It's not enough to say that, "I cry."  It used to be I cried at commercials.  Oh, especially that one where the old-school retirement home receives a flower delivery...and the harried head lady is kinda brusque and, as everyone gathers to see who they're for, she opens the card, and sees they're for her.  And she cries.  And I ALWAYS cried (tearing up a bit here as I type, for cyrin' out loud).

Now, tho, more things bring out the tears.  I'm still loud, and silly, and can be very very VERY inappropriate (I'm still sorry for a Kurt Cobain comment I made two weeks ago...yikes). But more things, and more surprising things, make me cry.  On Wednesday, at the SEMVA gallery, a few tears leaked out.   It was an image that touched me deeply...so a few tears dribbled out.  I think it happens because I don't care if someone sees me cry.  I've learned that we have a right to feel as we do, and feeling that emotion is, I think, empowering.

ANYWAY, I say all that so I can say, no matter where you are when you read this obituary, have tissues handy.  A lot of them.

You see, Emily DeBrayda Phillips wrote her own obituary.  It's not like a lot of the jokey ones I've seen the last year or so (which are great, don't get me wrong, I like them, too).  It's not all super serious, either.  What it is is...real.  And tear inducing.  And full of love.

So much love.

Here are some excerpts (link for the whole thing at the end)...

 

It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away. Everyone told me it would happen one day but that's simply not something I wanted to hear, much less experience. Once again I didn't get things my way! That's been the story of my life all my life.

And while on that subject (the story of my life)…on February 9, 1946 my parents and older sister celebrated my birth…I can't believe that happened in the first half of the last century but there are records on file in the Court House which can corroborate this claim.

As a child I walked to the old Hazelwood Elementary School where teachers like Mrs. McCracken, Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Moody planted the seed that eventually led me to becoming a teacher. I proudly started my teaching career at that same elementary school in January 1968, and from there I went on to teach young children in the neighboring states of Virginia, Georgia, as well as Florida where I retired after 25 years.

So many things in my life seemed of little significance at the time they happened but then took on a greater importance as I got older. 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.

This might be a good time to mend fences.

I apologize for making sweet Bonnie wear No Frills jeans when she was little and for ""red-shirting"" Scott in kindergarten. Apparently each of these things was humiliating to them but both were able to rise above their shame and become very successful adults. I'd also like to apologize to Mary Ann for tearing up her paper dolls and to Betsy for dating a guy she had a crush on.

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?

So in the end, remember…do your best, follow your arrow, and make something amazing out of your life. Oh, and never stop smiling.

If you want to, you can look for me in the evening sunset or with the earliest spring daffodils or amongst the flitting and fluttering butterflies. You know I'll be there in one form or another. Of course that will probably comfort some while antagonizing others, but you know me…it's what I do.

I'll leave you with this…please don't cry because I'm gone; instead be happy that I was here. (Or maybe you can cry a little bit. After all, I have passed away).

Today I am happy and I am dancing. Probably naked.

Love you forever.

Emily

Read Emily's entire obituary HERE.