ORANGE PARK, Florida — Words penned by a teacher, wife, mother and grandmother were being shared and re-shared across Facebook and Twitter Thursday morning.
Emily DeBrayda Phillips died last week after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Before she died she wrote her own obituary. It was published earlier this week in her hometown newspaper, the Florida Times-Union.
Then something unlikely happened for an obituary of someone who wasn’t a star, a politician or a cultural icon.
“Today it ran in the T-U and has been the most-read item on Jacksonville.com,” wrote the newspaper on its Facebook page.
That post was then liked more than 4-thousand times, shared 15-hundred times and garnered more than 600 comments.
Now BuzzFeed has written about Phillips’ words rocketing them to national viral fame instantly.
Perhaps it is the simple grace, the humor and the timeless wisdom Emily is able to share in her own voice.
“It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away,” the obituary begins. “Everyone told me it would happen one day but that’s simply not something I wanted to hear, much less experience.”
Emily writes about her early years, growing up, her family and her loves. She shares small personal moments of life as a teacher, mother and grandmother. These are moments special to those she left behind, but so relatable to anyone reading her words.
Nearing the end, Emily writes this:
“So…I was born; I blinked; and it was over. No buildings named after me; no monuments erected in my honor.
But I DID have the chance to know and love each and every friend as well as all my family members. How much more blessed can a person be?”
In the end she writes ‘remember…do your best, follow your arrow, and make something amazing out of your life. Oh, and never stop smiling.’
To those who love her she asks them to look for her in the evening sunset or with the earliest spring daffodils ‘or amongst the flitting and fluttering butterflies.’
“You know I’ll be there in one form or another,” she writes.
In conclusion, Emily signs her own name and offers one final smile.
Today I am happy and I am dancing. Probably naked.
Love you forever.
You can read the entire obituary online.