Cardiogirl 19 percent body fat 100 percent fun


what will your epitaph say?


My mom and dad have been talking about and researching their own gravestones for the last five years or so. They are currently 80 and soon-to-be 81 and I'm sure death is a concept they regularly mull over. My dad is trying to pre-plan most everything in an effort to streamline the experience for the rest of us. I do appreciate that, but it's a tad unsettling.

My next oldest sister (Kate) and I are co-executors of my mom and dad's will. So occasionally, when I visit with the kids each week, my dad will casually mention something like a password on the computer for his financial files. Just recently he showed me where he keeps cash hidden and then added, "So you'll know where to find it when we're both dead."

"Thanks for the tip," I said.

Anyway, yesterday he called and announced he has found their actual headstones, now he just needs to figure out what to write on them. Since one of my more attractive labels in the family is "Writer" he routinely asks me for help with all things grammatical. But he thought I could just whip something off the top of my head, right there on the phone. I told him to give me a little bit of time to think about it. And then we decided it would be fun to create a "contest" in the family and see what my siblings would come up with, should they give it a go.

Now if you know anything about me, it's that I LOVE a good challenge; I am very competitive. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with being competitive unless you find it difficult to reign in the competitive spirit when playing games with your own children, then you might want to work on that. Not that I would know anything about that or have to consciously remind myself that a 4-year-old should be allowed to win most of the time.

So I sat down at the computer, strapped on my thinking cap and about 20 minutes later I had e-mailed my dad my entry to the Gravestone Competition of 2007. Here's what I came up with (note how long my parents will live):

Cardiogirl's Father
August 4, 1926 -- April 12, 2027

Whosoever believeth in Him
should not perish,
but have eternal life.
John 3:15

Devout Catholic, Loyal Son, Faithful Husband, Loving Father, Caring Grandfather

And for my mom:

Cardiogirl's Mother
May 31, 1927 -- April 12, 2027

I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith.
11 Timothy Verse 1

Devout Catholic, Loyal Daughter, Faithful Wife, Loving Mother, Caring Grandmother

So I called my dad because I need immediate feedback and I waited on the phone while he opened the file. He loved it. Loved it. In his old age, my dad gets a bit choked up when something moves him emotionally, he takes a silent breath and then resumes speaking. Occasionally his voice cracks ever so slightly. I choked him up on this one. He told me I win, hands down. And he is printing the file and taking it with him to the gravestone place to see how they can fit it on the stone.

YES! I win!

It's odd, but I have to say it really moved me that he liked it so much. Perhaps it feeds into the basic need of parental approval. I have passing thoughts of writing their eulogies, but I am pretty sure I would not be able to deliver them at the funerals. When I cry and attempt to talk, I sound like I am a wounded animal and that wouldn't play well at the funeral.

I would like to be graceful and poised while crying, but that is one talent I haven't seemed to master yet. I wonder if there's a drug that could help me with that.


2007-07-06 at 6:56 a.m.

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