Heart Choices: What Obituaries Teach Me -->

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What Obituaries Teach Me

This morning I spent time perusing my boxes of journals as I'm determined to finish writing a book I started two years ago. I learned so many lessons about life from the dying as I worked as a cardiac nurse for 25 years. Slowly, I've been writing chapters but I wanted to go back to read the stories of the people who inspired me.

In the process, I discovered so many newspaper clippings of obituaries I'd saved.

Now before you think I'm morbid, let me tell you what I feel when I read their obituaries. I remember each person and the encounters I had with them. I've written about each one in my journals. Their stories, the sorrows and regrets they shared with me. The laughter and joy we shared. And sometimes the pain they endured.

Every person's life is a story.

What will your life story be? We all have choices to make each day.

I love this quote and graphic by Margaret Feinberg.
Along the way, we sometimes make choices that have a negative impact on ourselves and others. For example, bitterness can poison a person's outlook on life. If a mom or dad harbors bitterness in their heart from wrongs done to them, this attitude is often transferred to their children.

So many people who outwardly appear to have it all together are a mess inside. Dealing with life and death issues has a way of allowing them to open up and be real. I've seen long standing family feuds healed at the deathbed. But I've also encountered stubborn people who refuse to let go of their anger.

As I continue writing, I will give you some glimpses into lessons I've learned about life from the dying.

But I want to end with a question for you.

Imagine you are on your deathbed. Is there some unfinished business in your life? Are you harboring anger, hatred, people you have refused to forgive? What's the state of your heart?

Blessings and love,

Debbie Petras
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  1. Wow! a very thought provoking post Debbie! Something we should all be more mindful of. Have a great week!

  2. I LOVE Margaret Feinberg, Debbie. And I've thought many times about my obit, especially after writing Mom's last January. For me, life is about making and imprint for the Kingdom of God, and leaving a legacy of love, grace and compassion. Great post :)

  3. Love the quote, Debbie. My hope is that those in my family that walk a life without faith would know the depth of my desire for them to respond to God's calling.

  4. I thought of all these questions as we attended a funeral today. What we experienced was huge amounts of grace!!! There was joy in the midst of sadness. The family was so gracious to everyone, and I thought, would I be the same if I had watched my husband fight brain cancer for three years. The service brought your questions to mind. I also thought, I can change things now, with Christ.


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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