Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I read obituaries. Have been for quite a few years now. It started when I was still working for my former employer and former board members and business associates started passing away. Then friends and parents of friends began passing; people of note in the City, all creating a reason to check the obits on a regular basis in order to stay on top of what was happening, just as you would the business section or the “around the town” section.

When I read the obituaries I tend to focus on the ages; Anna P, age 90; Robert Jr., age 52; Louis J., age 69. However, not all obits include ages. Sometimes you can extrapolate from the information included: Robert, beloved husband of 47 years; Wilma, beloved wife of 55 years; Jacqueline, survived by 16 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren – Whew!

Some list illnesses, some talk of sudden or tragic circumstances. Some are simple; some elaborate on the life of the person – I guess if you're really special you get a separate billing at the end of the regular death notices. When our dear friend and former boss passed, the obit was a simple two/three line heartfelt statement written by his children.

Last year when I was diagnosed with another tumor I started to look at the obituaries differently. I began to focus on those that died in their 50's and 60's, with dread. Since my last diagnosis my view has changed yet again. I actually find comfort in reading about those who have died in their 50's. I should tell you that my mantra is 5-years with mets (metastatic disease), which I created after talking to a woman who is still alive 4-years after being diagnosed with liver metastases. I really am focusing on living... reading obits is just some weird habit I got into. I tell myself I shouldn't read them, but can't seem to stop.

Some of you may remember those old “motivational” training programs where you were asked to think about or write your obituary; this in an attempt to stimulate you into action. By thinking about what you wanted people to say about you when you are dead, you would be incented to make some significant changes in your life – like taking up volunteer work; getting to the head of your class; running for office.

I am wondering if I should write my own obituary or leave it to my loved ones. I am so controlling, I'll probably write my own.

Have you thought about your obituary and how you would like it to read? It's not too late to change it - to start having fun, to break out of old routines, to start giving back.

Today was a wonderful day - just because we were alive.

1 comment:

gpcmouse said...

Stop reading obits (I do too, particularly the local Main Line times) and start looking for a publisher. You have a tremendous gift for saying what we are all doing and feeling. Something that should not be limited to this small group of readers but the whole world!! Inspriational ? - no doubt - heartfelt - absolutely!!