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Editorial

Gentle Virtues


The Final Word



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03/01/2010 - Do you ever want to have the final word? I have and I remember one particular time that I wanted it badly.

Years ago when my youngest still sat in his high chair, my husband came home from work to a tidy-haired family happily welcoming him into our neat and orderly, polished home. Candles flickered on the table and the evening meal warmed gently on the stove. My tall, quiet husband took it all in, washed his hands and proceeded to the table. Passing by our fridge, he noticed months of dust gathering on its top and suggested that I wipe it sown sometime. Well, I began to steam with the broccoli!

Suddenly I felt the urge to take out the trash. I grabbed the garbage bag and tied it with as much intensity as a calf roper would tie a calf and headed out into the frigid cold, leaving my family sitting at the table in silence.

Now mind you, I grabbed for the first pair of shoes and coat I could find and that happened to be Randy's lace-up work boots and his flannel work jacket. I stomped to the large garbage bin, or at least I tried to stomp. My feet were having a difficult time staying in those unlaced boots! Still too steamed to return home, I decided to walk around the block and cool off. My bare hands placing the buttons in the wrong jacket holes were certainly cooled off and so were my chattering teeth that were trying to tell every lit lamp pole my story from my very prideful point of view.

One of my neighbors slowly drove by and waved to me. I felt embarrassed, really embarrassed. I chattered, "Look at myself! My boots don't fit. My jacket doesn't fit and my poor attitude is unfitting as well!

I returned home and slowly turned the door handle. My eyes met my little daughter's big blue eyes. She didn't say a word. She didn't have to. Her eyes said it all. They said, "I want my real mommy back."

Recently my friend's mom passed away suddenly and she was asked to write an obituary. As she spoke from her heart, it hit me that one day I will not be able to have the final word. My survivors will.

The word "obituary" comes from the Latin root word "obitus" which means "death", something we will all experience. In one definition for "obituary", Noah Webster describes it as a "notice of the death of a person, often accomplished with a brief biographical account of his character" -- a biographical account, not an autobiographical one.

Do you wonder what will be said about you after you die? Are you living the story that you want to leave behind? I encourage you to live an inspiring life and give your survivors the opportunity to write and inspiring last word about you. I'll join you -- without my husband's work boots and flannel jacket.

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