“Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell that tale.” ~ Robert Falcon Scott
My wish was to have a life full of travel, adventure, blissfulness, and mystery.
If only those were my words. But instead, I started my obituary more like this:
Apple. That was my first word. Remembering that has always been important to me. My pawpaw’s apple trees were my first memories of nature, how it is so mighty and gives back. Getting to choose what kind I wanted and how each family member ate them differently.
Oh, and the grape vine that was across the street. While we were out playing, we could just ride our bikes up under the vine and have our fill of them. As an adult, I miss the simplicity of those moments, a convenience that I had no idea would not follow me throughout my life.
I loved the life I was given, though it was without as much calculation as I probably should’ve given it. It just seemed right to let the winds of these times carry my soul and mind like a leaf caught in a hurricane.
That is how I started writing my obituary—an odd writing exercise to some, I am sure.
But being a healthcare worker in this pandemonic time, you can’t not try to plan your advance directive. In January, my best friend Skye passed away suddenly, and this month my friend’s mother has as well. In times like these, you try to prepare and recreate yourself to fit a new reality that you never hoped would happen.
That said, here I am, making a playlist on YouTube titled “Music for my Funeral” so there is no question as to what I want to have played. I hope to be buried in a green cemetery and become food for a tree, which I hope would be a weeping willow. And most of all, someone has to read the Edgar Allen Poe poem Annabelle Lee.
We all have our thoughts about what we want, but it’s unsettling for me to write them down. Currently on the stories I am watching, there is a wedding going on in classic dramatic Salem style. How many weddings have we seen on TV and in real life that just move us to love deeper? It’s such a contrast to what I am trying to write, yet fitting.
I ask myself, why am I writing my obituary when I haven’t even written my wedding vows yet?
Currently single with so much more life to live, but as Robert Falcon Scott stated, “I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage…which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman.”
This chapter of my story will involve beaches, breezes, and quarantine. The discovery of what I am capable of, the hardihood, the endurance, and the courage that I truly have inside me. The way I handle the current times, the choices for my safety and those around me.
It’s hard to see what our story is supposed to be. Everyday we are living it and every little decision is leading us down a path to a great adventure, even if we can’t see through the tree or if we are out of breath on the path.
I am not printing my obituary yet, as it still has plenty more revisions to go through, as well as my wedding vows. I understand that it could be preserved that I am comparing a vow to an obituary, but the way I see it is that vows are your expression of how much you love someone and your obituary is how much you love your life and yourself—if you take the time to write it.
Robert Falcon Scott knew the end was coming on his expedition. In those freezing moments, he reflected on what he wished for and what was happening. No matter how you dig into his life and judge his choices, his last entry is an echo to all humanity, “I should have had a tale to tell…these rough notes and our dead bodies must tell that tale.”
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