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The fear of death follows from the fear of life.
A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.

Mark Twain

Death fascinates me.  I’m not so scared of dying (although, I’d prefer to stick around for a while longer).  What concerns me most is what will be written on that darn tombstone, etched forever, of how I chose to live this precious life.

As a former critical care nurse, I’ve been around death . . . a lot.   I saw too many people die with regrets.  Countries never visited.  Books never written.  Dances never danced.  Words never spoken.  Kisses never given. Photographs never taken.  Vitality never created. Dreams never fulfilled. Life never fully lived.  

I’m not one to be a Debby Downer, but here’s what I’ve come to learn:  all those things you say you want to be, do and experience will be a huge regret if you keep putting off, waiting and making excuses.  

Perhaps, if we’d embrace the universal fact that life is short and then we die, we’d create a new relationship with our own mortality — one that would encourage us to book that trip, take the risk, wear the bikini, go scuba diving, and most importantly, savor the present moment.

One of my favorite places in Paris is Père Lachaise Cemetery in the 20th arrondisement.  There’s something extremely mysterious and romantic about walking through the maze of tombstones and hanging out with the dead.

It causes me to stop and ask myself:  how do I want to live my life and be remembered?

So, in the spirit of life and death, I’ve curated some inspiring (and some clever) epitaphs to hopefully inspire you to think about your own:

Emily Dickinson
Called back.

Mel Blanc (the legendary voice of Porky Pig)
“That’s All Folks”: Man of 1000 Voices, Beloved Father and Husband

Winston Churchill
“I am ready to meet my Maker.  Whether my Maker is ready for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

Virginia Woolf
Against you I will fling myself unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!

Dr. Martin Luther King
“Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.”

 Ludolph van Ceulen

Jim Morrison
Truth to your own spirit.

Never born, Never died: visited the planet earth between December 11, 1931 and, January 19, 1990.

George Bernard Shaw
“I knew if I stayed around long enough, something like this would happen”

Frank Sinatra 
“The best is yet to come.”

Quniaron Bellthing 
“Well this was fun, let’s dit again sometime.”

So, in the famous words of Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do  with your one wild and precious life?”

What would you love your epitaph to read?

Mine’s simple:  She French Kissed Life and Life Kissed Her Back!  

Your turn!  Share in the comments below!

With Life,



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