10 Lessons I Learned From Writing My Own Eulogy

You Could Hear A Pin Drop

  • Did I hear the assignment correctly?
  • I do not feel comfortable about this.
  • Is the Universe trying to tell me something? 

The Writing Assignment For Next Week 

“Write your own eulogy in approximately 4 sentences and 75 words.”

 

New Zealand 2019

My Writing Group

I greatly respect these smart, witty, inspirational women. I really like them. They are my friends.

I am not going to be the first one to cave in and say “no, this assignment is not for me.”

I want to stay open to new perspectives and new challenges.

Writing a eulogy is a challenge.  

              Writing My Own Eulogy is a Daunting Task! 

New Zealand 2019

My Earliest Memories of Death

  • As a young child, I had a pet rabbit that disappeared one day. My parents told me it had died. Later on I heard some whispering about a stew. I am hoping I overheard incorrectly.
  • My other early memory is when I was sent home from school. I saw my parent’s sad, tear-stained faces. I was seven years old. I know the exact date. November 22, 1963. The day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. 
New Zealand 2019

Is The Universe Trying To Tell Me Something?

I would prefer not to think about death. Yet, I am not in denial. 

The concept of dying is in my radar often. Statistics are staring at me daily on every news site.  

We have been sheltering in place, quarantining, living life in limbo. We have not made plans and we have not seen many of our loved ones.  

I have been putting life on hold.

I have lost perspective.

Is this what The Universe is trying to tell me? 

Where Do I Begin My Eulogy?

Sixty plus years covers a lot of territory.

Many experiences. Many thoughts. Many emotions. Many loved ones.

               75 words is a drop in the bucket.

10 Lessons I Learned From Writing My Eulogy

 

1.  It is difficult and uncomfortable to say something nice about myself.  A common feeling.

Leanne Cresting The Hill  shares: “…finding and owning our positives…change the narrative to things I like about myself – I’m not sure why we all find that so hard to do?”

2.  Life’s greatest rewards are often found when I am feeling uncomfortable and taking risks.  

Living outside of my comfort zone is when I thrive and I feel fully alive.

Miriam, a kindred spirit, writes the blog Out an’ About   Her recent words describe this feeling well: “It’s about living life with no regrets, embracing it, with all of its ups and downs, the good times and the crazy times. Yes, we might make some mistakes along the way, but that’s when we learn all those life lessons that make up our story, and that’s when we discover what we’re capable of.”

3.  Make informed decisions, yet do not live your life in fear.

4.  Life should never be put on hold.

5.  I cannot truly write all I would like to say in 75 words. 

My actions will ultimately speak louder than any words I write.  

6.  Writing my eulogy taught me about the kind of person I want to be. 

The qualities I value versus my accomplishments and achievements.

7.  How do I affect the lives of others?  Have I made a difference in this world?

8.  Spend time with the people you love. 

      “She told them often how much she loved them.”

       “She knew life was precious and every day was a gift.”

9.  Facing the subject of death has brought a new perspective and clarity to how I live my present life.

10.  Writing my Eulogy is not a sad, depressing exercise.

                   Instead, it is life-affirming. 

 

A huge thank you to Leanne for posing this challenging exercise. I greatly appreciate my courageous friends for being vulnerable and open to this challenge. The gift of friendship, a priceless legacy.

Leanne shares my eulogy along with five other unique, insightful and entertaining eulogies in her post The 4 Sentence Eulogy Challenge  

 

Have you ever written a eulogy?  What lessons did you learn along the way?  

Have you put your life on hold during these unprecedented last few months?

 

Epilogue:

My Husband Reads My Eulogy Assignment

My husband: “That’s it?”

Me: “I am already over the word count.”

Me again:  “No tears?

My husband: “I just got an honourable mention.”

Me:  “I love you all equally, just in a different way. You know, apples and oranges.”

Me again:   “I expect you to write a longer eulogy for me. I expect some tears.”

          We both burst out laughing.

Inside, we know each other too well after 42 years.

Inside, we have a lump in our throats.

Inside, we both have tears.

Other posts you may enjoy discussing similar topics:

My Husband Returns Without His Pants On! We Were In For A Fun Time!

Do You Have Different Friends For Different Seasons?

When Blogging World Meets Real World

 

Butchart Gardens, June 2020

132 thoughts on “10 Lessons I Learned From Writing My Own Eulogy

  1. In 75 words is a challenge. My sis-in-law (age 90) recently wrote her obit for the newspaper (you have to pay to have it published and it’s expensive). Her obit was an epic that rivaled War and Peace. She put in every ding-dang organization she ever belonged to. I challenged her on it and asked if she needed to be admired, pointing out that it will only come out after she is dead. (Yes, I’m THAT pain in the butt relative.) We couldn’t get her to budge on it but it will be up to either her husband or her son to make the decision on how much of it goes in. It did make me think. I’m not my job titles or the Fortune 500 companies I worked for. I want to be remembered for the kindness that I do (mostly for animals because people are nuts). I suppose my obit will be quite short. Maybe it will be 75 words! 🙂

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    1. I agree with you, Kate, on the “qualities” and “kind of person.” The issue I ran into is wanting to make sure to mention all of my family and I have wonderful friends. I end up leaving people out to keep it close to the 75 words. Then my husband gave me the gears (I think in humour) how he was mentioned after the children. Difficult to please everyone………even when I am dead 😅

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    1. Dear Jill, I greatly appreciate your kindness. A “quality” that makes a huge difference in everyone’s lives. ❤️ The word count was definitely the challenge, since I did not want to leave anyone out. I already got in trouble for the order I listed my family in. I may have to write separate eulogies.🙂 Just for the record, my husband is not an honourable mention. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughtful comment.❤️

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  2. Very interesting. I’ve never thought about it although my husband is always giving me instructions about what he’d like at his funeral. Just cremate me and spread my ashes in or near the ocean is all I want.

