Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Art of Writing Obituaries - "I feel so lucky. . ."

The obituaries I've written about in the past, like this one  or this one, were ones that raised my eyebrows a bit.  While I understand the urge to say nice things about the recently deceased, the sugarcoating of less than perfect lives seems a feeble attempt to  . . . to do what?  I'm not sure.  Continue to pretend it isn't so?  The human condition is so complex and contradictory, that the truth always seems far more interesting and more cathartic.  Other obituaries tell the interesting stories of the person's life.

Today, I'm pleased to comment on an obituary unlike any I've seen before.  It was in yesterday's ADN and made me smile and wish I'd known Emma Milkeraitis.  It begins:
"I feel so lucky. I get to write my own obituary and make my end-of-life decisions. It is fashionable to go kicking and screaming and fighting for every breath. Not me, I choose grace and dignity.

Several components of my heart failed. Many options were suggested to allow for some normalcy for living. Shortly after that I was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer.

How much effort do I expend to live another day? How many of my assets do I give for that day? I saw my future becoming filled with tests, appointments, and procedures. Whether it is 70 or 100 years - we only live for a flicker of time in relation to this earth. I went home and called a travel agency!"
She goes on to talk about how traveling the world transformed her.

"In my travels I have learned:

Greed and power are insatiable.

Don't leave anything undone. If you always wanted to jump out of an airplane or kiss an elephant - DO IT!

Make your end-of-life choices while you are able, with forward vision.

Support the arts in all forms; it is our communication to future generations. Unlike me, the arts will live forever.

Do not hang on to life; be remembered for the life you lived rather than as a burden in death.

No regrets and no scooter chair for me!"

Read more here:
 This sounds like someone who knew who she was and didn't pussyfoot around the truth.  And while I might want that scooter chair because I still have things left to blog, I respect her decision. 

You can read the whole obituary here.

Read more here:

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