This isn’t the first time we’ve been deeply moved by something we read in an obituary. There was 22-year-old Clay Shepard, who tragically died of a drug overdose and whose obituary gave hope to struggling addicts. And there was children’s author Anna Dewdney, whose obituary expressed her final wish: for you to read to a child. But the obituary below is the first we’ve seen that was written by the deceased, a woman named Sonia Todd.
While some may find Sonia’s decision to write her own obituary morbid, Sonia did it because she knew that one’s obituary is often either a list of “every minor accomplishment from cradle to grave in a timeline format” or it is “one poetic last stanza” that summarizes the deceased’s life like a glowing review.
But Sonia didn’t want a list of her accomplishments, and she didn’t want poetry. She just wanted the world to know one thing: she tried to do the best she could. She tried to love people, tried to do the right thing, and now she gets to say thank you.
More than that, she gets to leave behind some ways you can honor her memory; simple, everyday tasks that make the world a better place.
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 and 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.
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. 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 simple things that hurt other people.
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 me along the way. Those who loved me, assisted me, cared for me, laughed with me and taught me things so that 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 in honor of 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 effect on your life.
– Stop at all lemonade-stands run by kids and brag about their product.
– If you smoke – quit.
– If you drink and drive – stop.
– Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it.
– Turn off the electronics and take a kid out for ice cream and talk to them about their hopes and dreams.
– Make someone smile today if it is in your power to do so.