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    1. This was an interesting exercise, Janet. I learned a great deal, which is what life is all about. Always good to know what you want and share it with your family. I am sure they would all remember your smiles ❤️

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    1. I have helped write a eulogy for an older relative. None of it is easy. I was surprised how this exercise did not turn out depressing. I learned a great deal. I found it exceptionally difficult to write something nice about myself. I think this was one of our primary lessons. Robbie, Your blog site is so beautiful, positive, inspiring and light-hearted. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on hopefully a subject that can still be positive and inspiring.

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  3. I just passed over to the other side Erica – I mean I just popped over to Leanne’s blog:) – and I’m amazed that you said so much in 75 words. I didn’t count them but really, you said much. Thank you for sharing your eulogy. I reckon that’s pretty much what I would like said, though maybe even shorter. It gives us a moment to reflect on our own lives and I agree it doesn’t have to be morbid. It nudges us to think about what in our lives is meaningful and has value. I think it’s a Buddhist saying ‘keep death alive on your left shoulder’ as a way of reminding us that it can happen anywhere, at any time and in the meantime, enjoy life. Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. You do make me smile, Susan. 🙂 Very witty! I went over the 75 words and I still offended by husband (sort of, I am hoping he was joking). I love what you say about nudging us to think about what is meaningful and has value in our lives. I initially became a little teary writing down some thoughts. I am not ready to go anywhere, yet. Like you say, not morbid, and encourages us to enjoy life. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and the smile.xx ❤️

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  4. This took me back in time… many moments stood before me. Yes, those that I haven’t forgotten, those when I poured my ache into a poem, those that made me wonder… why do people grieve when they lose a dear one who is old. And then I met death. You can’t imagine the thoughts I had at that time – blank mind – with just one thought – it’s all over! But it wasn’t, the next moment told me! And now I can write my own eulogy… it seems so simple because that moment taught me profound lessons. I’ve shared them in one of my posts.

    Thanks for sharing beautiful pictures with your thoughts. I am glad you learnt so much while writing 75 words! Even one sentence is enough for self eulogy. Yours is beautifully written.

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    1. Balroop, Do you have a specific post you can share with me? Your words are usually very powerful and I suspect you speak from experience. You have walked the talk. I am not sure what you mean by “And now I can write my eulogy…”. Like you say, profound lessons.

      I am cautious where I place my energy. Yet, I cannot really put into words how the Universe sends me messages. I am usually pragmatic, yet possibly where I should pay attention. I don’t know whether this makes sense.

      Wow, one sentence for a self-eulogy! A challenge. Thank you for sharing kind and thought-provoking words.xx

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  5. 75 words to sum up my life? Wow, that’s a difficult challenge. I’ve never written an eulogy nor thought about writing my own. I’ll let that idea percolate for a while before [if?] I try this. Most interesting post.

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    1. 75 Words to sum up my thoughts was definitely a challenge. I may not have initially chosen to do this exercise, although, it turned out to be a positive experience. I would love to read your spin on this Ally, if you choose to try it.🙂

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  6. Oh, Erica, that must have been quite the challenge! But, a rewarding one as you prove in this post. Like a blurb or elevator pitch for a book, these 75 words have to portray a book-long, or in your case a life-long journey! I can see how it made you rethink life and prioritize the impressions you want to leave behind.

    I’ve been aware of my mortality for at least three decades. Maybe a topic for one of my own blog posts one day? No taboos here. Not a fun topic, but imminent for all.

    Lovely photos as well. I remember the one with the red-rimmed flower from Instagram. Such a special specimen.

    Like yours, our lives have been on hold during this pandemic. When you live on the road and travel is your passion and life, pandemics surely prevent such a thing. 😦 But, we are happy to be healthy and comfortable.

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    1. I cannot imagine how you write your pitch for a book in a few short words. I sometimes wonder whether some of us are more aware of our mortality and others are mostly in denial. Liesbet, interesting how you say, not a fun topic. I did shed a few tears when I began writing down some thoughts. When I gave it more thought, it turned into a positive experience on my past and how I still want to live my life. I would love to read what you may write, with your thoughtful approach to life. Really nice to hear you are all well. I look forward to reading my inbox about your recent experiences. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Take care.💕

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  7. Oh, man, I wish I was as smart as Miriam. Or I at least wish that the dude who populates my thoughts at 1:00am-4:00am most nights, who only seems to think about regrets, could take a page from her book of self-forgiveness. I’d be so much better off. 🙂

    An interesting assignment, Erica! I’m not sure it’s one I could do with a straight face (fingers?) because I’d probably make a mockery of both my life and the assignment. Or worse, I’d use it as an excuse for each vendetta I’ve carried for years; revenge at all those junior high teachers who gave me poor grades! But seriously, good for you in doing it and finding a sense of satisfaction from it. Hubby’s just going to have to understand he gets equal billing here! – Marty

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    1. Marty, You may recall a recent conversation we had on your post about how I was debating having the grandchildren over for a sleepover. You encouraged me to do this (“re-introduce certain things”) and of course, I listen to Marty. 😇 An excellent experience. You brought to my attention how I was losing perspective and putting my life on hold. Ergo, this post. 😇 Thank you!

      Darn, on the middle of the night regrets. I would love to read your present day version of your eulogy, Marty, with many healthy years still left ahead for you. Witty, entertaining, with some underlying truths. If you are in the mood. Overall, it was a positive experience since I am reading it while above the grass. Take care!

