Saturday, June 03, 2006

Writing Your Epitaph for An Ethical Will

In the last paragraph of Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, Dr. Gordon Livingston suggests that every written will should include one's personal "epitaph". I think writing your own epitaph is an especially worthwhile endeavor as you create an ethical will.

If you'd like to include your epitaph in your ethical will (and/or your legal will), complete this statement:

"I would like my epitaph to be ....."

It may come to you instantly ... or take days (or weeks!) of pondering. I recall doing this exercise back in the 1990's in combination with writing my own obituary and planning my life celebration -- all of which are helpful for contemplating one's mortality and uncovering fears of death that inhibit living your life fully.

At the end of his book, Dr. Livingston shared his own epitaph which, much to my surprise, was the same epitaph I had chosen for myself nearly ten years ago. From the words of Raymond Carver in his collection of poems, A New Path to the Waterfall:

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.

And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

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