Most people don’t like to think about death and dying. The loss of a loved one is usually very sad, even if it is expected, even if it is someone who was sick for a long time or someone who was very old. Loss and change are hard.

When Stacy Oliver was diagnosed with MSA, and when her doctor told her that there was no cure, she decided that she wanted to write about her life herself. She decided to write her own obituary.

At the beginning of the obituary, she acknowledges that a self-written obituary is rather unusual. 

“I’ve never done anything the ‘normal’ or ‘regular’ way. I thought ‘why not write my own obituary and continue this kind of behavior until the end?” My mom always said “if I’m not going to blow my own horn no one else will.’ Sooo, toot toot.”

She went on to tell about some of the things she had done in her life. 

“I’ve done improv, worked at Henri Bendel when it was here, sang in clubs and cabarets, and for 21 years worked at Northwestern University. In-between for fun I made beaded jewelry, belly-danced and hula-danced, sewed, baked, did some gardening, loved participating at my Temple Beth Israel, and enjoyed plays and musicals.”

Although she mentions her mom and some friends and family, her biggest shout-out is to her husband, Jeff. 

“I was lucky enough to marry Jeff October 9, 1999, truly my best friend and the love of my life…I was real with him and forever grateful that he shared his life with me.”

What’s most notable about Oliver’s obituary, besides the fact that she wrote it herself, is the message she wants us all to gain from her life and her death. 

“I’m not telling you what to do, but I am telling you what to do. Stop worrying about your weight, go live, be, do. Smile, people don’t get to feel them enough. Enjoy the moment, it might not come again. If you want to do it, give something a try, try it, taste it, go there. Take it from me, I’m dead. Eat the danish, go to the show, laugh out loud. Love one another and you’ll never know what you’ll find.”

Oliver was only 54 years old when she passed away. Her husband told Good Morning America, “Even though now is a tough time, I still see how she is affecting people and it brings me comfort. I was lucky to be in that sunshine for that long so I’m a pretty lucky guy.”