What Would You Write in Your Own Obituary?

I was supposed to blog about my ROW80 goals, but when I came across this, I knew writing goals would have to wait.  So I’ll ask the title question again:  if you knew, actually knew, that you were going to die in a few days, what would you write in your obituary?

They used to ask us this questions to get us to think about our goals.  When your life is over, what would you like to have accomplished?  But this is different, and Val Patterson of Utah proved it.

The 59-year-old was dying of lung cancer, and he wrote his own obituary a couple of weeks ago (he died on July 10, 2012).  But it wasn’t the standard life-accomplishments version – he included a few confessions, like the fact that his supposed PhD was actually a clerical error, and that he was the one who stole that motel safe 40 years ago.

It’s a great read – his personality and character shine through, and I think he would have been a great guy to know.  I hope the link to the article stays live for a long time.

So what would I write?  Hmm, I’m not sure I have any deep secrets, but if I do, I don’t think I’m not willing to tell them yet.  Maybe that I HATE housecleaning and I spend way too much time on computer solitaire, but anyone who knows me knows that.  I do like the idea of expressing my love in my obituary, though.

What about you?  What secrets would you tell or what else would you write if you were doing your own obituary?

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7 Responses to What Would You Write in Your Own Obituary?

  1. Fabio Bueno says:

    Oh, I wouldn’t write mine! I’d be too worried about bragging, or, alternatively, I’d sound so humble that it’d look like a plea for sainthood (and it’d probably be :-).
    I’ve read the previous post too, and I’m sorry that the contract didn’t work out. But you’ve endured it and saw a bigger opportunity come out of it. Bravo!
    Fabio Bueno recently posted..4 Tenets of Self-Publishing and 4 Essential ResourcesMy Profile

  2. Hurray, you’re BACK!
    I knew you were on assignment and off the grid, and I’ve been wondering how it was going. Sorry to hear it didn’t work out, but, you remind me of that song: I WILL SURVIVE!
    as for my obit, how about this?

    She tried.

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      “She tried.” Love it! What comes to mind for me is “Never give up, never surrender!” Or maybe it’s the other way ’round.

      Yes, I’m back, but slowly. And what a nice message to come back to – thanks!

  3. Megan Morris says:

    Well, I don’t think I could write my own, and certainly not ready to confess anything yet! Haha…but it is an interesting thought and I enjoyed reading Mr. Patterson’s! Can’t wait to hear about your new project, sounds fun even if the process hasn’t been so far…

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Hi, Megan. For me, I think I’d be too embarrassed to tell the world. See the quotes to use in the comment above!

      New project is coming slowly, and actually on hold for a bit as I go back to my kids’ time travel – I’m pitching it to an agent this weekend. Aack!

  4. I’ve been thinking about this topic since an NPR interview I listened to over the weekend. I don’t have an answer to your great question yet, but I love the thoughts it inspires. Thank you!
    August McLaughlin recently posted..Blog Images Made Easy: Tips From a Non-Graphic ArtistMy Profile

  5. Jennifer Jensen says:

    Here’s the NPR interview with Marilyn Johnson that August listened to (you’ll have to copy and paste): http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5291853

    Johnson’s book, “The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries,” looks like a good read, although maybe not as funny as the self-written obit of Val Patterson. Thanks, August!