Benjamin Franklin said: ‘the only certainties in life are death and taxes’. And no one wants to think too much about either. So asking you to write your own Eulogy sounds like a pretty morbid idea, when you first read it. No one likes to think too much about death. Innate drives from birth mean we strive for survival. And dying is typically associated with loss, grief, pain and memories we would rather not replay.
I admit that I became far more fearful of death after becoming a Mother. Well that’s not entirely true; the moment I lay on the table in theatre as the Emergency Caesar was about to be performed was the probably the first time in my life I have experienced true selflessness. I thought to myself, and any God who may or may not exists; if it’s between me and her making it out of this room alive, please choose her. Thankfully that was never a choice.
However, as I became more and more anxious as a new Mum, when I wasn’t worrying about all the ways she might die, I was really fearful of myself dying. As much as I doubted myself as a Mother, I also knew deep down she really needed me, and there was no one in the World who would fight her corner, give her their all, guide her and love her like me. I know now it was all a symptom of being exhausted and anxious, and letting the irrational thoughts run away with me. I can’t say I am completely fearless now, nor ready to take on death defying extreme sports, but it doesn’t govern every moment.
Bare with me, this isn’t meant to be a depressing post! Anyway, I was listening to my favourite Podcast series (here in case you haven’t read me rave about it in every single other post lately), and they spoke about the exercise of writing your own Eulogy. The purpose is to approach living a value filled, and fulfilling life by looking at it from the end, rather than the beginning. Benjamin Button style. Helping to identify just what your values are, and then working towards aligning the Eulogy with present day. It certainly felt like an uncomfortable notion and first, but the more I rolled the idea about in my head, the more I could see the benefits.
I started off thinking about the things which had bothered, or mattered to me in the past. Some of which have probably taken up quite a bit of valuable thought space, and yet I certainly wouldn’t want to make the cut in my Eulogy.
- She was really skinny, her hair was very straight, and her fake tan always looked fresh.
- She passed her driving test first time.
- All the boys fancied her.
- She got invited to single every house party.
- She got perfect A’s on her GCSEs.
- Her feet didn’t smell bad at all.
It’s a lot easier to look back with hindsight and dismiss your Teenage angst. So I tried looking at similar pesky things which can bother me nowadays, and applied the same exercise to put them into perspective:
- Her daughter never had stains on her clothes, or a snotty nose.
- She didn’t have any cellulite.
- Her kitchen was always so tidy.
- Her skinniest jeans always fit.
- Her baby slept all night through (from birth).
- She never swore at her Husband.
- She never ever forgot Birthdays.
It’s a really worthwhile exercise, sitting down to write a few things you might like to be said in your Eulogy. I think we all would like to hear “they lived a long, healthy and happy life”, but here are a few more things I would like to make the cut (and am working towards ensuring they’re true).
- She was an adoring Mother, and did all she could to be a great role model.
- Best friend to her beloved Husband.
- She loved her family and friends dearly, and they all felt it.
- She gave her all to the issues and people she cared about.
- Laughed often.
- She lived life on her own terms.
- She was not afraid to stand up for her beliefs, defy convention, and carve her own path.
- She approached life with purpose, energy, excitement and passion.
- She made a positive difference to the lives of others. Encouraged, motivated &inspired.
- She never stopped learning.
- Her feet smelt pretty bad, but that was okay.