How would you like to be remembered?

An obituary is usually seen as a sad thing. A life has ended. a mother, father, brother, sister, wife, husband, son, daughter or friend has passed. And yet an obituary doesn’t need to be a sad thing. It can instead be a celebration of the life that was. There has been an obituary doing the social media rounds recently. It’s quite beautiful so I thought I’d share, even though I don’t know the lady. It got me thinking about the kind of person I’d one day liked to be remembered as.

“Mullaney, Mary A. “Pink” If you’re about to throw away an old pair of pantyhose, stop and Consider: Mary A. Mullaney — you probably knew her as “Pink” who died on Sunday, September 1, 2013. Her spirit is carried on by her six children, 17 grandchildren, three surviving siblings in New “Joisey” , nieces, nephews, in-laws, and a large extended family of relations and friends from every walk of life and corner of the globe, who were blessed to learn many valuable lessons from Pink during her 85 years. Among the most important: Never throw away old pantyhose. Use the old ones for rosary repairs, to tie the gutter, child-proof the cabinets, tie up the toilet flapper, or hang Christmas ornaments. Also: If a possum takes up residence in your shed, grab a barbecue brush to coax him out. If he doesn’t leave, brush him for twenty minutes and let him stay. Let a dog (or two or three) sleep in bed with you. Say the rosary while you walk them. Go to church with a chicken sandwich in your purse. Cry at the consecration, every time. Give the chicken sandwich to your homeless friend after mass. Go to a nursing home and kiss every person there, and let them have communion, no matter if they are Catholic. When you learn someone’s name, share the story of their patron saint and when the feast day is, so they can celebrate. Invite new friends to Thanksgiving dinner. If they are from another country and you have trouble understanding them, learn to “listen with an accent.” Never say mean things about rotten people, instead think of them as “poor souls who we should pray for.” Put the children who are picky eaters in the laundry chute in the basement, close the door and tell them they are hungry lions in a cage and feed them their veggies through the slats. Correspond with the imprisoned and have lunch with the cognitively challenged. Do the Jumble every morning. Keep the car keys under the front seat “so they don’t get lost.” Make the car dance by lightly tapping the brakes to the beat of songs on the radio. Offer rides to people carrying a big load or caught in the rain or the summer heat. Believe the hitchhiker you pick up who says he is a landscaper and his name is “Peat Moss”. Offer to help anyone struggling to get their kids in a car, into a shopping cart or across a parking lot. Give to every single charity that asks. Choose to believe the best about what they do with your money, no matter what your children say they discovered online. Allow the homeless to keep warm in your car while you are at Mass at Gesu. Take magazines you’ve already read to your doctors’ waiting rooms for others to enjoy. Do not tear off the mailing label … “Because if someone wants to contact me that would be nice.” In her lifetime, Pink made contact time after time. Those who’ve taken her lessons to heart will continue to ensure that a cold drink will be left for the garbage collector and the mail carrier on a hot day, that every baby will be kissed and every person in the nursing home will have a visitor, that the hungry will have a sandwich and the visitor will have a warm bed and a soft nightlight, and the encroaching possum will know the soothing sensation of a barbecue brush upon its back. And above all, she wrote Everyone. You may be reading this and you may recall a letter you received from her that touched your life or made you laugh, or even made you say “huh?” Pink is survived by those whose photos she would share with prospective friends in the checkout line, and her children and grandchildren: Tim (Janice) their children, Timmy, Joey, T.J., Miki and Danny; Kevin (Kathy) their children, Kacey, Ryan, Jordan and Kevin; Jerry (Gita) their children, Nisha and Cathan; MaryAnne; Peter (Maria Jose) their children, Rodrigo and Paulo; and Meg (David Vartanian) their children, Peter, Lily, Jerry and Blasé; as well as her siblings, Anne, Helen and Robert. Pink has joined in heaven six of her siblings and is reunited with her favorite dance and political debate partner, her husband Dr. Gerald L. Mullaney.

You can read the whole obituary here.

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