It’s never too early to think about the legacy you will leave. Whether you anticipate several decades or just a short time remaining on this earth, how you live now will impact how you are remembered after you are gone.
The epitaphs on tombstones have often been used to tell more than the name of the deceived, the date of birth, and the date of death. At times, tombstones have included additional—even humorous—details about the person.
One such epitaph apparently pays homage to the profession of a deceased dentist: “Here lies John D. Cudd, DMD, filling his last cavity!”
In New Mexico, another tombstone played on the name of the dearly departed: “Here lies Johnny Yeast. Pardon me for not rising.” Johnny (or perhaps his family) apparently had a sense of humor.
Not all epitaphs are flattering. An eighteenth-century tombstone in Massachusetts supposedly acknowledges the deceased’s propensity for gossip. “Here lies as silent clay Miss Arabella Young, who on the 21st of May began to hold her tongue.”
What will your tombstone reveal about the kind of person you were? Will it show your love for family? Will it acknowledge your involvement in your community? Will it describe your devotion to your faith? Will you be remembered the way you want to be remembered?
If you want your epitaph to say good things about you, you must earn it by the way you live now. How you will be remembered after you die depends on the compassion, generosity, and self-sacrifice you exhibit during your lifetime. Do not wait too long to begin building your legacy; live today as you would like to be remembered then.