Florida woman writes her own obituary before losing cancer battl - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Florida woman writes her own obituary before losing cancer battle

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Emily Phillips Emily Phillips

KHQ.COM - Emily Debrayda Phillips of Orange Park, Florida was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and just 29 days later, she passed away. 

"I was born; I blinked; and it was over. No buildings named after me; no monuments erected in my honor. But I DID have the chance to know and love each and every friend as well as all my family members. How much more blessed can a person be?"

Two weeks before her death, Phillips asked her family if she could read aloud for them the obituary she had written for herself. Sitting around her hospital bed, family members listened in as her words brought both laughter and tears to their faces. 

The obituary starts, "It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away." The rest chronicles the life of Emily Phillips as told by her. She talks about the day she was born and walking to elementary school with her sisters where teachers there planted the seed that inspired her to become a teacher in her adult years. 

"The memories I'm taking with me now are so precious and have more value than all the gold and silver in my jewelry box," she writes.

"I remember Mother wearing an apron;
I remember Daddy calling Square Dances;
I remember my older sister pushing me off my tricycle (on the cinder driveway);
I remember my younger sister sleep walking out of the house;
I remember grandmother Nonnie who sewed exquisite dresses for me when I was little;
I remember grandmother Mamateate wringing a chicken's neck so we could have Sunday dinner.
I remember being the bride in our Tom Thumb Wedding in first grade and performing skits for the 4-H Club later in grade five.
I remember cutting small rosebuds still wet with dew to wear to school on spring mornings, and I remember the smell of newly mowed grass.
I remember the thrill of leading our high school band down King Street in New Orleans for Mardi Gras (I was head majorette).
I remember representing Waynesville in the Miss North Carolina Pageant, and yes, I twirled my baton to the tune of Dixie.
It could have been no other way."

She goes on to say she proudly married the man of her dreams on December 16, 1967. She and her husband raised a son and a daughter, just like they had planned. She mentions a couple apologies, ones that includes dating a guy that her friend had a crush on. 

Phillips admits that her grandchildren are the ones in her life who stole her heart and details some of her fondest memories with them. 

After listing off many of the titles she's held in her life, "a devoted daughter, an energetic teenager, a WCU graduate (summa cum laude), a loving wife, a comforting mother, a dedicated teacher, a true and loyal friend, and a spoiling grandmother," she then injects a little humor - "And if you don't believe it, just ask me. Oh wait, I'm afraid it's too late for questions. Sorry."

The self-written obituary ends with some very powerful statements we can all learn from. "So…I was born; I blinked; and it was over. No buildings named after me; no monuments erected in my honor. But I DID have the chance to know and love each and every friend as well as all my family members. How much more blessed can a person be?"

As she signs off, Phillips writes, "Today I am happy and I am dancing. Probably naked."

Read her full obituary on the Jacksonville Times-Union website: http://tinyurl.com/puthltv

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