Monday, May 16, 2011


Did you ever think about your obituary? No really, did you? How will people remember you? How do you want them to remember you? I read the obits. Really I just skim them, checking to see if anyone we know has died. We have a lot of clients so I like to send a card if they experience a loss just to let them know we care. Years ago I went to calling hours when one of my clients lost his mother and they never forgot it. I know this is true because it was quite a few years later when Ben died and the first thing I received was a peace plant from them. I still have it and I think of them every time I water it.

Sometimes a certain obit will catch my eye and I read it all the way through. Like today when I was drawn to the obit of a 95 year old man. During the last days of his life he told his family to not be sad for him because he lived a good life. He also told them that they should always remember to be good to each other. At the bottom of the obit was a poem, a tribute written by a family member. Telling of his life and now his death. He was loved! You could tell by the words in his obit. He was truly a wonderful man. When I read something so wonderful I think about writing my own obit. What would I say about my life? How would I like to be remembered? Some of you might be thinking what a morbid thing to do. I like to  think of it as a guideline on how I live my life in the here and now. For me it's not morbid at all because I have experienced death from an early age. I was 3 or 4 when my Aunt Margaret came to live with us in her last days of dying of cancer. She died shortly after, right in the spare bedroom of our house. I remember them burning the mattress afterwards. It was the sixties and we really didn't know much about cancer at that time, just that it was a definite death sentence. At the age of six my father's mom, my grandmother Ann died. After that there were older relatives, friends of the family, and many many more. Eventually we moved in with my grandmother Carrie. It was the same house my mother was raised in. We lived in the Italian section of town where everyone knew everyone by their first name. We were personal friends with the local funeral director and the funeral home was only one block from our home. It seemed like we were always going to calling hours for someone. You might be thinking "what does this have to do with writing your own obit"? I think that those of us who have experienced death for most of our lives have a different perspective on it and writing your own obit does not have to be a depressing, grim, horrible thing. We write in journals and diaries about our  lives and loves. Why not think of it as writing your future?

Write a story of how you want people to remember you. No one has to see it, you don't have to share it with anyone. Think of it as a guide for living your best life now. Do you want to be remembered as the person who was successful in his/her work? Or maybe a kind generous soul who always took the time to help a friend? Or the grampa everyone would want to have? An employee who always did his best and was willing to go the extra mile to make his company better? The best father, mother, friend, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, cousin etc...anyone could ask for? What is most important to you? What would you write? There is no right or wrong. How you are remembered is up to you in the here and now. So will you do it? Will you set a plan in motion for your life? Will you write a tribute to you and live your life fulfilling it? Just think how better your life would be or could be if you lived the way you hope to be remembered.

No matter where you are in life or how old you are, it's never to late to rewrite your destiny. Your words, your obit will help you to define what is most important to you in this life. Try it. You might just surprise yourself and realize what you thought was important to you is something totally different than what really is.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Love & Peace,

P.S. You might be wondering, "Why the link to Serendipity"? In Serendipity Jeremy Piven's character writes an obit for John Cusack's character who is still living. A great movie about destiny and worth watching. Enjoy!

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Sunday, May 1, 2011


Shock! Numbness! It's what you feel after you hear that your son, your daughter, your partner, husband, friend, relative has died. Most times the shock fades away quickly but when it is a close family member it can last awhile. Our brains are amazing machines. I think our brains take over in times like this and they protect us from the reality of what we are actually facing. When Ben died I immediately went into shock. I was doing everything I had to do-Talking to friends and relatives, planning his memorial and any other things I could think of that needed to be done. I did them all and I don't remember much of it. I remember not feeling, not wanting to feel. It took a long time for the shock to wear off. I guess looking back now I should be glad that my brain stepped in when I was not able to function. It was like being on autopilot. You do what you are suppose to be doing and all the while you don't even realize you are doing it. I was hurt by my son's suicide. I felt guilty that I could not protect him from the demons he had fought for so many years. I will always feel that I should have done more. But I didn't know how to help him and he always snowed the doctors and me into thinking he was fine. I always felt I would lose him early on in life. So when it happened, when he died, I dealt with the shock of knowing, knowing that this was what I had known would happen all along and I still didn't stop it. How could I his only mother not stop the hurt, not save him from himself. If I told you I was up all night the night before he died and I knew something was wrong, would you believe me. I was and still I didn't know what to do.  I knew something was wrong and still I did nothing. And as I type this "Imagine" by John Lennon comes on Pandora. I used quotes from "Imagine" at Ben's memorial service. He loved the Beatles and he had a very peaceful soul. I felt this song was ever appropriate for him. He wanted only to be loved and accepted. He was a gentle giant fighting demons daily. Shock, shock of him dying, shock that I knew that someday it would happen and now it did. Shock kept me almost sane in a most insane time. Shock kept me busy. Shock saved my life because without it I would have withered and died right along with Ben.
So when you brain puts your mind and body into shock all you can do is go with it. Let the brain take over because it is saving you from a reality that you can't handle. We all have challenges. We experience many things through our lives. We are lucky to have these amazing brains to protect us in our time of need. It seems God created our brains with a "what if" in mind. What if this happens or that happens, will this brain be able to take care of it's owner? And most of the time it does, it saves us from ourselves, it protects us in times of need. God's work is a mystery but an amazing one indeed.

Love & Peace

If you want to join me on this journey just scroll over to the right and subscribe to my blog. If you know someone who might need help dealing with their grief please share my blog with them.