What legacy will you leave behind?

Now I’m not being maudlin here, but as those with experience of breast cancer know, having looked at death squarely in the face, we know that dying is something we all have to prepare for eventually, so why not now?

This is a belief shared by author Jan Phillips who writes the following:

My Mom and I wrote our obituaries a few weeks ago. “Now why do you want to go and do a thing like that?” she asked when I came up with the idea. I said I thought it was good to give some thought to death, particularly our own.  I think it helps us clarify what’s really important,  and see if what we’re doing with the time we have  is what we REALLY want to be doing with it. “Plus,” I said, “if people are eventually going to be writing an obituary on you, don’t you want to have some input?”
“I guess so. Let me see it,” she said, as I handed her a sheet of questions.

These are the questions we answered:
How would I like to be described?
What am I proud of?
What facts are important?  
Who did I leave behind?
What exists because I was here?
What were my talents and how did I share them?
Who am I grateful for?
Who do I want to know I’ve gone and how shall they be notified?

We took about 15 minutes, then read our answers to each other. At the end of hers, she had included her computer password, her email contacts password and a note telling me where her vital info folder was. It wasn’t maudlin. We didn’t cry. We did it like a spiritual practice. A kindness for those left behind. And I now have a file called Obituaries, in case anyone needs to find mine.

True genius is the ability to ponder your own death as you live the most extravagant life you could ever imagine. It’s good to stay close to the edge. As somebody once said, “If you’re not on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.”

I love that list of questions Jan poses – very thought-provoking. If you were to write your own obituary today, how would you answer them? Do they give you pause for thought? For me, the question I will ponder today is what exists because I was here? What legacy can I leave? How can I fully use my talents and abilities to make a difference?

And how about you – what would legacy would you like to leave behind? Share your story here and inspire others.