? What do you emphasize and what do you ignore? It seems a tricky endeavor, harder than having your survivors—spouse, children, friend—write your obit after you die. Friends and family might be able to easily list your accomplishments, but only you can emphasize what was most important in your life.Continue reading “Last Words from the Grave”