Have you written your obituary?

Fortunately for me, I’ve led a charmed life with wonderful advantages, many opportunities, and one without major tragedies.
As a result, I am very grateful—and empathize with people who have had more difficult experiences.
Born in Lewis County in northern New York, I was the first grandchild of Daniel and Anna Nafziger Moser, and I was greatly loved. My parents were Nicholas (Nick) and Dorothy Moser Gingerich. I had one younger brother, James (Jim).
I grew up on a farm on Route 12, the major highway to Canada. Our farm was located halfway between the villages of Copenhagen and Lowville in the town of Harrisburg.
The Harrisburg Grange Hall and the school were adjacent to our 100-year-old house. A family friend, Vera Peck, was my grade school teacher–and my idol!
After graduating from Lowville Free Academy, I went to college in Virginia for two years. Once back home, I taught in a rural school at the age of 18.
Fast forward to other opportunities. College and seminary. And, much later, a second Master’s degree at the age of 50.
As a young woman, I also had many service opportunities. Working with children on an Indian reservation in northern Minnesota and with the children of migrant farm laborers in Utica, N.Y.
I served as a counselor in summer camps in eastern Canada and western Pennsylvania and, later in life, in western Canada. And, especially, I had the chance to write at an early age.
Unlike young people of today, I grew up during the time when jobs came to me. All I had to say was “Yes” or “No.” The economy was healthy and people were optimistic. That’s why I say I have led a charmed life.
What a tragedy it would be if, at the time of my passing, my children knew nothing about my early life!
I am especially aware of the importance of writing your own obituary since the death of my husband six months ago. Howard had written his obituary in great detail. All we had to do was tweak it.
And the day after his passing, our interim pastor, Dorothy (on her first day of work as she was setting up her office), came with a paper of instructions for Howard’s memorial service.
Howard had filed this paper in the church office earlier. Once again, all we had to do was tweak it.
You can’t imagine how helpful those actions were at the time of our grief.
Thus, I say: Write your own obituary. And do it now!
Do it for yourself and for your family. Write everything in detail. Your family easily can cut, and you’ll be surprised how much you have accomplished in your lifetime.
So begin today. List the things you have done–either in chronological order or by topic. Tell what has been important to you–the people, the events, your travels, your avocations, or your hobbies.
Have fun as you write! And always remember how comforting this will be to your family in their time of grief.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@cox.net

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