What Will Your Obituary Say About You?

What will your obituary say about you? What do you want your obituary to say about you? This is certainly something to think about before the time comes.

What will your obituary say about you?

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not meant to be a morbid subject. This is meant to be an assignment to get you thinking. What do you want to be remembered for….years from now ( many, many years; if you are lucky) when you pass on and someone has to buy you a tombstone and write your eulogy or obituary?

What a great question though.  Are you showing up everyday the way you want to be remembered? I know for a fact that I am probably not. I certainly have some changes to make in order to live how I want to be remembered.

I have been to funerals, where when the eulogy is read you can almost feel people rolling their eyes. I have heard ‘ this is fucking bullshit’ muttered under someone’s breath. ( true story!)  Nice kind and flowery words, but we all know that person did not live up to them. If this person loved life and his family so much…why did he get drunk and slap his wife around and swear at the kids?

I don’t know about you… but I do not want anyone rolling their eyes when my eulogy is read. I do not want the writer of it to have to lie either.

I don’t want to be laying in my casket muttering ‘ this is fucking bullshit’ under my breath.

 I do not want the family to have to struggle with what to write as not to make me sound like a cranky, bitchy, moody, cantankerous old woman. Not that I think I am really like that (all of the time)… but you know, going back to other eulogies about other people that I have heard and obituaries that I have read.

An honest eulogy may start like this.

Thanks for coming everyone. Today we are here to mourn a life wasted on to much drama, to much insecurity, and to many frown lines. Despite living a life many only dream of, she wasted it complaining and found a way to make it way harder than it ever needed to be…. “

I could go on. But no, I think I really want to change up the rest of my obituary.

I do not want to be remembered for never wearing a bathing suit because I always felt too fat. Who cares… really, this is just plain old silliness. Be as fit and healthy as you feel you want to be and then don that bathing suit and jump in the pool, or the ocean! You want to be remembered for your love of the beach and the memories that are made there.

If you are one of those people who are blessed with a beautiful, society approved body, that you love to show off in a bikini, it is also nice to be remembered as a kind and compassionate person. A person who would never make fun of anyone else, their situation, their body, their home, their car or their status in life.

I do not want to be remembered for never using my good dishes that belonged to many generations of women before me, who also never used them. Be careful with them, and treat them as very special items. But use those depression glass plates and eat cookies on them and have a tea party with the  little person you intend to hand them down too… so that she hears the stories that go with the dishes and understands their value. After all, you want your loved ones to know that you valued family traditions and you want to share these memories and stories with them.

I do not want to be remembered for being the mom/gramma who didn’t allow silliness in the house. Ok, not all silliness all of the time. After all, you want to be remembered as someone who could behave sometimes, and was a voice of reason, but was also the master of the tickle fight.

I don’t want to be remembered as the Gramma who did not use the pretty homemade soaps her 8 year granddaughter made her for Christmas. Use them  and tell her how much you loved them. I guarantee she will you make more, and she will remember that you were the person who always loved what she made and encouraged her creativity.

I don’t want to be remembered for being a clean freak. Oh wait… that’s really not a bad thing, so maybe you do!  You  want to be remembered as someone who took pride in her home and belongings, but never yelled at someone for accidentally wearing  muddy boots to the bathroom. You also let them eat chips in your bed. Those are good eulogy stories.

I don’t want to be remembered as the person that held grudges for years….so long in fact that I didn’t even remember what made me mad at someone in the first place. This may be on of those instances where being stubborn is not a good thing. In an ideal world you will have all the fences mended before your eulogy is ever written.

I don’t want to be remembered as one who never took care of herself and left the world way to soon. So, eat healthy, exercise, stay a healthy weight, monitor your blood pressure, throw out the cigarettes, limit the booze, get off the couch and you instantly cut your risk of a deadly disease by at least 50%. Take care of yourself, so that you are healthy enough to get out there and make many happy memories.

I don’t ever want to be remembered as the person who did not have time for those she loved. Not now.. maybe later. After. Maybe next time. Next week….. Make the time now! We are all running out of time everyday. Include those you love in what you are doing and in your life. No… you cant always bring them to work or volunteer activities with you. Yes, there are things that need to done now.  But make sure you are remembered for making time for others, involving them as much as you could, and teaching  them why you are so passionate about what is taking your time.

I don’t want to be remembered for being someone who didn’t do anything with my life, besides watching a lot of TV and gossiping with my friends. Go out and find what sparks you. Find that job that makes you happy. Do volunteer work that fulfills you. Take classes, keep learning and expand your mind. Be a positive person and inspire those around you. Be remembered for all the good you do and the good you have brought to the world around you.