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      1. I’m really so glad that how I said what I did made a difference for you, Erica. It’s the small things that come out of our thoughts sometimes, eh?

        I will give some thoughts to writing an obit for myself. The closest I’ve ever gotten to this was when I read about how someone had asked that his iPod be played on random prior to his memorial service as people were being seated. I thought about all the whacky songs, not to mention the Monty Python audio sketches, on my own iPod, and how hilarious (or possibly embarrassing for my survivors) that would be. i.e., “Always look on the bright side of life….” 🙂 I’ll keep you posted.

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        1. Funny about the random IPod music at the memorial. I just now You-tubed Monty Python’s “Always look on the bright side of life…”. I sent it on to my husband in case he had any sad thoughts about the whole eulogy thing. Hilarious! Thank you! You made my day, Marty.🙂

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  8. Good thoughts, Erika. Your post brought to mind this quote:

    Why do we put off living the way we want to live, as if we have all the time in the world? ~ Barbara de Angelis

    Here’s to making the most of today . . . every day!

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  9. I am listening to a book by Jen Hatmaker. Have just started so don’t have a lot of profound wisdom to share yet. But one idea she shared early on has resonated with me. Hatmaker said when thinking about and coming to terms with and loving our own bodies, it sometimes helps to refer to our body as a ‘she.’ Rather than an ‘it.’ And just in the past week that has helped me think more kindly of my incredible human body. Incredible not because it is so trim or fit, not my figure but my body…because of all of its inner workings!! I would never say to someone else about their body the things I think about my own sometimes. So this is helping. And kind of goes along with what do we like about ourselves. Pretty certain I wouldn’t write about it in my eulogy but I could see a connection to that thought and considering the kinds of things I like about myself.

    Loved the end bit and convo with your husband.
    Hopping over to read your eulogy at Leanne’s.

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    1. Jen Hatmaker’s book sounds fascinating. I hope you share more when you are finished listening to it, Leslie. I will let the ‘she’ and ‘it’ percolate. I don’t know why it is such a challenge for us to speak kindly to ourselves. The ladies in this group had the common feeling how it was difficult to say something nice about ourselves. It turned out to be a very positive exercise on many levels. Thank you for sharing your thoughtful comment.💕

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  10. My first experience of death was a pet budgie. I was too small to know what “died” meant and remember extreme puzzlement as to why the budgie was to be buried in the garden. I couldn’t see the point at all. I have never written a eulogy, for myself or anyone else. However, I used to be very good at presentation speeches at leaving dos, and was told mine were the best ever. I had the knack, apparently, of making someone who was possibly less than loved sound quite amazing without actually saying anything untrue. I think that would stand me in good stead for eulogies!

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    1. I greatly admire people who can give good presentations, Anabel. Especially when you can make anyone sound amazing. A true skill! For me, any public speaking is a fear greater than death. Thank you for sharing your comment, and making me smile.🙂

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  11. I’ve read about writing one’s own eulogy but never took the challenge… I’m glad you (and other blogging friends) did. You did a beautiful job. Fortunately it will be a long, long time before these words will need to be said. I’m glad you included the conversation you had with your husband… hilarious!

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    1. Thank you for your uplifting comment, Janis, and your good wishes. 😁 This exercise was challenging, yet a positive experience. The conversation with my husband gave me pause. I do want him to know he does not have third billing in the love category. He should know this by now. The husband/wife communication thing can be puzzling and hilarious at the same time!

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  12. Hi, Erica – I agree with Janis. The conversation with you and Chuck is hilarious. I can totally imagine the play-by-play! I also agree with you 100%. This was a very challenging but enlightening assignment.
    I’m still glad that I cheated! 😀

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    1. I mentioned to Janis how the husband/wife communication thing can be puzzling and hilarious at the same time. I don’t think there was a right or wrong way to do this exercise, Donna. Our unique spins on the assignment made it fun. I would not call your input cheating at all. You likely would have written all the same things. I think we each learned something. Fun, possibly in a morbid way. Oops, I mean uplifting. 😅❤️

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    1. This entire exercise was daunting. The 75 words and trying to say something nice about ourselves. I learned a great deal. In some ways more fun than I had anticipated. Dee, I hope you and your loved ones are well! 🙂

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  13. Hi Erica, wow what a challenge. I read your post then I had to head over to Leanne’s blog to read your eulogy before I replied here. Kindred spirit indeed! Your sentiments echo what I also value in life, finding the silver lining in each cloud, valuing kindness, seeing the best in people. You’re right, it’s hard to write nice things about ourselves, let alone in 75 words but you did a wonderful effort. Thank you for the very kind mention as well. This was a fun, and a beautiful, read. Amazing how something that initially seems depressing and sad can indeed be so life affirming. Sending hugs and love your way. xx 😇💕

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    1. Miriam, Coincidentally, I just now saw your Instagram photo of the beautiful daffodils in your garden. We are surrounded by beauty and silver linings. 🙂 At first, writing the eulogy (few words) felt like a daunting task. I started to think about it more afterwards and the lessons. Your paragraph was in my mind, especially that “Dubious Detour.” It did make a good story for you to share, Miriam. 😀 Yes, life-affirming.❤️

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  14. Dear E/E,

    I’ve tried my very best to not let much change my life so my eulogy might read: she was known for her spunk and sassy ways. An independent with a love of liberty, she charged up hiking hills during a pandemic and dared her family and friends to follow.

    Having said that, I would be quite hesitant to write my own eulogy but what a terrific exercise that elicits some squeamishness and hesitation. But it is in facing such things that our boundaries are stretched in a harmless and unconventional way.

