The Final Post

At first, I couldn’t click.

I saw the post making the rounds on twitter. It came in an email thread. It was shared on Facebook. Derek Miller had died and most found out via a final post he had written, to be published upon his death.

I didn’t know Derek, but by all accounts he was an amazing man. So my reasons for not clicking didn’t lie in my grief, though I certainly felt for his family and friends.

It was because I have written and rewritten and started and stopped a version of the same post…many times.

A death post. A final post. A post to be published upon my demise.

I am guessing anyone with a chronic or serious illness has done the same. I am a writer at heart and I can’t seem to help but put these things down…out of my head and in letters and sentences and paragraphs.

But I have never finished my death post. I told my husband it ‘s because it felt like giving up. Finishing that post means I really think it is coming. Or it might happen soon.

Maybe it’s naive of me to leave it undone. Maybe if I start going downhill quickly I will regret not having finished my good-bye to the world.

Maybe I will finish it when I feel it’s time. And give instructions to my husband on how to hit ‘publish’ as he makes my funeral arrangements. Maybe it will be part of my funeral arrangements.

It will never cease to amaze me how many people I have met, bloggers, who lay it all out there for us to read. I’ve found myself going back through Derek’s archives as he chronicled his illness and battle. I think of my friend Gregg and how he tweeted and facebook’d and shared his photography before succumbing to cancer. How the raw emotions would come out in status updates. Both of them taking friends, family, readers through the highs and lows of life as it wound down and eventually stopped. It was beautiful and heartbreaking.

But my final post, much like my life, remains unfinished.


  1. You aren’t finished yet, my dear. Stay strong. We love you. XXOO

  2. Oh god this post hurts for so many reasons. xo

  3. I don’t have a final post written. I blogged after I had cancer, and though I fight lupus and others still, I don’t have one written.

    But this got me thinking. I have a playlist I’d like played at my awesome funeral. And I have ideas what might be written.

    Such a stirring thought. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Don’t write it. Your life, is indeed unfinished.

  5. You made me cry and afraid to click the link for what I might read. I’d miss your crazy tweets so damn much 🙂 It’s amazing how people you’ve never met in person can feel so close. You’ve got a lot of us sending love.

    We lost our Chief in a line of duty death and it was devastating. I’ve told everyone for years what I want done when I pass. However, it is something I have never asked my husband and I know it’s because it would cause some reality to interfere with my world of denial I like to live in.

    I know from reading and my local friend having lupus that the daily pain you go through is a lot. But we should all live for the daily happiness we can create as it’s all that we are guaranteed. Some peace to you in your grief Erin.

  6. thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this and for continuing to write everything you write.

  7. Jen Wojcik says:

    Dammit. Erin. Quit doing that. My eyes keep leaking.

  8. I cried my way through it. Mostly because I’m at the point where the posts are starting to slowly shift from “new job! new spouse! new baby!” to “new symptoms… new diagnosis… new loss…” and I hate it. I hate it with a red-hot passion i never knew I’d hate it with.
    I kind of thought that I’d ease from one cycle of life until the next with that mellow and someone superior ‘I’m getting older’ attitude that went with leaving grade school, junior high, high school, college… sad for the loss of one phase, but ready to embrace the next.
    I don’t want to f’ing embrace the next when all it seems to be doing it knocking off my friends like a bored sniper with too much time and ammunition on his hands.

    I won’t ever be the person who has that “last post” all written out and ready to go. Because dammit… I’ll leave something out. Or I’ll try to be deep and wise… and there’s nothing I can say that won’t sound contrived coming from me at that point. Pithy probably won’t fly either.

    Maybe last posts are like those letters some people wrote “not to be opened until the occasion of my death” – those happened a lot in old-timey days, right? Not just in bad whodunnit mysteries about old-timey days? *sigh*

    Don’t do it Erin. If you don’t mind me borrowing from the totally wrong generation for me to be borrowing from given my last old-timey foofahrah… “Do not go gentle into that good night. / Rage, rage against the dying of the light!” ~Dylan Thomas always comes up when I think of writing a ‘last post.’ So I’ll probably do something stupid like just have someone put that bit up and let people figure that one out for themselves.

    But you? You don’t get to write that last post until you actually *write* it Erin. May it not be for so many years that you kind of laugh at how you even began to think about it when you were this young! ((hug))

    And I still feel horrible for not finding out about Gregg only through your housecoat picture post. But I didn’t really think of him as “someone I know who is dying” but rather “a very vibrant voice I seem to have missed lately.” You’d better be that same way lady. I taped your cleavage into a dress. Within 30 seconds of meeting you face to face. You don’t get to slide off gently just yet.

  9. we better NEVER see a final post!

  10. If you want, you can start writing the “I’m 96 and my great-grandkids are tired of my stories of Obama…’ post now. I refuse to believe that lupus is going to take you early.

  11. No final letter… Lupas doesn’t get to win that easy. I began reading your posts because of your strength and kickass nature. You inspire people who you have never met. Just thought you should know.

  12. Your tale in this story is not over, friend.

  13. Don’t write it. Don’t ever write it, if you don’t want to. If you leave us, which I hope will not be for a very long time, I promise, those of us who have known you will write many posts for you, inspired by you, for years and years to come. Who could say, then, which words will be your last? One day your son will find himself, your daughter will find herself, speaking with your voice. My grandmother left me last August and yet lately I discover myself writing her words all the time.

    So don’t write a last post yet, or ever, if you don’t want to. If one day you cannot write, I swear we will try our very best to write for you.

    But more importantly, for right now, DON’T DIE, all right? Let’s just agree on that as the current plan. I think it’s a good one.

  14. Add my voice to the chorus of those urging you NOT to write one.

  15. I just wanted to let you know that this weblog is being featured in Five Star Friday –

  16. This breaks my heart. You’re not done yet. You have SO much more to give and be given!

  17. In the same way I want my husband and kids to choose what works for them at my death, I am leaving it to my blogging daughter to write my final blog-post. It’s egregiously lazy, but I did warn her of the necessity. I hope it will be sad and funny and family-centred, like my life. And of course, I’m hoping it won’t be all that soon.

  18. Having been the writer of three family obituaries in the past six years, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about “last words” and how, while mine were deservedly flattering and appreciative, the loved ones who died probably would have summed up their own lives quite differently. I guess we rarely see ourselves as others do, and we are less likely to toot our own horns than they are, but it all has made me consider what I would like my own obituary to say.
    Now, you’re not talking about writing your obituary. You’re talking about writing a goodbye letter. But when I ponder death and the funerals I’ve attended, it seems to me they might be more meaningful to those left behind if the eulogies were goodbye letters from the deceased rather than stories about them, written by others.
    You’re wise to think about the inevitability of your own death, whether soon or in the distant future, and you’re brave to try to deal with it consciously. We all could be doing that, and not just those of us who are living with a serious illness. We should be remembering, every day, that tomorrow is not guaranteed to us. Easier said than done, as most of us are so afraid of dying that we can’t bear thinking or planning for it.

  19. A final post is something I never thought about, but I think writing it could hasten the end. Thinking positively, ignoring the inevitability of death will postpone it, at least that is what I like to think.

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