A woman who spent her whole life helping others had one more gift to give.
Emily Phillips (via Legacy.com)
Emily Debrayada Phillips was a teacher, mother, and friend who, by all accounts, made a big difference in a lot of people's lives over her 69 years. But she never could have predicted the impact she'd have on thousands of people's lives after she was gone.
Phillips died on March 25 of pancreatic cancer. Although she wasn't sick for long, she knew the end was coming, and chose to write her own obituary. That 1044-word obituary, which is simultaneously sweet, funny, and profound, has now gone viral on the Internet and is making strangers cry all over the world. Check out Legacy.com to read the full text.
Phillips recounts her entire life story, including her childhood, her career as an elementary school teacher, and her experience as a mother and grandmother. It's fascinating to hear someone recount the events of her own life with the clarity of knowing it's at its end, like in this quote:
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 also takes the opportunity to make amends for mistakes she made with her children:
I apologize for making sweet Bonnie wear No Frills jeans when she was little and for ""red-shirting"" Scott in kindergarten. Apparently each of these things was humiliating to them but both were able to rise above their shame and become very successful adults.
Perhaps the most powerful quote is this one, where Phillips sums up the passage of time:
So…I was born; I blinked; and it was over.
And, just to keep us all on her toes, she closes on a lighter note:
I'll leave you with this…please don't cry because I'm gone; instead be happy that I was here. (Or maybe you can cry a little bit. After all, I have passed away).
Today I am happy and I am dancing. Probably naked.
Love you forever.
Talk about perfect last words. Rest well, Emily. Thanks for giving us all one last chance to know you.