Creative Nonfiction

Before I Die I Want To _____

My 2012–the year I wrote a book on death and life–began and ended with the funeral of someone I cared about. I found myself at a funeral home three days into the year and three days from its end.

Staring at the sun

Some people are comfortable pondering life’s eventual end and the possibilities surrounding it. Others banish the thought and bury it deeper than, well, I guess I should avoid the analogy of burying it as deep as someone who’s died since they’re trying not to think about that.

My friend Leanne (check out her website Ironic Mom) sent me this TED talk video a while back by a woman named Candy Chang.

When Candy lost a close friend a few years ago she began thinking about death a lot as most of us do when confronted by its vile stinger from time to time. A sense of gratitude and clarity came over her, but Candy struggled to maintain that perspective on a daily basis. She says:

“In our age of increasing distractions, it’s more important than ever to find ways to maintain perspective and remember that life is brief and tender.┬áDeath is often something that we’re discouraged to talk about or even think about, but I realize that┬ápreparing for death is one of the most empowering things you can do. Thinking about death clarifies your life.”

Here is her short talk, worth taking the time to watch.

Candy’s efforts have inspired a number of these thought-provoking boards around the world. Here’s just one example of a board from the United Kingdom.

Check out the Before I Die website for more examples and info on this unique project.

How would you fill in the chalkboard?

Before I die I want to _______________________

By Clay Morgan

Clay Morgan is the author of Undead. Say hi on Twitter.