A Personal Goodbye

Written by on February 5, 2013 in Healing, Milestones - No comments
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I recently came across a fun little magaine MaryJane’s Farm, which has fun, interesting articles on crafts, home-making, and–yes–farming.   Among the delightful collection of articles was a reprint of a woman’s personal obituary, that the magazine reprinted.  Sonia Todd, a mother and wife of 38, wrote her own obituary, which is filled with love, gratitude, wisdom, and humor.  It was a gift to me, and I’m sure, to all those who’ve come upon it.  Sonia Todd, may you Rest in Peace. 

My name is Sonia Todd and I died of cancer at the age of 38.  I decided to write my own obituary because they are usually written in a couple of different ways that I just don’t care for.  Either family or friends gather together and list every minor accomplishment from cradle to grave in a timeline format, or they try to create one poetic last stanza about someone’s life that is so glowing one would think the deceased had been the living embodiment of a deity.

I don’t like the timeline format because, let’s face it, I never really accomplished anything of note.  Other than giving birth to my two wonderful, lovable, witty and amazing sons (James and Jason); marrying my gracious, understanding, and precious husband (Brian); and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior, I have done very little.  None of which requires obit space I have to shell out money for.  I also didn’t want a bunch of my friends sitting around writing a glowing report of me, which we all know would be filled with fish tales, half-truths, impossible scenarios, and outright-honest-to-goodness-lies.  I just don’t like to put people in that situation.

The truth, or my version of it, is this:  I just tried to do the best I could.  Sometimes I succeeded, most of the time I failed, but I tried.  For all of my crazy comments, jokes and complaints, I really did love people.  The only thing that separates us from anyone else is the type of sin each of us participated in.  I didn’t always do the right thing or say the right thing, and when you come to the end of your life, those are the things you really regret, the small, simples things that hurt other people.

My life was not perfect, and I encountered many, many bumps in the road.  I would totally scrap the years of my life from age 16 to 20….okay, maybe 14 to 22.  I think that would eradicate most of my fashion disasters and hair missteps from the 80’s.  But mostly, I enjoyed life.  Some parts of it were harder than others, but I learned something from every bad situation, and I couldn’t do any more than that.

Besides,  there are some benefits to dying youngish.  For example, I still owe on my student loans, and the joke’s on them, ‘cuz I’m not paying.  Plus I am no longer afraid of serial killers, telemarketers, or the IRS.  I don’t have to worry about wrinkles or the ozone layer and/or hide from the news during election season.

Some folks told me that writing my own obituary was morbid, but I think it is great because I get a chance to say thank you to all the people who helped my along the way.  Those who loved me, assisted me, cared for me, laughed with me and taught me things so I could have a wonderful, happy life.  I was blessed beyond measure by knowing all of you.    That is what made my life worthwhile.

If you think of me, and would like to do something to honor my memory, do this:

  • Volunteer at a school, church or library.
  • Write a letter to someone and tell them how they have had a positive impact on your life.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • If you drink and drive, stop.
  • Turn off the electronics and take a kid out for ice cream and talk to them about their hopes and dreams.
  • Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it.
  • Stop at all lemonade stands run by kids and brag about their product AND
  • Make someone smile today if it is in your power to do so. 

 

About the Author

Life-Cycle Celebrant Sarah Ritchie respects all faiths. She has received diplomas from the Celebrant Foundation & Institute, USA, where she now serves as a faculty member. Sarah wants to lead the way in creating a ceremony that reflects you, your love, and all the things that you hold most dear in the world. She lives in New York City, but brings along a hospitality that she attributes to her home, Oklahoma. In addition to this work that she adores, she devotes herself to a variety of charities on issues relating to education, children, health, and the arts.

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