An epitaph, much like a postscript to a letter, is a short thought or quote as a PS to the life you lived. You will find an epitaph on a headstone, grave marker, plaque, or obituary. A typical epitaph includes the name, years of birth and death, then a short quote. Oftentimes, it is a Bible verse that could bring comfort to the family. An epitaph can be humorous as well. For instance, you will find the quote “I will NOT be right back” on Merv Griffin’s headstone. Merv was a talk show host and icon in show business and there would be no more commercial breaks for Merv.
Plan Your Epitaph Day shows up on calendars on both April 6 and November 2 (Day of the Dead). Why leave your epitaph to your family? Get started on it now and add your thoughts to the file with your Advance Care Directive. You DO have a file, right? More on that later…
Shane Fischer shared his thoughts on writing your own epitaph. “Why write your own epitaph? That’s easy to answer – so others don’t have to do it for you. I am kidding of course, but there is some truth to that statement. I believe that every generation at some point believes they will discover immortality before it is too late; at least that is what I thought. However, acknowledging your own mortality doesn’t have to be as chilling as it sounds. Writing your own epitaph allows you to take stock and reflect not only on what you leave behind tomorrow, but what you are contributing today. There is a universe outside of ourselves that if put into perspective, focuses on what our lives mean to us. Writing an epitaph does not have to be morbid, just as one hopes a funeral does not have to be sad and morbid. It can be a celebration of life and fulfillment of your individual cause. By seeing an end, we might see the road more clearly. Makes sense, right? We decide what is meaningful by what we want to last beyond us. We also decide what is personally important to us and how we want others to remember us. The sooner we can define these ideas, the sooner we can live them out. Then, our lives truly become ours.”
A few ideas to get your creative juices flowing: “Died happy”. “Until we meet again.” “A life well-lived.” Ritchie Valens’ epitaph pays homage to his song, “Come on let’s go”.
Dr. Seuss’s epitaph has been repeated over again in many situations: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” ( Loveliveson.com )
Whether it is serious, humorous, a Biblical verse, or good advice, a well-written epitaph sums up your life in a few short sentences.
Shane Fischer is the creator of Inkknell.com. He focuses his creative skills on commemorative poetry and memorial writing to celebrate our memories and special occasions. Check out his website to see examples of his work. Shane can assist in getting your obituary or epitaph written; do it yourself and know it will be ‘right’ for you.