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The Last Word

Harriet Lawler, of Lawler Advertising Agency, died today- but not without having the last word.

I just recently a movie, The Last Word, with Shirley MacLaine, and it touched me deeply (watch the trailer here: It’s the story of a successful woman whom tried to control everything and everyone she met, and they all hated her for it. She hires a young lady to write her obituary so that she can approve it before she dies. Through the process of self-analysis she determines there are 4 areas of life one must attain in order to have a beautiful obituary, and ultimately a beautiful life:

1. A person should be loved by family

2. A person should be admired by coworkers

3. A person must have touched someone’s life.

4. A person must have a wild card, “A statement with such breath and wonder that it’s the opening line of your obituary.”

In the movie, Harriet presses through each of the four areas of her life where other’s might say she failed: A bitter divorce, estranged from her daughter, coworkers who hated her, no one gave her a kind word when interviewed by the young writer, and she hadn’t a wild card. How would you fair if you honestly answered these four areas of your life?

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m getting older and my mortality seems to be more real and my obituary and legacy more important to me, but I loved watching this movie because it offered hope that even until the end of life, there can be change: Change of self, change of relationships, and change of consequences from negative to positive. But these changes don’t happen without hard, break your heart and your back, WORK!

Every week I meet people who come to a place of self-awareness of who they are. Their mistakes and failures pressed them up against the cliff overlooking death, and fear prevents them from taking the leap. They believe their past will seal not only the story they have written up to that point, but it will forever seal the unwritten pages of their future before their appointed time of death. Those people who are lucky enough to suddenly awaken to their life and are able to see all the possibilities that could be had, have the desire, but they have no idea where to start. So, they enter my doorway, sit on my sofa, and tell me they are seeking a second chance in life; a chance to stop looking at their failed past, and start afresh, looking for a new life, the one they hope will have meaning, a sense of connection, and the promise of a positive remembrance by everyone they know.

Daunting task, right? No! Un-daunting. The definition of “daunting” as defined by Google is, “seeming difficult to deal with in anticipation; intimidating.” If fear presses up against us, and circumstances seem overwhelming and doubt paralysis you, then THAT’S exactly the moment in time you leap! You do it in spite of your fear and the result is you’ll look back and see something you’ve never possessed before: COURAGE. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful legacy, a wonderful last word

to leave your family, your friends, and your co-workers? So I ask you, what would you like to be your “Last Word?”

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