I really do not want to be remembered as the cranky, bitchy, moody, cantankerous old woman. I think these women ( or men) are cranky, bitchy, moody, cantankerous and old because they didn’t spend enough time finding joy in every day. They didn’t spend enough time with those they loved, they didn’t mend fences, they didn’t look after their health and maybe they just didn’t play on the beach enough. They lived a life without purpose and without passion. You really do not want to be that person.

Oddly enough in writing this… not once did money come up. Not once did I want to be remembered for how much money I made ( or didn’t make). Although if it does come up in my obituary I imagine it will read something like this…

“She died a very rich woman ….and left it all to her cats. They will decide where the money goes”

Just kidding…we all know that I spend every dime I make and a lot of the dimes my husband makes on gardens, flowers, cameras and concert tickets. But my point is money is great, but it is the kind of person you were is what you are remembered for.

So what about you…. are you going to rewrite your obituary and live a life that your loved ones will be proud to write about in your eulogy?  I know I am.

I want to be remembered as someone who loved those around her, was happy, fun, helpful, adventurous, and liked to learn new things. Someone who always took too many pictures, was always in the garden, liked to make pretty things and made the best chocolate chip cookies around.

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. These are the important things. I made a decision quite early in my life to keep in the forefront of my mind the things that would be important to me on my deathbed; being a good person as best I can most of the time, making positive impacts on others lives, being true to myself no matter what etc. I’m not perfect in following my own dictates all the time but I think perhaps my study of Buddhism led me to this as there is the constant meditation on impermanence and death as a reality. Of course Buddhism has afterlives of a kind but they are not like the ones most Westerners imagine where we go off to meet grandma and grandpa and sit on clouds with the angels (using a child’s understanding). The focus is on the now, not on a possible eternity of a similar or better kind of life. I’m not myself a Buddhist but the study of it in my early 20’s really changed my perspective. Whatever we believe this life on earth is impermanent and we don’t want to have regrets and most of us would like those who do remember us to genuinely remember us fondly without any internal conflicts. I cannot imagine the pain of going to your deathbed and knowing you had led a false life or a life that did not in anyway fit your expectations or values. That must cause some very intense pain.

    Beautiful and well written post Michele 🙂 <3

    1. Thanks for always reading! a conversation got my mind spinning on this the other day. A friend mentioned now that she was middle age she wondered what was left, what hadn’t she done, and what would she be remembered for. We decided we didn’t want to be remembered for whining, complaining and not living our lives to the fullest while we still have time.

  2. Thanks! This was a good start to the day. It reminds me to prioritize the things that are important to me, not important to the world. Today, I’m going to focus on joy, beauty and peace.

  3. I like the part about the dishes. I work in a vintage shop and continually get old ladies in that, ” Oh, I have a china cabinet full of dishes that I never use.” to wish I reply, “Well just so you know, they are coming to a shop like this when you die so use them. Even if it is just to put your peanut butter and jelly sandwich on. Who cares if they get cracked or crazed. They are yours, enjoy them.”
    It’s funny how we put so much energy into stuff. Your post is a good reminder to enjoy our lives. I for one, couldn’t care less what they say about me when I am dead, because, well, I’ll be dead! 😉
    Diana Frajman recently posted…3 Tips To Help You Stand In Your Own PowerMy Profile

  4. This was just perfect – I actually work with a woman (who is the wife of a surgeon and has the perfect life – on the surface) who’s obituary could start with the exact words you used in your honest eulogy opening para – how completely sad is that? I believe we all create our own stories and I’m with you on wanting to leave a story behind that is full of smiles and kindness and I want my children to have no trouble at all with coming up with something nice to say about me. Great post x
    Leanne | cresting the hill
    Leanne recently posted…The A-Z Challenge ~ Why Midlife’s Fabulous ~ Crazy Cat PeopleMy Profile

    1. It is sad…when we just don’t recognize all the good, and we are so busy complaining that we miss all the good stuff. There is no time for anything other than good stuff!

  5. It started as my little blog amusement but I’ve come to realize my summation of legacy hits on a real truth. It goes like this: The legacy we leave our kids (and grandkids) comes in three parts. One is the material goods we leave them. Two is our values and what we did with our lives. Three is clean closets. Of course it’s number two that is really important and relates to what you are addressing: how we want to be remembered. (But it’s also not a bad idea to clear out all your junk so your kids and grandkids don’t have to sift through it when you’re gone.)

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