Do you ever give thought to the epitaph you want on your tomb stone? Or, do you ever wonder what your surviving relatives (always thought that was a strange connotation. Like they survived your dying?) would inscribe about you?
Apparently the possibilities are wide open.
Here lies the body
of Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.
Memory of an accident in a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery
Here lays Butch,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.
In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery
I was somebody.
Who, is no business
Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont
And my favorite,
"I told you I was sick!"
In a Georgia cemetery
On a more serious note, I think I know what mine may turn out to be, if I live that long.
My wife and granddaughter (then 5 years old) talk about me a good bit. In a loving effort to help our granddaughter understand the people in her world, her grandmother will often explain other people’s behavior. I’m no exception. One evening, in anticipation of the coming morning – my granddaughter asked, “Will granddaddy Kim be here in the morning?” My wife explained, “No. He’ll leave early for work, before you are awake. He goes to work every day to make money so we can have food, a house and other nice things.”
That next morning early, I walked into the bedroom after my shower, to find them both snuggled into our bed, resting in the darkness. I dressed for work quietly, in the dark, and heard them talking.
Granddaughter: There’s granddaddy Kim… in the dark.
Grandmother: Yes. He knew we would be resting and didn't want to bother us. He’s thoughtful like that. He’ll go down and feed the dogs and let them out, too. So they can run up and join us for a snuggle. Isn’t it nice of him to do that for us?
So, as I’m thinking about how my life is impacting others, I’m hearing my wife tell my grandchild that I am a thoughtful, considerate provider. I've worked hard to be a lot of things: an excellent salesperson, a reliable employee, successful in business, an able public speaker.... But here I am, looking from the point of view of my family and I find that I am seen in a different light.
Provider. Considerate. Thoughtful.
Honestly, that is an epitaph, be it written on the stone above my grave or on the folds of the hearts of those who remember me, that suits me just fine.