Funny I know, that an optimist should be encouraging the thought of writing an epitaph and pondering death. But I am a realist/optimist. And as laughable as it is that an “optimist” is encouraging people to write their own epitaphs, there is good reason behind this…
I was in a car accident about a week ago. Fortunately my life was spared and I walked away with only a seat belt burn on my left shoulder. Amazing? Yes. A miracle? Absolutely. I would like to thank all my friends that prayed for me and my safety that day. I am most grateful to each of you and I am grateful to be alive.
What seemed to be the worst for those that were concerned for me was the unknown. Many people simply heard I was in an accident. No other details were given. The lack of information was the greatest anxiety that my parents had. My wife and I are two polar opposites when it comes to being social. I throw it all out there and let the world judge me how they will. My wife keeps to herself and hopes that the world doesn’t judge her at all. But what of the silence….. Realizing my wife and I have totally different views on being public, I came to the further realization that my wife had a totally different view on my accident as well. I was happy to walk away with a minor scratch. She was frightened because she thought and focused on the fact that I almost died. The possibility of me dying became a reality to her. And for that reason I gladly gave her and my wonderful kids all of my attention for the past week. So please excuse my absence and the absence of answers.
Through the past week, I reflected upon the “What if I had died?” I was saddened by the fact that I would have missed being part of my children’s lives. And I began to wonder if what I left behind would be sufficient for my children to know me, to understand my desires for them, to feel my love for them. I wondered if my wife would always know that I loved her. These pondering lead me to the conclusion that I could do better. That despite my core values in life, my life is not always reflective of what I feel and believe inside. Hence the need for me to write my own epitaph. A practice endorsed by “7 Habits”.
Writing my epitaph gave me the perspective of how I want to be remembered. Things like wither I eat well, or if I am an all star basketball player take a back seat to, “He was a good father.” Things like, he was cunning, quick, and got ahead in the business world, pale in comparison to, “He was fair and honest in his business dealings.” And I most certainly don’t want to be remembered as “the man that loved his wife, and almost told her once.”
So please take a little advice from someone that has stood at the edge of life’s door, take time to think of how you want to be remembered. Embrace life and who you are, and who you want to be. Then realize that you are writing your own epitaph with each breath you take and step you lead.
You are writing your own epitaph with each breath you take and step you lead.
While death is not something I fear, and I look forward to the next life and the what lies beyond, I don’t recognize that I live today, and life is a gift, that is why we call it the present.