Writing Our Own Obituaries

05.4.11


This morning I went hiking with another blogger and we both lamented the amount of time blogging takes from life. I have no great need to write. I could walk away from writing at any time, or so I tell myself.

She has a need to connect and to create. I have a need for solitude, blogging is good for solitude. I want to be with my friends and my family. I don’t necessarily want new friends, I’m cautious that way.

Then this morning Drew shared this link with me. It begins with:

Here it is. I’m dead, and this is my last post to my blog. In advance, I asked that once my body finally shut down from the punishments of my cancer, then my family and friends publish this prepared message I wrote—the first part of the process of turning this from an active website to an archive.

If you knew me at all in real life, you probably heard the news already from another source, but however you found out, consider this a confirmation: I was born on June 30, 1969 in Vancouver, Canada, and I died in Burnaby on May 3, 2011, age 41, of complications from stage 4 metastatic colorectal cancer. We all knew this was coming.

It is a beautiful tribute to family and to fatherhood. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the blog, but anxious about it too because there is a clear ending.

When my Grandmother died my mother wrote her obituary and she felt conflicted, because sometimes my Grandmother wasn’t happy or kind. My Grandmother broke the day her brother died in World War Two and although she was pieced together, rage simmered through the cracks. The Rabbi, the very kind Rabbi, told my mother that we write our own obituaries. The people left behind are simply sharing it with the world.

I don’t know that this will make me better, kinder or gentler. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be more introspective or generous. I do know that I’m living the life I’ve painstakingly created, and it’s good. I can make it better because ultimately we all write our own obituaries.

 

 

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3 responses to “Writing Our Own Obituaries”

  1. Nina Bargiel says:

    There’s a resonance to blogging when it comes to death and dying that I feel both makes it “larger than” but also intensely personal. My college friend’s wife – who blogged at The Carcinista – died yesterday of Ovarian Cancer. He and I reconnected via FB and I found her blog. They have two kids.

    Dammit, I feel like I had a point and I don’t. She was an amazing writer, and an amazing human. And she lives in digital form, here: http://carcinista.com/

  2. Thanks for sharing this Jessica. You made me cry at work.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’ve already written my own obituary for my family to print/read when I die.

    Thank you all for the gifts of money & rare flowers. The life of Maegan has ended, but her legacy will live on forever. Please, stop wailing and gnashing your teeth…refrain from further rending your sackcloths…as soon, there will be a monument built in Maegan’s honor. It will be strategically placed in the middle of the Atlantic ocean & made of gold. The money you pay to the ferry will benefit her family & carry her memory on into the future. Do not despair, as Maegan will live in your memory forever…as long as you keep sending money to her family. Thank you. Have a nice day. Maegan loves you.

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