Living Life Sentences


in Happiness,Personal Growth

At a dinner party the other night, the conversation wandered into what we were all reading. The host mentioned that he was reading the obituaries; not out of morbid curiosity, but rather, out of an interest in how other people had lived their lives.

I confess that I have done the same. And find it utterly fascinating.

Reading the sentences constructed by friends and family members has a certain poignancy – a tenderness that is captured in all the little details.

Linda loved to cook great meals for her family, especially spicy Mexican dishes.

Betty enjoyed bingo and traveling to Hawaii every year with her friends because she loved sunshine.

John was married to his high school sweet heart for 42 years, was an avid golfer, and loved his dog Rex.  

Sarah always had a smile on her face and she will be missed by all who knew her.

At the end of the day, those left behind attempt to capture whole lives with little sentences. Some lives have been well-lived and filled with love it would seem. Others, perhaps not so much if the curt, brief sentences are any judge.

The brief obituaries fill me with the most regret on behalf of the deceased. And I wonder about their lives. Were they loved? Did they use their time in the best way possible? Is there more that could have been said of their years on earth?

These obituaries also make me question what might be said about me and my life. What would I want to be remembered for? What would my life sentences be?

As I reflect, they certainly wouldn’t be about the car I drove or where I shopped. Nor would they be about the work I did or the things I accumulated.

Instead, I hope they would be about the love I shared with family and friends. How I raised my child. The interesting experiences I accumulated. The amazing conversations I had. My curiosity. My passion. My little eccentricities.

I hope.

Life sentences must be written today. When we are gone, it will be too late.

What would your life sentences say about you? Make sure you know what they are or want them to be. Write them now. Live them now. Don’t wait.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandi Amorim November 22, 2010 at

I’ve done this work often with clients and even have it as a question when I do my Follow Friday spotlight. Asking people to consider their epitaph is powerful, and just as you suggest, writing it now creates a new future. Here’s mine,

“Passionate to the end, Sandi gave life her all.”
Sandi Amorim recently posted..Experiment in Trust


Andrea November 22, 2010 at

Short, sweet and powerful! I love it, Sandi.


Sandi Amorim November 22, 2010 at

It helps on those days when I forget who I am and what my life is about. Kind of jolts me back to the “reality” I really want :)
Sandi Amorim recently posted..Beautiful and Crunchy Inside and Out


Ronna November 22, 2010 at

Here’s my life-sentence for you, Andrea:

She was passionate about a multitude of things. She overcame a multitude of things. She offered a multitude of things.

She refused to be limited, restrained, or defined. And it was her own expansiveness that enabled those around her to feel that much more unlimited, unrestrained, and beyond definition. Andrea invited a multitude of things into the lives of everyone who had opportunity to encounter her brilliance and witness her heart.

There are a multitude of things I’ll remember, but most of all, that she was my friend. No multitudes can compare.
Ronna recently posted..Caramel Apple Cake &amp Delayed Gratification


Andrea November 22, 2010 at

Oh Ronna, what a gift you have given me with your words! Moving. Memorable. In a multitude of ways. :) Thank you!


Rita November 25, 2010 at

Hi Andrea–Haven’t been able to drop in for awhile. Really liked this post, mostly because I thought I was the only person who likes to read obituaries. I like to visit cemeteries for the same reason–all of us end up being reduced to a few lines, don’t we? I appreciate the reminders you give me about what’s important. Hope you and Emma have a wonderful day today.
Rita recently posted..One of my kind- Gratitude 112410


Andrea November 25, 2010 at

We have so much in common, my friend. So thankful for you – always!


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