What Will Your Obituary Say About You?

Mike Ruby
Mike Ruby
A Muscatine resident for over forty years, Mike Ruby had careers both as a teacher at Muscatine High school and as a writer for nonprofit companies. Now retired, Ruby continues to cultivate his love for writing by contributing monthly Ruby's Reflections to Discover Muscatine newspaper.

Muscatine Living

I’m convinced January comes around faster every year. As I hang the new calendar on the kitchen wall, I become more aware of my own mortality as the years fly by. Remember all of the excitement and hype surrounding Y2K? It is still a vivid memory, even though it was twenty years ago. The reality is that life insurance actuarial tables wager that I won’t live twenty more years. I hope they are wrong.

Not only have our wills been updated, our legal affairs been put in order, and the gravestone placed, but draft copies of our obituaries have been written. This may sound eccentric and morbid to some people, but to me, it’s perfectly normal.

All of us have an expiration date; we just don’t know when. When that time comes, our obituaries will likely appear in the newspaper or online. I enjoy reading obituaries, whether I knew the person or not. Some are very brief, just giving the bare facts, while others read like a short novel and go into extreme detail. All obituaries mention birth dates and family members, whether still living or deceased. Some obituaries may go into more detail mentioning education, career, hobbies, involvement in church or civic organizations, and their volunteer work. I find this reading especially interesting as I learn about the positive impact the deceased person made on society.

When I read an obituary that sums up a person’s life saying, “she enjoyed shopping, playing bingo, and visiting casinos,” or, “he loved golf, poker, and the Chicago Cubs”, I always wonder if there was more to the person’s life that was not mentioned. Yes, we are all given a choice about how we want to spend our life and it’s not my place to be judgmental.

I believe a full life is a healthy balance of growing in faith, enjoying family, friends, and hobbies, along with a healthy dose of serving others. Some folks prefer to live a more self-centered life, and that is their prerogative.

Regardless what our obituary will say, or what we want it to say, it’s important to evaluate how we are currently living and decide if we want to make any changes. January, and especially at the start of a new decade, is a perfect time to make any desired life-style changes.

What do you want your obituary to say about you?

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