    I loved the eulogy you wrote about yourself and how you and hubby shared some laughs!

    BTW, each time we take the corpse pose in yoga, we are asked to face or consider our own death. Quite sobering and empowering at the same time. Dust to dust! But spirit back to spirit!

    Loved your bravery and honesty! Well done.

    ❤️❤️❤️
    Susan Grace

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    1. I love your beginning paragraph, Susan, “…she charged up hiking hills during a pandemic…”. I was very hesitant about this exercise, too, and I am glad I did it. As with many things, the timing was right. Some of the restrictions are lifting, yet I have/had lost perspective. Not seeing my loved ones is huge, especially, when we are now able to see them. Of course, with smart precautions. The corpse pose has come up in recent conversation since my young granddaughters dabble in yoga. I tell them it is my favourite pose when I am too tired to play along with them. 🙂 Thank you always, Susan, for your exceptionally kind, thoughtful and encouraging words. They mean a great deal to me.❤️🙏😇

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  15. Hi Erica, I found this a very challenging exercise both from the content but also the length of 4 sentences. On reflection, I would have changed some things but it definitely was a worthwhile exercise and made me think about planning more for the inevitable. In my experience, I grew up living with my parents, 2 siblings, and two aunts and uncles in the one house. They were older and I remember as a 13 year old going to wake my aunt for breakfast only to find she had passed in her sleep. I will never forget that moment. There are many life lessons we can learn from our experiences and it was lovely to read your eulogy but also to read your learnings. Have a beautiful weekend ,my friend. xx

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    1. I agree with you, Sue. With more thought I would have changed some things. Still a good experience.

      Very much embedded in your mind forever when trying to wake your aunt. 13 is a sensitive, impressionable age when all is going okay. I cannot imagine the feelings.😔

      Overall it was a great exercise. I was in the company of wonderful, supportive women resulting in some laughs and some tears. A growth experience. I look forward to connecting soon. xx ❤️

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        1. It was a challenging exercise, Sue. Some of the comments helped me realize how sharing the eulogy was a part of the challenge. It is different if we think about a topic and write something down for our eyes only, versus sharing it with others. I look forward to connecting with you again, soon.xx

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  16. Hi Erica, I went over to read your eulogy. You did a good job writing it. I understand when you said it was hard writing something positive about yourself. But why not, you would be just honest about yourself. I liked the lessons you learned from this exercise.

    I remember a cartoon of the parents said something to her daughter who wrote a memoir. “If I knew you would write a book, we would nave been nice to you.” So if we pretend to stand at the end and look back, do we wish something we could have done or have not done?

    Another exercise is, what would you like to be written on your tombstone? That is even harder. You have to sum it up to a few words to describe your whole life. Or another exercise is, what would you like to be remember of?

    Very thoughtful post and I’m glad you and your husband had a good laugh at that. Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Miriam, Very funny about the daughter writing the memoir. I found the 75 words challenging. I cannot imagine writing one line on a tombstone. Overall, this experience was very positive and timely. I was losing perspective, especially with visiting loved ones. With some of the restrictions lifted in our area we can visit in a smart, cautious way. I hope all is okay with you and your loved ones. I know it has been a challenge for you to visit them. Take care. 💕

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      1. Erica, I used to do the 99 words flash fiction. I got busy and don’t do it regularly. Yes, it’s a challenge to write what you want to include in a story with the limited words.
        I also submitted a 81 words flash fiction to an anthology. That website has a 50 words flash fiction challenge also.

        At this point, I don’t know when I can see my granddaughters. Just stay in touch with them. Hope you’re doing well. ❤

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  17. Hi Erica – wonderful post … and ideas that have come out in your post – and yours is perfect … well at least I think so. I wrote one for an elderly friend I used to visit in the Nursing Centre where my mother and uncle had both been and died … she had had a really horrid life – and then ended up with a variety of illnesses – she spent 14 years in the one room without family or friends … she was grateful for her staff, my mother’s staff too, and for my visits with a couple of others whom I involved. They were at her funeral and got included and thanked … she was at peace and that was the main thing for her … it had been a happy ending – she’d turned 80 and we’d celebrated … not knowing she would go the next day – she enjoyed talking about the ‘get together’ and then passed quietly along her next journey …

    Thanks – this has made me think and I’ll be back to re-read and read the other entries … and as Miriam says … wonderful you and hubby were laughing together – the best way … take care and here’s to many more years to come – Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary, Thank you for sharing a very poignant story about your friend in the Nursing Centre. Always a reminder how many people have a difficult and lonely life. You also remind me how small acts of kindness and visits can make a huge difference. Appreciated more than words can ever say.

      My husband and I did laugh about this, humour and dealing with a sensitive subject. Thank you for your thought-provoking comment and your kind, supportive wishes.xx

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  18. I think everyone should do this exercise, Erica. What wonderful lessons. I especially liked #7 and #8.

    I wrote my eulogy when my daughter was born, so about 37 years ago. I think it ended up being about 2 handwritten pages. (I need to find it!). I remember the experience well and that what I wanted to convey was love and gratefulness – not so much what I did, but how blessed I was by the people in my life. No regrets.

    I’ve been struggling with this pandemic. I feel like I’m spinning and constantly dizzy! And I’m usually a positive person so I’m not equipped to deal with this, though who is? I need to focus a bit on using this time wisely. Thank you for that. ❤

    (And I love that exchange with your husband, so funny.)

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    1. I agree with you, Diana, now that I have done this exercise. I realized I was losing perspective and living life in limbo. A timely subject for me.

