A life dedicated to service...

Week 18: Who’ll write yr obituary?

A friend drew my attention to this obituary in the weekend paper. I’ve copied the text below, omitting the names of relatives and friends but, since this is a public record, leaving the writer’s identity intact. May we all live our illness and dying with eyes and hearts wide open.

Kathryn Ann Gaudry, FCPA, FCGA (nee Senez)
Oct 22, 1955 – May 4, 2017

“Well everyone, I did it. I finally beat the cancer. Too bad I had to die to do it.
I passed in the comfort of and with the eternal love of my beloved husband . . .  and nieces & nephews and cousins.

I’ve had a wonderful life with the amazing good fortune to have had so many deep and enriching friendships. If my life had to be short, I’m so glad it was filled with all of you. Thank you forever to . . . and so many more. I love you all so much.

At my request, there will be no service. Instead, just do what you would do with me, or plant a flower, or plant a tree.”

May I suggest you begin drafting your obituary today. Find paper and pen and write the first line only. Speak from the heart. More will come later. The alternative, I fear, is to leave the task to a loved-one who’ll have plenty on their plate the day you die.

What do you think?

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About the Author
Peter lives in Victoria, BC, where he volunteers in health-care. teaches mindfulness meditation, and offers end-of-life care.
  1. Peter Reply

    hi everyone, i’m off in the morning to visit friends and relatives in scotland and germany. i intend to post en route but — who knows. feel free to post a comment (we’re 2/5 into the one-year-to-live priject). please take good care of yourselves. with palms together. _/|\_

  2. Elanna Reply

    May you have safe and happy travels Peter. We look forward to your posts enroute if they are possible.
    Thank you for undertaking this project and for this idea. Indeed, who better than ourselves to say what we would like said? So tonight, one sentence. As every thing worth doing begins….with a single step or action.

  3. Sandy Reply

    What a moving self-written obit. “I did it…I finally beat cancer…but I had to die to do it…..” !! Though written in plain language, all the key aspects were present -the wretched illness that took her relatively v young life; being surrounded by loved ones at the end; being surrounded by love n joy from friends n family before she got sick; suggestion to opt for activities of renewal of embracing nature instead to remember the author.

  4. Diane Reply

    Obituary writing has been on my mind of late. Not sure why now though I’ve had this thought before. But both my husband and I are well and happy so no feeling of a “rush”. The idea of obituary writing though has been to ask my husband if we might both do some writing for obituary and also for a eulogy (spoken words at a service). But I’m looking to get my husband’s help (now) in writing his obituary as I think it will be one of the hardest things for me to do if he passes first. I hadn’t actually thought it might be helpful to him to have some words from me in advance if I’m the one who dies first. Anyway, thanks for the prompt Peter. I hope that I take some action on it, hopefully even this month if not this day or this week. Good travels back to Scotland & Germany.

  5. Paul B Reply

    Hi Peter. I hope you have a great trip and catch up with all your friends and relatives. Savour every minute.

    Take good care

  6. Alexandra Haschi Reply

    Hard time to make my testament but the feeling afterwardswas was good, I felt lightness and peace of mind. After many departures and funerals of loved ones I struggled a lot with the question about how and where did I want to have my last home..in the country of origin? In the country of adoption? A stable home or a gust of wind?…I let the question sleep in my mind a long time until one day the answer came by itself..and when it came again this sensation ofcalm and peace… Let see what will happen with the obituary, what will arrive..anyway, thank you Peter of this invitation and not only for that..thank you for your warmth, kindness and simplicity. God bless

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