My Obituary Today – A Life Well Lived (An Exercise)

I remember in high school being asked to write our own obituaries. It was an interesting exercise that I think scared most of us down deep inside, so we all wrote something funny or completely absurd.

My classmates obituaries seemed to imply (or blatantly say) they were wealthy with lots of family, friends, fans and of course, fame. No one wrote about dying right then and there as a teenager. Every obit was something in the distant future when we all had accomplished something grand. A life well lived. None of us could imagine not being rich and famous and older…

 I’ve never forgotten that assignment because I remember thinking: what would people say if I died right now? Would anyone even notice? Care? Knowing what I know about being a teenager now, I’m sure many of my fellow classmates had similar thoughts, but we were all just too scared to share that truth in class. 

Of course, I’m a grown woman today and although I’d like to say I’ve mastered “adulting”, I still have my moments of uncertainty.  But as I did laundry this morning this song blasted in my earpiece and I remembered that assignment! If I had to write my obituary today, I would borrow these lyrics from the composer/writers of this piece, Ms. Linda Creed and Mr. Michael Masser. The song was first sung by George Benson and later by Whitney Houston. 

The lyrics encapsulate what I told myself as a child over and over again. If I’m being honest, it is completely my thought process now as an adult. Every time I hear this song, it hits my heart so hard. Because I remember. Because I’m so proud of myself. I remember feeling so alone and then feeling so empowered. I may not have mastered adulting yet, but I do know the greatest love of all.

Every line. Every single beat. It is my song. It is my story. It is what I believe, it is who I am-who I have always been.

I believe the children are our future

Teach them well and let them lead the way

Show them all the beauty they possess inside

Give them a sense of pride to make it easier

Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be

Everybody’s searching for a hero

People need someone to look up to

I never found anyone who fulfilled my needs

A lonely place to be

And so I learned to depend on me

I decided long ago

Never to walk in anyone’s shadow

If I fail, if I succeed

At least I’ll live as I believe

No matter what they take from me

They can’t take away my dignity

Because the greatest love of all

Is happening to me

I found the greatest love of all

Inside of me

The greatest love of all

Is easy to achieve

Learning to love yourself

It is the greatest love of all

I believe the children are our future

Teach them well and let them lead the way

Show them all the beauty they possess inside

Give them a sense of pride to make it easier

Let the children’s’ laughter remind us how we used to be

I decided long ago

Never to walk in anyone’s shadows

If I fail, if I succeed

At least I lived as I believe

No matter what they take from me

They can’t take away my dignity

Because the greatest love of all

Is happening to me

I found the greatest love of all

Inside of me

The greatest love of all

Is easy to achieve

Learning to love yourself

It is the greatest love of all

And if, by chance that special place

That you’ve been dreaming of

Leads you to a lonely place

Find. Your. Strength. In. Love.

I’m posting the video below – the Whitney Houston version – which is also lovely. From the beginning her mom is by her side…at the end she hugs her mother, the divine and legendary Ms. Cissy Houston. “…leads you to a lonely place…find your strength in love.” 

 I love that part. It reminds me of my mom.

I was raised right. Thank you Mama.

5 thoughts on “My Obituary Today – A Life Well Lived (An Exercise)

  1. Whoa… this is deep and I have been thinking along the same line since my mother passed away in 2019. She was a well-admired teacher and friend who in her later years withdrew to a small circle of friends and family. After she passed it was as though she wasn’t even missed (except terribly by me, her son).

    My greatest fear is ending up alone. I’ve had some neighbors pass away in their homes and not have family miss them. It makes ME wonder: “what would people say if I died right now? Would anyone even notice? Care?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think your mom being remembered and loved by you, her Kev is EVERYTHING! I think maybe we sometimes confuse quantity with quality. She did her job right if her baby is walking in her memory every now and again. That’s beautiful! And let’s define what being alone means. I know extremely wealthy “famous” folk who walk around with an entourage most days everywhere they go — they’re never physically alone. And you know what? They are the most miserable people I’ve ever known. I have friends who are married and wish they weren’t … I think you know where I’m going with this — being alone can be a strength. Being lonely, however, is different and can be hard if prolonged. We are social beings after-all. My point is this — you share who you are with the world as best you can every day. That’s what we are here to do. To shine when we can as brightly as possible — to love and yes, to be loved in return. But it’s not about HOW MANY people love us. It’s about how much we loved anyways. Find your strength in love… meaning, in who you are to the world. The rest will take care of itself. And I care. I care that you think no one might notice. I just noticed that you are hurting and concerned. That’s YOU shining anyways. Reaching out. It doesn’t matter if anyone would notice, just do YOU and shine anyways! The rest will take care of itself. Sending you a hug (and thank you so much for responding and writing… I needed that!)

      Liked by 1 person

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