      A huge, wow, on conveying these beautiful thoughts to your precious, newborn daughter. ❤️ I am with you on “…focus a bit on using this time wisely.” I believe I needed a reminder right about now. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Take care.❤️

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  19. Hi Erica,

    You did a beautiful job, rising up to the challenge. Your post is thought-provoking and 75 words doesn’t offer much room. But sometimes concise is better than rambling. Death is nothing new to our family. Years ago, we had several friends who died of various cancers at the age of 47. My boss back then died at 60 from brain cancer out of the blue and he was a professional business speaker, one of the most intelligent people I’d ever met. So tragic. When my son was 14 in Boy Scouts, one of his best friends at the same age, committed suicide. This was shocking to all who knew Peter and his family. My daughter knew a boy who did counseling with her at a summer camp who also committed suicide. Our children have dealt with death more than my husband and I ever did at their age, let alone in our entire life. But this doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with it. I’m not ready to leave anytime soon, and as you said, watching the news gives a grim picture. It’s frightening. And as we grow older, mortality stares us in the face. Living life really is about embracing each new day that is truly a gift. Anyway, I may try the challenge, so thank you for sharing your thoughts and your gorgeous photos. One thing I’m grateful for is getting to know you. Hugs! 💗💗

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    1. Hi Lauren, Wow, “Death is nothing new…” says a great deal. Unexpected and tragic deaths are forever memorable and life changing for the survivors, the loved ones.

      You made me smile since I also use the line “I’m not ready to leave anytime soon.” I believe the news has been affecting all of us with the grim picture.

      I would be interested to read what you would say in a eulogy, Lauren, with your gift of words.💕 I am surprised how it turned out to be a positive experience, putting some clarity and perspective into my life. I am glad I rose to the challenge. Of course, in retrospect I would have changed some of the wording. I learned a great deal. Thank you for your kind, thoughtful note. I am really grateful our paths crossed.💕

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  20. Erica, I read Leanne’s post and all of the responses from you guys with a lot of interest. Writing your own eulogy is quite an introspective exercise that can take you to places you may not want to visit. I applaud each of you for having the courage to take an honest look at how you see yourself. Your list of lessons learned speaks directly to me. I especially like #2 and getting out of your comfort zone. It isn’t easy to ‘own’ all parts of yourself, but doing so is what leads to acceptance and few regrets. Personally, if I leave this earth an examined soul, satisfied that my good was good enough, and those who loved me best remember me kindly, that is what truly matters. As always, thank you for the beautiful photos and thought-provoking post.

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    1. Suzanne, Most of us found this exercise challenging, yet positive and ultimately fun. I love some of the entertaining spins to the words. One of the key points was to say something positive about ourselves, often difficult. I love your words “…an examined soul…”. I was surprised how this exercise brought some perspective and clarity into my life right now. I would love to read how you would interpret this exercise if you are ever in the mood. Thank you for your kind and supportive words.xx ❤️

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  21. I love this post—such an insightful assignment. I would add “perky,” “uplifting,” and “a joy to know” if they weren’t among your 75 words. What resonates with me (and has for a long time) from your lessons learned is not to put one’s life on hold. The knowledge that we will die is our a ‘get out of jail free’ card. The best time to open the door to the cages we’ve built around ourselves is now. Live your dreams while you are able.

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    1. Wow, Lisa, you say this very well “The best time to open the door to the cages we’ve built around ourselves is now.” Your words evoke goosebumps. There are examples and possibly a term for when the cage door is open, yet the animal/human/creature still believes I am caged inside. Profound analogy.

      Thank you for your kind, supportive and thoughtful words. They mean a great deal.❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I do love this exercise. For me, it is about living, not dying. If you don’t like what your eulogy is saying while you are still alive, there is still time to change your life so your eulogy reflects the life you intend to be living. I once read 2 obits on the same day that couldn’t have been more opposite – the first one glowed about the woman’s commitment to friends, family and causes. The second one (much shorter) said the woman loved golf and shoe shopping. I know which one I’d like to be written about me!

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting on what we can learn from obits, Deb. You are right how while we are still alive, our story is still in a state of flux. It turned out to be a positive, life-affirming exercise with some humour and entertainment thrown in. The best kind of life. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  23. What an interesting exercise. Yes definitely not easy. My beloved father, who died recently last November wrote a eulogy for himself which covered his professional life. The thing is, he wrote it years ago. A decade ago. And then rewrote it and kept perfecting it. And finally, it was published where he wanted it when he died, and it listed all the professional events which were so important to him to remembered for. A personal one is much harder, no doubt.

    While we lived in SE Asia, we were exposed to a completely different approach to death. The belief that life and death are intertwined and that it is only the physical body that dies. The spiritual presence remains. There are small shrines in every Vietnamese house for relatives and loved ones that have died.. and in Indonesia, offerings of flowers and other things are put out every day twice a day to keep the spirits happy.

    So interesting….

    Peta

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Peta, First, sincere condolences about your Father’s passing last year. He sounds like he was a fascinating man and he lived a very full life.

      You and Ben know first hand how much truth and wisdom we gain from other cultures and many of the overlapping belief systems. Like you say, very interesting.

