Blog #72 What Would You Want Your Obituary to Say About You?

Posted on : 02-06-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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I think the first time this question was posed to me about what I wanted my obituary to say, must have been through one of my coaching circles. Not to get all Harold and Maude on you ( but I actually enjoy reading the obituaries…at least the ones from the city I live in or smaller towns…..There was actually a time about twenty years ago where the Houston Post was courting us to be subscribers and I looked through the obituaries only to learn that a retired professor who had been a very special landlord of ours, had passed. What are the odds?

Anyway, what got me to thinking of this is that a dear friend of mine from my boarding school days’ mom passed away recently and she sent us her obit which was incredible! Wow what a woman. Mary Lou Shirer is her name, by the way, in case you read the Austin American-Statesman. She was one powder-keg of a woman from her early days serving as a physical therapist through the Army Medical Corps during WWII to recreating herself as a successful Realtor in Austin for twenty years. I know two of her children, and they are both equally as amazing as she was as are the grandchildren!

The purpose of my question to you is to get you to thinking about when it is all said and done and you’ve lived the good life, what will be said about you? Will there be any stone left unturned? Is there enough spice peppered throughout your life that you’ll have to really think about how to talk about yourself instead of just saying, “she/he was so nice to everybody (not that there is anything the matter with that) and will be missed by all….”. How do you see yourself today? Do you think people experience who you are the way that you would want them to experience you?

I’m always surprised by how people/friends/family perceive me because many times it is better than I would have thought. What separates really fabulous obituaries (and hence the people for whom they are written) from the others is when the true character of the person is revealed. What a person did or positions they held are somewhat interesting, but I’m much more interested to know how they responded to life, like in Mary Lou’s obit when it said, “Mary Lou would meet people with a big hug, and say, “COME ON IN THE HOUSE”. I know that’s true because I experienced that exact kind of welcome for the first time when I was 16. Put me instantly back into her warmth.

Even today everyone who reads Mary Lou’s obituary is going to get a “re-hug” from the memory of her because the “who” of who she was, was so big.

Who are you and what will be said about you when all is said and done?

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