Lately, and I don't know why, I've been occasionally checking out the Obituaries. I'm seeing with a bit of discomfort that there are a number of people younger than me listed there...
...which got me thinking about what I'd want printed on my obituary.
When we were in Egypt we saw that many of the wealthy Egyptians of long ago must have had lots to say on their epitaphs because there were a lot of hieroglyphs at their rather awesome tombs. I wished I could read them.
We went to one of the most famous cemeteries in Japan last year at Koyasan. My mother and aunt had a great time telling us about all the very famous and historical figures who are buried there.
This one really tickled our funny bone though. It's dedicated to termites. Shiro ari literally means white ants but they must be termites. We hate termites in Hawaii. This monument was put up by an extermination company who must have felt sorry for all the termites they'd exterminated.
This rather small and neglected grave is where Nobunaga Oda is buried. He is extremely famous (having conquered and unifying a third of Japan). However, the fact that he did wipe out a bunch of Buddhist monks and families might be why he is relegated to this puny grave. I wonder what his epitaph is. Probably not very nice, if any. The termites have a fancier monument than he does.
In 1993 we took our nephew, Barry to the Granary Burying Ground near the Boston Commons. It was very interesting to read all the epitaphs carved into the tombstones.
Here's some famous epitaphs we found on the Internet:
Isaac Newton: Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night:
God said, 'Let Newton be!' and all was light.
Bette Davis: She did it the hard way.
Benjamin Franklin: The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer (like the cover of an old book, its contents worn out, and stript of its lettering and gilding) lies here, food for worms. Yet the work itself shall not lost, for it will, as he believed, appear once more In a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by its Author
Winston Churchill: I am ready to meet my Maker.
Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
John Brown (Unknown dentist): Stranger! Approach this spot with gravity! John Brown is filling his last cavity.
Since Art and I won't be buried with a tombstone, I guess we don't have to worry about an epitaph. We plan to have our ashes scattered or be interred at Punchbowl National Cemetery. If I had to plan one, perhaps I would write, "Daughter, Wife, Mother, Teacher; Not necessarily in that order."
So what would you want your epitaph be?