      I was initially wary about writing my own eulogy. It ended up being a very positive life-affirming experience. Speaking about life-affirming, I saw some of your recent Instagram photos. A stunning setting! You look happy, healthy and beautiful!💕

      Like

    2. I love this way of living – knowing that life and death are intertwined. Small shrines to honor a loved one who has died is lovely. In my family, each of us has a vase of fresh gladiolas in our homes – our mom’s/grandmom’s favorite summer flower.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Hi Erica/ Erika: I read your eulogy and the other bloggers’ on Leanne’s site a couple of days ago. It’s an interesting exercise and a challenge with the limit on words. Thank you for sharing the ten lessons you learned and your dialogue with your husband. I haven’t written any eulogy. I had a near-death experience when I was nine. I was old enough to remember it and to appreciate life ever since. The shutdown due to the pandemic hasn’t stopped me from making the most of every day. Have a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Natalie, I am a bit behind responding since I have been away. Very scary about a near death experience! Likely, life changing. I try to make the most of every day, although, as someone mentioned to me, the cage door has been opened and I have been hesitant to venture out, even in a careful way. Especially to visit elderly loved ones. I greatly appreciate you sharing your thoughtful comment.🙂

      Like

  25. It was an interesting exercise wasn’t it? Weirdly I didn’t find it at all depressing, but rather, as you’ve said, life-affirming. I thought you did a fabulous job with yours – it really brought out your warmth – but I loved everybody’s. When my husband read mine he had the same reaction – what have you said about me? My daughter (who didn’t want to read it) said does it have to always be about you? Well, yes…in this circumstance that’s kinda the point!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jo, I loved joining you on this near death experience.🙂 Your eulogy still makes me smile. I liked everyone’s contribution. Fun, entertaining, thoughtful. In retrospect, I would change some of my wording. Likely, not my problem in the distant future. I also got the impression my family did not want to read it. And, yes, it does have to be about you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This was quite the assignment, Betsy. Ultimately, interesting and fun. I am still trying to back pedal with not mentioning my husband first. I think he is teasing me, although I am not one hundred percent certain.🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Your Eulogy is beautiful and doing it with only 75 words! I think that would be the hardest part – putting your life down to just 75 words. I’ve never written my own eulogy.

    Your images are beautiful and the conversation you had with hubby at the end was funny.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did find the word count very challenging, Deborah. And trying to write something nice about myself. An uncomfortable feeling. My husband and I still laugh about him getting an honourable mention. His words not mine. I hope he is teasing me.🙂 I appreciate you sharing your stunning photos on Instagram. I think the most recent one is of the meteor. Wow!🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. ” in I loved this post, the humor and the honesty. It would be difficult. I am not sure which I liked more the insights you list or the Epilogue, that is filled with love. Thanks for modeling a daring spirit and not only taking up the challenge of a 75 word eulogy, but also for sharing the results.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michele, I really appreciate your kind, encouraging comment. Coming from you this means a great deal to me. You likely have many stories you could share on this subject. I found this to be a challenging exercise for many reasons. I did learn a great deal. I think my husband is teasing me on the “honourable mention.” We still laugh about it. I have been away for a couple of days and I know I have an email in my inbox with your recent post. I look forward to reading it. Thank you again for your thoughtful words.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. This was a tough exercise Erica and you handled it beautifully! I especially love the epilogue and felt the tears inside. You are such a beautiful soul! I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt like baling out but I’m glad we did it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it did help how we were in it together, Deb. Out of everyone’s comfort zone. I enjoyed everyone’s contribution. Your limerick still makes me smile.🙂 Thank you for helping make it a kind and safe environment to challenge ourselves and share.xx 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  29. OMG!, Erica, what an incredible exercise and I’m impressed how not only did you face the challenge, you took it to a whole new level! Your post about how to write a eulogy becomes one on how to live life! It’s all-encompassing and your ten lessons learned are heartwarming and ones to which I can relate perfectly. Your epilogue had me in laughter, and then finally joined you with inner tears … so many of those at the moment. with much love & hugs xx ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was quite the exercise, Annika. I did feel uncomfortable about the whole thing. As you know, this is often when we learn the most lessons. I am glad I did it. You shared the exceptionally beautiful poem “My sister is not a statistic” recently. Unfortunately, I do think death is on our minds subconsciously and staring at us. This exercise also brought to my attention how I am putting my life on hold in more ways than is necessary. I need some perspective. For example, I am planning to see my Mother next weekend. Ferry travel and interacting with a few more people. Thank you for your thoughtful response. Hugs to you and take care. xx❤️

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Erica, one sentence stands out here and it’s something I’ve started considering in the last week or so: ‘I am putting my life on hold in more ways than is necessary.’ It is so easy to be held captive by fear. You do right to see you mother and I wish you a wonderful time, exciting and no doubt slightly nerve-wracking in travel and the joy of you two being together. Have a most speical time. I’ve decided to dare go out to a couple more shops, my garden longs for some new plants and I look forward to buying paint for the guest room! Here’s to life, my friend! ❤️

        Liked by 2 people

  30. The reason people never write their own eulogy, aside from the fact that they have passed, is that we are typically our own worst critics. We see the goodness in others yet fail to recognize the blessing we are to them. You are/were my treasure LUL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Honourable mention?” You do make me smile and laugh every day. Possibly one of the secrets of a good marriage. In this exercise you do not want to be the headliner, at least for a very long time. Thank you for your kind words and back at you. We don’t want to get too mushy. It is a public forum. XOXO ❤️

      Like

  31. This post has taken me down a deep, unexpected rabbit hole this morning. I’ve heard of this unusual exercise, although I’d never tried it. Just the thought was more than a little uncomfortable.

    But of course after I read Leanne’s post after your’s, I knew I had to try it, and it was an extraordinary experience. Thank you! And yes, you captured yourself beautifully in your words! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne, The thinking about and writing the eulogy did take me down a few paths. I was not sure how to approach it. In retrospect, I would have added more humour to the actual eulogy. The 75 words is also a challenge. I think you mentioned once, how a question sounds like it may have a simple, straight forward answer/approach. Then I end up in a different direction with many different layers. The ‘sharing’ with others is another layer. I always learn something. Thank you for your supportive comment.💕

      Like

      1. You make a good point about the use of humour. Eulogies with a healthy dose of levity are my favourite. I have 2 nieces who had the congregation in stitches from their eulogy of my mother. They captured her beautifully in all her quirkiness.

