Sonia Todd of Moscow, Idaho went through what everyone is fearful of: She was given a terminal diagnosis.
Cancer would rob this youthful mother of two of her life. It would not, however, erase her keen wit and terrific outlook.
Most people view 38 as too young to face death. Then again, any age is too young when you are the one dealing with mortality.
How people deal with this type of situation is unique to the individual. Of course, some handle it better than others.
Sonia decided she was going to do something a bit uncommon during her time left here on earth. She was going to tell people how she felt about life, the hand she was dealt, and her journey.
The way she chose to do this was through her obituary. Usually, that task is undertaken by family and friends.
Todd decided she was not going to leave it up to them. She wanted to be responsible for her final words.
What she accomplished is still being talked about years later. Her use of humor while maintaining dignity and grace conveys her message perfectly.
Her obituary was published in the Idaho Statesman Newspaper on October 19, 2012. It was authored by the deceased, Sonia Todd:
Oct, 14, 2012
“My name is Sonia Todd, and I died of cancer at the age of 38. I decided to write my own obituary because they are usually written in a couple of different ways that I just don’t care for. Either, family or friends gather together, and list every minor accomplishment from cradle to grave in a timeline format, or they try and create one poetic last stanza about someone’s life that is so glowing one would think the deceased had been the living embodiment of a deity.
“I don’t like the timeline format because, let’s face it, I never really accomplished anything of note. Other than giving birth to my two wonderful, lovable, witty and amazing sons (James and Jason), marrying my gracious, understanding and precious husband (Brian), and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior – I have done very little. None of which requires obit space that I have to shell out money for.
“I also didn’t want a bunch of my friends sitting around writing a glowing report of me, which we all know would be filled with fish tales, half-truths, impossible scenarios, and out-right-honest-to-goodness-lies. I just don’t like to put people in that kind of situation.
“The truth, or my version of it, is this: I just tried to do the best I could. Sometimes I succeeded, most of the time I failed, but I tried. For all of my crazy comments, jokes and complaints, I really did love people. The only thing that separates me from anyone else is the type of sin each of us participated in. I didn’t always do the right thing or say the right thing and when you come to the end of your life those are the things you really regret, the small simple things that hurt other people.
“My life was not perfect and I encountered many, many bumps in the road. I would totally scrap the years of my life from age 16 to 20 … OK, maybe 14 to 22. I think that would eradicate most of my fashion disasters and hair missteps from the ’80s. But mostly, I enjoyed life. Some parts of it were harder than others, but I learned something from every bad situation and I couldn’t do any more than that.
“Besides there are some benefits to dying youngish, for example, I still owe on my student loans and the jokes on them cuz I’m not paying them. Plus, I am no longer afraid of serial killers, telemarketers or the IRS. I don’t have to worry about wrinkles or the ozone layer and/or hide from the news during election season.
“Some folks told me that writing my own obituary was morbid, but I think it is great because I get a chance to say thank you to all the people who helped me along the way. Those who loved me, assisted me, cared for me, laughed with me and taught me things so that I could have a wonderful, happy life. I was blessed beyond measure by knowing all of you. That is what made my life worthwhile.
“If you think of me, and would like to do something in honor of my memory do this:
– Volunteer at a school, church or library.
– Write a letter to someone and tell them how they have had a positive effect on your life.
– If you smoke – quit.
– If you drink and drive – stop.
– Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it.
– Stop at all lemonade-stands run by kids and brag about their product.
– Make someone smile today if it is in your power to do so.”
Wow! What an amazing piece of writing. There is something in there for everyone.
It makes you think of how lucky we are, how short life is, and how important it is to make every second count. You certainly don’t have to be a starlet, superstar, or someone famous to make an impact.
Her requests/suggestions at the end of the piece make a lot of sense. They also seem as though they’d be easy to do.
Most importantly is the sense of peace she conveys. Her love of family and friends, and a strong, personal relationship with Christ created fulfillment for this grounded person.
They’re are many opportunities to make your mark on the world. You never know who you will have an effect upon.
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