After Emily Phillips was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she decided she wasn’t going to let her illness have the last say. In a brilliant move, she penned her own obituary.
Not forgetting a sense of finality, Phillips writes with humor and an understanding of the profundity of leaving loved ones behind. Here is a memorable passage from Emily’s obit:
This might be a good time to mend fences.
I apologize for making sweet Bonnie wear No Frills jeans when she was little and for “red-shirting” Scott in kindergarten. Apparently each of these things was humiliating to them but both were able to rise above their shame and become very successful adults. I’d also like to apologize to Mary Ann for tearing up her paper dolls and to Betsy for dating a guy she had a crush on.
Just when I thought I was too old to fall in love again, I became a grandmother, and my five grand-angels stole not only my heart, but also spent most of my money.
Sydney Elizabeth, Jacob McKay, and Emma Grace (all Uprights) have enriched my life more than words can say. Sydney’s “one more, no more” when she asked for a cookie; Jake saying he was “sick as a cat” when I’d said that someone else was sick as a dog; and Emma cutting her beautiful long hair and then proceeding to shave off one of her eyebrows…Yes, these are a few of my favorite things. They’re treasures that are irreplaceable and will go with me wherever my journey takes me.
I’ve always maintained that my greatest treasures call me Nana. That’s not exactly true. You see, the youngest of my grand-angels, William Fisher Phillips and Charlie Jackson Phillips call me “Nana Banana”. (Thank you Chris and Scott for having such spunky children.) These two are also apt to insist that I “get their hiney” whenever I visit, and since I’m quite skilled in that area , I’ve always been able to oblige. (I actually hold the World’s Record for “”Hiney Getting,“” a title that I wear with pride.)
Speaking of titles…I’ve held a few in my day. I’ve been a devoted daughter, an energetic teenager, a WCU graduate (summa cum laude), a loving wife, a comforting mother, a dedicated teacher, a true and loyal friend, and a spoiling grandmother. And if you don’t believe it, just ask me. Oh wait, I’m afraid it’s too late for questions. Sorry.
So…I was born; I blinked; and it was over. No buildings named after me; no monuments erected in my honor.
But I DID have the chance to know and love each and every friend as well as all my family members. How much more blessed can a person be?
So in the end, remember…do your best, follow your arrow, and make something amazing out of your life. Oh, and never stop smiling.
If you want to, you can look for me in the evening sunset or with the earliest spring daffodils or amongst the flitting and fluttering butterflies. You know I’ll be there in one form or another. Of course that will probably comfort some while antagonizing others, but you know me…it’s what I do.
I’ll leave you with this…please don’t cry because I’m gone; instead be happy that I was here. (Or maybe you can cry a little bit. After all, I have passed away).
Today I am happy and I am dancing. Probably naked.
She ended her self-penned farewell with a simple:
“Love you forever. Emily.”
Remarkable final thoughts from a brave woman.