        Yes, I learned a lot too from that exercise. As in most of my writing, where I thought I was going is not where I ended up.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’m working on my mom’s eulogy right now. My brother and I are going to share the task together. And we both said to each other “we just need to tell a tale or two about mom – and the congregation will be laughing amidst the tears.” That’s a good way to share our love about our mom.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I couldn’t agree more, Pam. At the end of my mom’s funeral, the priest said that after hearing everyone’s stories, he wished he had known my mom when she was alive because she sounded like a lot of fun. Isn’t that a wonderful way to be remembered? ❤️

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I cannot imagine the emotional roller coaster you are on, Pam. Good memories, yet exhausting. I still see the picture in my mind you posted on Instagram of your Mom roller skating. Hugs. ❤️

            Like

  32. I just read about this but it was in order to make you live your life properly, as you want it to be remembered. Forget which book. Very interesting post (and I love the end exchange with your husband) #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lydia, I had not really heard about this until Leanne proposed this challenge. I did learn a great deal and I am ultimately glad I wrote something. My husband and I still bring up the “honourable mention” daily and laugh about it.🙂

      Like

  33. I love the conversation with your husband. That is the best! I have done a similar exercise of writing my own eulogy before as a way of honing in on my values, understanding how I hope to be remembered. It was a worthwhile, but difficult, challenge. I enjoyed reading yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christie, This is the first time I have heard about writing my own eulogy. I found I learned many lessons and like you say, honing in on my values. I now highly recommend it, even if you decide to not share it with anyone. Thank you for your kind, supportive comment.💕

      Like

  34. Hi Erica – I’m not sure if I feel bad or delighted now???? I did feel bad that some of you felt quite confronted by the challenge, but also delighted that you all stepped up and that you all found it interesting and engaging. I’ve wondered since why we all have such different attitudes towards death – then your comment about covid-19 and it’s impact where you are made a lot of sense (it’s so “nothing” here where I am) and also the early loss of family members etc that would have been brought to mind for others.
    Still, I’m so pleased that you it inspired you to write this – and your husband made me smile – he sounds exactly like I do when I say stuff to my husband – after I die I want my ashes on the mantle with a glamour photo next to them – to remind him (and any women hoping to replace me) about how fabulous I was and how much he loved me! 😀 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, I am very glad you suggested this exercise for many reasons. I was surprised how it helped clarify my recent feelings and how I was losing perspective on living life. Especially when it comes to seeing my loved ones. One example is my Mother is elderly and ill. I have not gone to see her since Christmas since it means a ferry trip and interacting with more people. I know I would regret not taking this opportunity when some of the restrictions have been lifted. As long as we stay cautious and use common sense.

      Very funny about the glamour photo next to the ashes on the mantle. Your husband knows no one could ever replace someone as fabulous as you!xx😀

      Like

  35. Goodness me, what a LOT of discussion this blog post generated. We all are somewhat ‘frightened’ or ‘worried’ about our death…and yet, logically we KNOW it will happen.

    I think the word count did make it a challenge. I have written similarly in self-compassion and other self-development on-line courses I have taken.

    It is hard to narrow down what you would like to be remembered for…

    A very honest post Erica.
    Denyse #mlstl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Denyse, You are inspirational on how you approach life with all of the challenges you have faced. 💕 I believe we all could work on self-compassion and self-development throughout our lives. The eulogy was a challenging exercise, and I am glad I did it. It gave me a new perspective, especially right now. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      Like

  36. Erica, I think this would be a very challenging assignment, as I mentioned on Leanne’s blog. Good for you for stepping up to the plate and writing your own eulogy (I think I would have been the one who opted out). It’s interesting, isn’t it, how these kinds of inward-looking exercises can yield really important insights? In your case, recognizing that too much of your life recently has been put on hold because of COVID was probably a big realization, and I’m so glad that you made arrangements to go visit your mom.

    Jude

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was definitely a challenging exercise on many levels. In retrospect, I would have said things differently and added some humour. The 75 words was limiting since I would leave out people/friends who mean a great deal to me. Like you say, Jude, many important insights. I know you and I have similar family values, and not seeing family during this time was very difficult. For many/most people.

      You likely saw the news segment on the day Dr. Bonnie Henry and Hon. Adrian Dix were beginning to open up the care homes. They were visibly emotional and it was very moving. They were aware how people’s health declines when they don’t see their loved ones. Especially, when some of the elderly do not truly understand the situation. They also forewarned us how elderly (ill) people can rapidly decline in four months. They wanted to prepare us for the changes.

      That entire segment helped me make some decisions on how I want to move forward. I look forward to connecting with you soon. 🙂

      Like

  37. Erika, what a thoughtful post. It’s not one that most people seriously think about. Death, yes, but not what we accomplished in life that we want people to know about. I love the metacognition piece of this, I think you’d call it, thinking about what you’re thinking. I’ll head over to Leanne’s too. Marsha Ingrao 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marsha, I love the word “metacognition.” I had not considered how I was doing this. I am now glad I did this exercise. It did help bring some perspective and clarity to recent events.

