Seattle Woman Pens Moving Obituary— for Herself

Jane Catherine Lotter's obit has gone viral

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 8, 2013 8:14 AM CDT | Updated Aug 11, 2013 11:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – It turns out there is at least one advantage to dying from Grade 3, Stage IIIC endometrial cancer, at least according to Jane Catherine Lotter: "you have time to write your own obituary." And so the 60-year-old Seattle author did just that, penning an obit that ran in the Seattle Times on July 28 and has since found quite the online reception. The New York Times speculates that "part of the power of the piece ... is that Ms. Lotter is talking to the reader from the grave. Or, in this case, from Elliott Bay, where her ashes were scattered."

The result is alternatingly humorous ("I would demonstrate my keen sense of humor by telling a few jokes here, but the Times charges for these listings by the column inch and we must move on.") and moving ("I was given the gift of life, and now I have to give it back. This is hard. But I was a lucky woman, who led a lucky existence, and for this I am grateful.") She speaks directly to husband Bob Marts, who she met at a bar in 1975 on the "luckiest night of her life," writing, "Bobby M, I love you up to the sky." And to her 19-year-old son, Riley, and 23-year-old daughter, Tessa, she professes her love and dispenses advice that applies much more widely: "May you always remember that obstacles in the path are not obstacles, they ARE the path." Lotter closes with "Beautiful day, happy to have been here," words the New York Times notes Marts had printed on buttons and passed out to hundreds at her memorial service. Obit in full here. (This isn't the first self-written obit: See this pretty hilarious one, this spunky one, or this confession-filled one.)

When the cancer recurred last year and was terminal, I decided to be joyful about having had a full life, rather than sad about having to die. Amazingly, this outlook worked for me. (Well, you know, most of the time.)
"When the cancer recurred last year and was terminal, I decided to be joyful about having had a full life, rather than sad about having to die. Amazingly, this outlook worked for me. (Well, you know,...   (Shutterstock)
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