Creating My Eulogy & Epitaph


Musings / Thursday, November 12th, 2020

Whenever I fill up an application form, I am asked about my religion. Officially, I am a Hindu. But at heart, I am a Buddhist. I have been fascinated with Buddhism for the last two decades – not just because the Buddha was an atheist – but because it works so much with death.

I have always been fascinated by death. People who don’t know me think I have some morbid fascination with dying and am pessimistic. That’s so far from the truth that I can only smile in a very Buddha-like manner. 

I am fascinated by death because it teaches me about life. 

The more I think about death and dying, the more I am alive. 

When we consider the fragility of our lives, it’s almost ridiculous that we think we have time. 

The Buddha considers death as the greatest manifestation of impermanence. Bear with me here. I am not trying to sound like his ardent disciple. I love going to cemeteries or graveyards because they fill me with an indescribable peace – all those people who lived, loved, danced, suffered – all of them come to the same place. That’s the part that hits me the most – our illusion of separatedness is laid bare in death. 

Death meditation is powerful and liberating. Especially because at a symbolic level, we don’t want to think about death. We shun it. We shrink from mentions of death. We don’t want to contemplate that beautiful shadow that lights up our lives. 

This year has brought us closer to death, and no wonder, everywhere I go, people just want this year to end. 

This year WILL end. But are we going to remain the same, thinking that life is long and that tomorrows exist?

It’s a question that has been on my mind. How do we use our suffering to transform us into those places of healing? 

I thought about this. I thought about what my life means to me right now. I can sit here and faff away, thinking I have all the time in the world. Or. Or I can start writing my eulogy. 

This is my eulogy. This is my epitaph. 

I want my grave not to be dust or earth, but filled with the stars of my boundless sky.

I want to be known for:

Filling our world with kindness 

Celebrating the beauty in our relationship

Choosing courage over fear

Being beautifully imperfect

Being empathetic in action

Creating corners of love

Living with the shadows but looking at the light

Failing gently, but always trying

Opening up my heart, pieced together, stitched, maybe, but held with compassion

Being an idiot, but the most adorable idiot whom you can easily forgive 

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When I go to bed these days, I wonder if I have done something to make someone smile. Did I talk to someone? Say hi? Would someone’s sky have one more star because of me? Did I build beauty in the smallest way? In myself? In others?

If so, I feel I am ok with not waking up the next day.

What would your eulogy or epitaph be? What do you think about my ‘fascination’ with death?

12 Replies to “Creating My Eulogy & Epitaph”

  1. Great post!

    We frantically run around avoiding death but have forgotten how to live. What is truly important to us. That we are all connected.

    Tell your love ones that you love them each time you see or talk to them.

    A customer once wanted to give me a tip for helping her. I told her no thank you, just do something kind for someone else that day.

    I love your eulogy and epitaph! It is beautiful like you.

    Hugs.

  2. ‘Being beautifully imperfect’ .
    I love this. This is one of my goals in life. Not to be perfect but to try to enjoy being imperfect.

    I think that Death can be beautiful. And I wish that we as humans wouldn’t shirk from it.

    1. True, Poodle. I thought of you when I wrote that. How much we desire control and the need to just define everything we do in our lives from that point of control. We will get there together.

  3. Ah, dear one. A lovely meditation. From this vantage point of 78 years, death is not a far off event, but something not far over the horizon either. And, as I travel along, I find that your wisdom is correct: practice kindness at the personal level. At this point, I’m probably not going to fix any of the world’s problems single handed. No surprise then that it’s all about family, friends and neighbors. The people who surround me all the time are where I can do some small things which will lighten their loads and which will be my legacy. And that’s more than enough for a life to achieve.

    P.S. Just so you all will know, it is my wish to croak out in the world in the middle of a final adventure. That will be a good death and I will be content.

    P.P. S. Being in Covid lockdown and unable to travel really sucks. This too shall pass and Karen and I will be out in the world again, hopefully sooner than later.

    Dave

    1. Dave, how do you make me smile each time? Such a precious gift you have – making others laugh. I think we have many adventures still yet. We might be croaking on our aching knees, but I think we will. And yes, I am learning about kindness from you and Karen. You both are my lifelong teachers.

  4. This post was truly mystical . Usually when the word’death’ is heard, we eschew but it is the ‘death ‘ which makes us vigilant about life and realizes that there is an end to every life. And your epitaph is lovely!

    1. I agree, Srushthi. Thank you for reading this. I like to use my obsession with death to help me understand life. Buddhists spend long hours meditating on this – sigh – I am not there yet.

  5. I too think of the good things of the day when I go to bed. I hope I made someone’s heart glad. I hope I made even an inch of difference somewhere. Just as we place implicit trust in mornings everyday I sleep trusting I did some of these things. This is such a timely, soulful post. Loved it.

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