Jane Lotter was a writer, mother, wife, and long-time Seattle resident. She died of uterine cancer last month at age 60, with her husband and two children by her side and George Gershwin’s “Lullaby” playing in the background. With the help of hospice and her state's Death with Dignity Act, Jane orchestrated the event to be the send-off she wanted. And one of the last things she did before she died was write her own obituary.
Published on July 28 in The Seattle Times, Jane Lotter's obituary began:
One of the few advantages of dying from Grade 3, Stage IIIC endometrial cancer, recurrent and metastasized to the liver and abdomen, is that you have time to write your own obituary. (The other advantages are no longer bothering with sunscreen and no longer worrying about your cholesterol.)
She spoke directly to her husband and her children:
I met Bob Marts at the Central Tavern in Pioneer Square on November 22, 1975, which was the luckiest night of my life. We were married on April 7, 1984. Bobby M, I love you up to the sky. Thank you for all the laughter and the love, and for standing by me at the end. Tessa and Riley, I love you so much, and I'm so proud of you. I wish you such good things. May you, every day, connect with the brilliancy of your own spirit. And may you always remember that obstacles in the path are not obstacles, they ARE the path.
And she reflected on life:
I believe we are each of us connected to every person and everything on this Earth, that we are in fact one divine organism having an infinite spiritual existence. Of course, we may not always comprehend that. And really, that's a discussion for another time. So let's cut to the chase:
I was given the gift of life, and now I have to give it back. This is hard. But I was a lucky woman, who led a lucky existence, and for this I am grateful.
You can read Jane Lotter's obituary in its entirety here. And we suggest that you do, not only because it's moving and meaningful and personal, but because it makes us think: If I were to write my own obituary today, what would I say? How would I explain my life in 500 words? What would I say to the people I love who I'm leaving behind? What would I want them and the world to remember about me?
We'd love your thoughts on this. What would you be sure to include in your own obituary?