After I’m Gone, Please Keep it Real

Do most people worry about how they’ll be remembered once they’re gone, or is it just me?

Lately, I’ve been contemplating the idea of writing my own eulogy. Though I have no idea when I might exit this world, I figure it’s better to be prepared for anything.

*On a side note, I have a phobia of dying unexpectedly. I’m a planner by nature; I don’t like surprises. If I died suddenly, I’m certain my household would fall apart. Would anyone remember to feed Barry, our bearded dragon? Who would refill the toilet paper? But I digress…

A quick Google search revealed that many people agree writing their own eulogies is a worthwhile endeavor. I even discovered quite a few articles dedicated to assisting with this task. I haven’t gone that far into it just yet, but it’s on my to-do list.

You might be thinking, "Wait, you want to write your own eulogy? Isn't that a bit morbid?"

While some of you may find this idea intriguing, others might be scratching their heads, wondering what would possess me to do this.

For starters, I want to be remembered as the person I truly was.

While I’m not bothered by the notion of people bad-mouthing me after I’m gone, I do have concerns about people speaking more highly of me than I deserve.

Funerals or memorial services usually follow a familiar pattern; People gather in small groups and share fond memories of the amazing person they’ve just lost. Typically, a funny story or two is thrown in to lighten the mood. However, it’s rare to hear anyone mention the ‘negative’ traits of the recently departed.

To be honest, I’m guilty of this practice myself. I can’t recall any instance at a funeral when I remarked “Yeah, Joe could be a real jerk. He really knew how to get under your skin.” Like everyone else, I nod and smile while others share their heartfelt stories.

Why do we do this?

Is it because we believe it’s disrespectful to speak ill of the dead so soon after they’ve left this earth? Or is it because we’re worried that others will view us negatively for being honest?

I recently came across this meme, and felt an instant connection with the mystery writer:

Facebook Meme

We’ve all watched episodes of 20/20 or Dateline, and they always present the same scenario – the victim was a truly special person, salt of the earth, etc.. While this may be true in some cases, there’s no way it’s applicable to every single person. Right? Or am I just being cynical? To be clear, I do believe most people are generally good. However, we’re not all exemplary human beings.

I don’t want the person giving my eulogy to say things like ‘Laura was such a kind, loving person.’ or ‘She had such a beautiful soul.’ If you have said these exact things about a loved one, please don’t take offense – I’m not mocking you. Those descriptions simply don’t apply to me.

So what DO I want my eulogy to say?

I haven’t fully composed it yet, but with the help of my sister, Charlotte, I’ve started compiling a list of adjectives and descriptions that accurately portray me:

  • Stubborn
  • Guarded
  • Introverted
  • Quiet
  • Honest
  • Homebody
  • Witty
  • Loyal
  • Slow to love, but loves fiercely

Obviously this will need refining, and I’m sure the list will grow, but I believe these bullet points do me justice. (I’m not sure about the last one, but Charlotte insisted I include it.)

*On another side note, I really need to have someone take pictures of me (ones that I approve of). I was going through my photos recently, and out of the thousands I have saved, I appeared in exactly 8 of them. Will assured me that he has pictures of me in his saved photos, but I haven’t seen or approved them. I don’t want my obituary picture to be from my wedding back in 2011. Just something for you all to think about.

But really, why do I want to write my own eulogy?

Earlier in this post, I mentioned that I’m a planner by nature. And that is true. But more so, I’m a control freak. I want things done the way I do them. I’m a firm believer in the saying “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” While I’m aware this life motto does a disservice to my children (and husband) by not teaching them how to do things for themselves, that’s just how I am.

Ultimately, I want to write my own eulogy so I have control over what’s being said, for the reasons stated earlier in this post. I want it to be an honest reflection of me. I don’t want my loved one(s) to throw something together, and it ends up being some inflated tribute due to their state of grief.

I’m sure you’re thinking “Why do you care? It’s not like you’ll be there to hear it.” I just do. I believe my fellow control freaks will sympathize with my desire to exert this final bit of control over my life.

Yet, knowing my loved ones, they will add some mushy tribute that is not at all fitting of my character. Or is it?