      Leanne is a very kind, interesting woman. You will enjoy meeting her and reading her blog. Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts.🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, she wrote back to me right away. We are doing guest posts on each others’ blogs. I look forward to spending some time getting to know both of you better through your blogs. 🙂 I enjoyed reading your eulogy. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Marsha, I just got back from a few days camping and I look forward to catching up with my blogging friends. I was communicating with Leanne, yesterday and she is very pleased how your blogs crossed paths. I look forward to reading your guest posts and staying connected. Thank you for your kind, supportive comment. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I hope you had a great time. Where did you go? I’m so pleased to have made contact with Leanne, too. I’m so excited to exchange guest posts. I’ve been out of contact with people, too. We decided to move to Prescott, AZ, so I drove the 9 hours and 41 minutes there to look at houses – 17 of them and back in 4 days. So I’m hoping to get back to normal – maybe the rest of this week. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I went into the Lower Mainland, about 100km outside of Vancouver. It also means a ferry ride. My primary goal was to see my Mother and Sister. This is our first get away since before Christmas. We were very mindful of social distancing and all of the precautions. Using our camper worked well. Wow, on planning your move and house hunting. Significant decisions to make. Take care and I look forward to staying connected. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Thanks, Erica/ka. I look forward to that, too. Now on to packing up nicknacks fo pictures next week. It sounds like everything went well. It’s hard to social distance with such close family!

              Liked by 1 person

  38. I read this when I was at the hair salon this morning Erica and wrote a long (intense) response, which got lost between the shampooing and the cutting. 🙂 But the gist is: I think everyone should write their eulogy once a year, starting about age 20. In our culture we try to ignore death, which is just nonsensical. We all are all born, and we all die. It’s part of “life” and reality. I think writing a eulogy in 75 words is humbling and revealing, and each of us could learn so much about ourselves by doing so. Like Kate says, are people really going to write down the companies they’ve worked for and the committees they’re on, or are they going to write down about the loves in their life, their spiritual quests, and the compassion and kindness they have shared? ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Darn about having to rewrite a response, Pam. Thank you for sticking with it and now with gorgeous hair. 🙂The eulogy was definitely a challenge, yet a very valuable experience. I always learn a great deal from the comments as we all do. A common thread is the quality of life and relationships versus the accomplishments. Like you say, Pam, the compassion and kindness they have shared.❤️

      Like

  39. What great observations, Erica! And I admit that writing my eulogy is not an exercise I’ve attempted – yet. I was really struck by #2: “Life’s greatest rewards are often found when I am feeling uncomfortable and taking risks.” How true … and I’d never really thought about that. I started jotting down all my life experiences that fit in that category – and I quickly ran out of paper! 🙂 And I have been richly rewarded with family, friends, and experiences.

    Thanks so much for sharing this very personal piece. I’m looking forward to giving it a whirl. ~Terri

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Terri, Just back from camping and I look forward to catching up with blogging friends. This past weekend, my sister and I went on the “Abbotsford Grind” similar to the “Grouse Grind” if you know the lower mainland, Vancouver area. Therefore, #2 fits in this category. Definitely out of my comfort zone. I have only recently met you and James and I can already see how you have been living almost your entire life taking risks and challenging yourselves. I love your words “richly rewarded.” Thank you for reading and your thoughtful comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Wonderful insights into a challenging task. I enjoyed the conversation between you and your husband. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me to take the plunge (so to speak). Abundant blessings, MW 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to meet you Mother Wintermoon, I did find writing my (too short) eulogy a challenging task, yet I am glad I did it. In real life, I would thank many more friends and family. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment. I look forward to visiting your blog and getting to know you better. 🙂 Erica

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Looking forward to knowing you better too! We all learn and gain so much from each other. I love the WP community. My welcome mat is out and my door is open. 🌻🙏🌻

        Liked by 1 person

  41. This is such an interesting concept and not one that I’d given much thought about. 75 words does seem to make it a more challenging task. I do think that I have trouble saying nice things about myself. Perhaps that’s a challenge in and of itself to undertake. My first experience with death was a cow of ours that died. I wrote about in on the blog back in its beginnings when I used to have a “Tales From My Past” series. My father-in-law wrote a eulogy many years before his death. A celebration of life to be read. I shared that one on the blog as well. I think I may try this exercise. I can appreciate all of the lessons that you learned from it, Erica! I hope that you and your family are doing well. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amy, I found this exercise a very challenging task, yet I learned a great deal from it. This past weekend had specific events because I had an epiphany, my perspective changed on how I had been living my life these past few months. I was putting life on hold and living in a state of limbo. It is a long story, since I ended up on many adventures and seeing loved ones I had not seen since before Christmas. I would be very interested to read how you would approach this exercise, Amy. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.xx💕

      Liked by 1 person

  42. One of my favorite college courses was called “Death, Dying & Religion.” Fascinating stuff…and one of our assignments involved planning our own funeral. Poor 19-year-old me was mortified, lol. But it was an interesting exercise at the time. I think it really allows you to take stock of your life (or in this case, the path you are hoping your life will take).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Mark, I cannot imagine thinking or planning a funeral at age 19. This was a very challenging task for me (all of us) yet we learned a great deal. I needed more words than 75 since I have people I love a great deal in my life. No where to mention them. Thankfully, I still have time to show them.🙂

      Like

    1. This was a challenging exercise, Sheryl. I am glad I did it. I learned a great deal and re-evaluated how I was living parts of my life. Especially, recently. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

      Like

  43. What a challenging assignment! I will have to think about that one. I love your hubby’s reaction to the eulogy. I think my hubby would react in a similar way (with hidden, untalked-about lumps in our throats). We will celebrate 42 years next month. Writing it in under 75 words makes it even more difficult!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a challenging exercise, Laurie, yet I am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone on this one. Congratulations on celebrating 42 years next month. You and your husband likely have unspoken layers of communication after all of this time. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

      Like

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