Mom Writes Her Own Witty, Heartbreaking Obituary Before She Dies of Cancer

What will people say about you when you die? Will your obituary do you justice? A morbid thought, maybe, but one sassy, spunky, life-loving woman from Orange Park, Florida, took matters into her own hands and wrote her own obituary two weeks before she passed away at age 69 from pancreatic cancer. And the result is a touching and inspiring look back at a life well lived.


Emily Phillips was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just 29 days before her death. She called her family into her hospital room and made the decision to share the obit she wrote for herself, which was published in the Jacksonville Times-Union.

Judging by some of the stories she shared in her obituary, it's pretty obvious she was a strong-willed, passionate, and interesting woman who had a wicked sense of humor ...

It paints me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away. Everyone told me it would happen one day, but that's simply not something I wanted to hear, much less experience. Once again, I didn't get things my way! That's been the story of my life all my life!

... A woman who knew the importance of gratitude and of giving thanks to people who inspired her to become the woman she became ...

As a child I walked to the old Hazelwood Elementary School where teachers like Mrs. McCracken, Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Moody planted the seed that eventually led me to becoming a teacher. I proudly started my teaching career at that same elementary school in January 1968, and from there I went on to teach young children in the neighboring states of Virginia, Georgia, as well as Florida where I retired after 25 years.
So many things in my life seemed of little significance at the time they happened but then took on a greater importance as I got older. The memories I'm taking with me now are so precious and have more value than all the gold and silver in my jewelry box.
... She was a beauty queen and Southern Belle (how cool is that?)...
I remember the thrill of leading our high school band down King Street in New Orleans for Mardi Gras (I was head majorette). I remember representing Waynesville in the Miss North Carolina Pageant, and yes, I twirled my baton to the tune of ""Dixie"". It could have been no other way.
... She was lucky in love ...
I married the man of my dreams (tall, dark, and handsome) on December 16, 1967 and from that day on I was proud to be Mrs. Charlie Phillips, Grand Diva Of All Things Domestic. Our plan was to have two children, a girl and a boy. Inexplicably we were successful in doing exactly that when we were blessed with our daughter Bonnie and then later our son Scott. Seeing these two grow into who they were supposed to be brought a wonderful sense of meaning to our lives.
... And reminds us that the heart continues to expand in ways we never thought possible—and growing older allows that to happen:
Just when I thought I was too old to fall in love again, I became a grandmother, and my five grand-angels stole not only my heart, but also spent most of my money.
Finally, Phillips leaves us laughing and feeling inspired to live our own lives as fully as she lived hers:
So…I was born; I blinked; and it was over. No buildings named after me; no monuments erected in my honor.

But I DID have the chance to know and love each and every friend as well as all my family members. How much more blessed can a person be?
So in the end, remember…do your best, follow your arrow, and make something amazing out of your life. Oh, and never stop smiling.
Thank you, Phillips, for this gift. Rest in peace.
What do you think about this woman's decision to write her own obituary? What would you write in yours?

Image Caleb Roenigk/Flickr
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