Write Your Own Obituary – An Exercise in Positive Outcome
I was at a writing workshop recently and as a way of introduction, we interviewed one of the other participants, and then wrote their obituary based on our conversation.
While it was a fun way to break the ice, I started to think about what I would like to write my own obituary notice. How do I want to be remembered?
In past blog posts I have written about those places that scare me, or where I’ve made mistakes, in the hopes of being helpful to someone else. But how often do we speak out about the good we do in the world? After all, mother always said, “It’s not nice to blow your own horn.” Anyone who does that is considered to have a very big ego indeed.
Author of a number of books about the power of positive thinking, *Wayne Dyer believes that whatever we focus on becomes true for us. If we focus on all the bad things we’ve done, then that is all we will know of ourselves. If we become the mistakes we made, instead of the lessons we’ve learned from our mistakes, then how can we learn to love ourselves, let alone anyone else? Compassion for others can only come about after we have learned to have a little compassion for ourselves.
So, in an effort to create that which I envision for my future, I am going to write my own obituary:
Born in England August 6, 1955, Gillian Andrews (nee Griffiths) lived the first 10 years of her life in the small village of Wrenbury in Cheshire, England. She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1966, taking up residence in Chatham, Ontario. By the time she was nineteen, she met her future husband Wayne. And within nine months to the day, they were married in l975. When Wayne retired they decided to move closer to Toronto to be near to their children and Grandchildren.
Gillian will best be remembered as the author of a number of successful books of historical fiction set in her adopted country. Though success came later in life, she never gave up on her dream to become a published author. She also became a mentor for other aspiring writers, and helped them to navigate the ever changing publishing landscape.
While she struggled with feelings of anxiety, she worked hard to understand, and face her fears. It wasn’t always easy. Many times she would try and fail to go to university, until she was able overcome her debilitating fear that maybe she wasn’t smart enough. Later, she overcame her fear of driving great distances alone knowing from first-hand experience, that the world is not always a safe place.
Along with feelings of anxiety, Gillian had to learn how to manage with a hearing loss. Though her hearing loss sometimes escalated her feelings of anxiety, it did not prevent her from taking piano lessons, or joining the church choir. Taking any type of course meant having to admit she had a hearing loss and find a way to manage. Though people were, for the most part, understanding and helpful, they could never understand how she felt like a failure when she was unable to understand concepts because she would miss key words. But this didn’t stop her from trying.
Despite being unable to hear well, she was considered a great listener by her friends. Perhaps even because she had to try harder to give her full attention. She was the first to give a helping hand to a friend struggling with illness, a move, divorce, or a way to believe in themselves and their own voice.
Gillian’s love of writing is passed on to her two children. Daughter Mallory, is a successful free-lance writer and activist for feminism in film. Her name is widely known in film circles as someone who speaks with intelligence and honesty about changes in the film industry.
Her son Simon, writes not only books about American History, but lends his hand to writing the occasional noir fiction, or science fiction/fantasy novel. He also does research for historical journals and papers, and travels widely to gain first-hand experience in his chosen field.
She is pre-deceased by her husband Wayne, who in his retirement, did all of the research for Gillian’s books, and took care of the finances and marketing of her books.
She will be sadly missed by her friends and family, particularly her four grandchildren whom she loved dearly.
Her memorial service will take place outdoors close to nature as was her wish. From there, her ashes will travel to the home of her birth, where they will be sprinkled at her favourite spot, on the canal at Wrenbury Bridge, in Cheshire, England. No flowers please. Donations to literary foundations in her memory will be greatly appreciated.
Not bad eh? When I first sent a draft of this to my girlfriend Joan, she started to cry. While I was very flattered, it wasn’t my intention to make anyone cry. I think of it as a positive exercise. Not only was I able to acknowledge my accomplishments, I was also able to envision the future I would like for myself. This sends a positive message to the brain and lets the universe know what my expectations are. It has been my experience that whenever I write things down – like my plans for the coming year – they tend to come true without my even thinking about them again. Then when I look back at the list, I find that many of the things on the list came to fruition. Why not try it for yourself and see.
*SOURCE: Books by Dr. Wayne Dyer. i) Change your Thoughts – Change your Life. ii) Excuses Begone. iii) Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting.