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What Do You Want Your Epitaph To Say?

Although I don’t like to think about death very often, I recently attended a 60-th birthday party where they “eulogized” the birthday girl. It was all done in fun, but it got me to thinking: what do I want to be remembered for?

There are people who are very organized and plan their passing down to the minutest detail, including how they want their funeral, the “wake” afterwards, and even what they want their tombstone or grave marker to say. This is probably a good idea, because it makes it easier for the adult son or daughter not to have to take care of all the arrangements when their parents pass away.

When my Mom passed away, her wish was to be cremated and her ashes spread at her favorite place – Hawaii. I loved that idea of course because it meant I got to go there and enjoy the islands as she had enjoyed them. My dad on the other hand, much more traditional, wanted to be buried in a vault he had purchased. There was no room to write anything other than his name and dates of birth and death.

Some people do humorous epitaphs like “pardon me if I don’t get up” or “now touring with the Grateful Dead.”

Others do my solemn epitaphs like “she loved” or “it’s the journey that counts.

There is even a day dedicated to this event – “Write Your Own Epitaph Day”.  This holiday is dedicated to pondering about what you want to say about yourself before you’re gone, a day to plan what you want to be remembered about forever.

Think Of An Epitaph As a Way To Succeed

And then I read an article that changed my mind about epitaphs. Whether you are going to have a gravestone or not, an epitaph, whether literally or figuratively, can be a road map to where you are in life, and where you want to end up. It can serve as a moral compass. Think about this. An epitaph can

  1. Help you set goals
  2. Make you reflect on your life so far
  3. Describe what is important to you in a few words
  4. Show your creativity or sense of humor
  5. Face your own mortality
  6. Question whether you accomplished something meaningful

For just a minute, imagine your funeral. What would your family and friends say about you? What would you like them to say about you? If there is a disparity between the two, the good news is that if you are reading this article, you still have time to change before it is too late!


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