April 6th celebrates a unique worldwide “holiday”. it is Plan Your Epitaph Day. This gives us a unique opportunity to brainstorm what we would like to have displayed on our tombstone or on another marker that will offer an indication of who we were and the legacy we left.
Here are some interesting epitaphs:
Mathematician Ludolph van Ceulen was the first person to calculate the value of pi to 35 decimal places. So, it’s fitting that he would request it to be inscribed on his tombstone.
“I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”
The British prime minister, Winston Churchill, was also a Nobel laureate for literature, so it’s no wonder he wrote his own epitaph. While it doesn’t appear on his tombstone, it is a fitting self-tribute.
The married comedy duo of Gracie Allen and George Burns performed together for 36 years in vaudeville, radio, and television. After her death in 1964, it would be another 30+ years before they were reunited.
“There goes the neighborhood.”
It’s hard to think of a better epitaph for stand-up comedian Rodney Dangerfield (1921–2004), known for his self-deprecating humor and “I don’t get no respect” schtick.
The list goes on and on. What will your epitaph be? Will yours be funny or will it highlight your legacy? What will your legacy look like? More importantly, how are you creating your legacy now?
I am reminded of The Dash poem by Linda Ellis. Here is another resource for more information on the poem.
The poem by Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.
To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?
Planning your Dash
Planning how your life will play out is not morbid, but rather it offers you the opportunity to form the life you want and to create the legacy you wish to leave. If you need guidance on how that looks, I can help you design a more joyful life; one where you construct the life and legacy you desire. You are always welcome to connect with me and see how I can be of assistance to you and your life’s goals. Let’s start that conversation.