A friend shared a quasi-obituary with me today. James Hagerty is an obituary writer for the Wall Street Journal, and he wrote his own obit. (He's still quite alive) James is encouraging us all to write our own obit and emphasize what we want people to know about us. “What were we trying to do? Why? And how did it work out?” What influenced our journey?
It seems unnatural to write your own obit when you're still alive, but I am curious how it will read. Legacy has been interesting to me lately, so here goes. James talks about the names we are given vs. what people call us.
I was born Elizabeth Anne Kilcoyne. My most popular name was Beth. Mom called me Bethy, and those who wanted to take their life in their hands called me Liz! At age twenty-eight, I moved to Ipswich, MA and introduced myself as Elizabeth. Everyone followed suit, including mom. Now when a new person asks, “What do your friends call you?” I say, “Elizabeth." A final thought on names. I have a European passport by virtue of my grandparents being born in Ireland. So much documentation to gather for this passport. When I requested my birth certificate, looking at a microfiche copy, I said, "This is wrong. I don't have an "e" at the end of Anne." The clerk replied with some attitude, "It's an exact copy of your birth certificate." I called my mom and asked if there was an 'e' at the end of Anne. Without hesitation, she said, "Yes."
I lived a long time actually mourning no 'e.' I got my first passport when I was twenty-one, and it didn't have an 'e,' so that was my proof. At that time, birth certificates were typed on a typewriter, and the person made a mistake. Go figure.
At this rate, my obituary will be longer than my life, and I haven’t even mentioned catholic school yet, or when I gave up my virginity.
What would your story be if you could write it yourself?
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Happy Mother's Day!