I’ve heard over and over from life long learners that going through the exercise of writing your own eulogy is a visualization technique that can help make changes in the way we currently live our lives. So when the time came to deliver a social speech in my Toastmaster curriculum, I jumped at the opportunity to write and deliver my eulogy. Below I share my eulogy, lightly edited so that it makes sense while it is read vs delivering it as a speech.
We are gathered here today to honor and remember the life of Rara, who lived his life optimally and purposefully up until the very end. Judging by the number of people in this room, it is clear that he had a lasting impact on the world. Many of you traveled from far places to be here today, even though he specially asked you not to come, because he didn’t want to be a burden.
I’ll tell you a funny story. Rara didn’t want to be buried because he didn’t want to take up unnecessary space in the ground. He didn’t even want to be cremated at first because he didn’t want to waste the natural resources required to perform those services. But he quickly agreed to cremation when he realized the only option left was to donate his body to science, “where ‘his’ body might be used to develop a weapon of mass destruction” – his words, not mine.
Although he considered himself a citizen of the world, having traveled to every country (that mattered – in his opinion) by the time he turned 50 years, Rara was a true Domini-Yorker at heart! He was born in Dominican Republic, where he spent a few early formative years. His family migrated to Harlem, NY, where he would spend the next 10 pivotal years of his life. Although he eventually left New York for Maryland, his heart and mind never truly left the big apple. He liked to borrow and alter a line from Jay-Z, “physically been many places, but I’m Harlem’s own”, he would say.
In Maryland, Rara eventually met and married his wife Rere and spent the next 60 years building a life that anybody would consider a life worth living. They traveled often, Rara always in pursuit for his next thrill. They were generous with their time and money, using every opportunity available to teach, educate and donate to causes they deemed worthy. And most importantly, they took the time to raise two beautiful humans __________ and __________ and instilled in them the values that serve as a guiding light until this very day.
Please don’t buy or send any flowers, you all know Rara wouldn’t approve of that. Instead, use the money to help a cause that you deem worthy of your time, energy and resources. To loosely quote the great Jay-Z one more time, ‘the world doesn’t stop, so please live on’.
The part about building a life worth living really inspired to me dig a little deeper and see what that really means. The next speech to be delivered needs to be heavy on visualization. Im going to take that opportunity to expand further on what a life worth living really looks like for me and to see what it would take to get there.
Have you ever written your own eulogy? What were some of your takeaways?