Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Months ago, I skipped The 7 Habits ... and began with a borrowed copy of The 8th. All around me friends were writing their eulogies, and I was thinking about my obituary. Vastly different words. Eulogy. Obituary.

As I read Covey's The 8th Habit, I found myself rolling up my sleeves and doing the work. I culled through a year of scribbled appointments in my calendar and the box full of disheveled receipts in my office. I examined the trails of my own time alongside my husband's money, then made changes. People with worthy projects fell away from my "Giving To" list as I intentionally concentrated on people and passions closest to my heart.

Today, as I imagine my own funeral, the duo becomes a trio: Eulogy. Obituary. Legacy.

Obituary is math. Dates. Names. Spouse, children, siblings, in-laws, parents, workplace, hobbies. In print. Black easily-smudged soy-based-ink numbers and letters on not-so-white paper made from recycled newspapers. One photograph?

Eulogy is ceremony. Words written and shared by one or two people, probably from a podium, at the front of an empty or crowded room. Sentences spoken about me in the memorial service, phrases formally marking the passage of me, the end of one life here on earth. A neatly framed collection of photos? A bulletin board covered with snapshots?

Legacy is celebration. It is a collection of 'remember whens' easily shared, at the funeral luncheon, over a morning cup of coffee or a afternoon glass of wine, across a campfire, around a Thanksgiving table. The stories told about me by the people who shared in the living. The black-lettered words of obituary coming alive in the color and movement of shared memories.

Legacy is layered with innumerable voices
— a papier-mâché sculpture of me.


Legacy by Tim Belber
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson One definition of legacy is what someone feels, thinks and says when they hear your name. What are you doing today to build the legacy you want? TB


Interruption said...

What a beautiful way to express all three--obituary, eulogy and legacy. This is wonderful.
'Legacy is layered with innumerable voices
— a papier-mâché sculpture of me.' We all have the legacy of 'me'. I loved it. Take care.

Peace, Nico

Rich Proctor said...

What a thoughtful and beautiful post. I must admit that I never broke it down in that manner before, but I love your analysis. Think I will adopt it.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Oh what a beautiful way to learn the different meaning of words....Renee, if I'm ever to find an english teacher, will you be mine?
I wish the dictionaries would be just like this, a poem, a picture, a feeling being placed in my hands as I open the book. Thank you Renee :-)

Rw said...

thank you for sharing your thoughts and this journey with me. as i read over this blog this a.m. it came to me that papier-mâché is a very messy process, as is my life and every life.