Posted by: penpatience | September 30, 2019


WRITERS WORDS: “There’ll be two dates on your tombstone and all your friends will read ‘em but all that’s gonna matter is that little dash between ‘em” – Kevin Welch



Do you have a planned, final Swan song? A Swan Song is defined as a song of great sweetness sung by a dying swan or final act or pronouncement. Most often a Swan Song is perceived to be a metaphorical phrase for a final gesture, effort or performance just before death or retirement.

A personal swan song is not a topic most individuals choose to pursue or think about on an everyday basis. Most human beings are not geared to focus on death and dying, but on birth and living everyday life even with its many complexities.  However, when should we focus on personal demise?  When we are chronologically considered old (approx.65-80+ years), hair faded to a salt and pepper grey, arthritis cursing fingers, knees, backs, hips and additional maladies that can target the aged. Hmmm….is there ever a good time for this reflection?

Well, I recall that two of the most read Musings to date were “Do It Yourself Obituary” and “Do It Yourself Funeral.”  Although published in earlier years of Pen and Patience, I was surprised because many individuals usually prefer not to contemplate on their demise. When you think about it, like it or lump it, it’s the one journey each and every human being must take regardless of life span.

So, when should we face the music and ask and answer questions that need to be addressed? Will family members or designated others be saddled with an unwanted burden? What would be your preference–a Short or Long Published Obituary or No Obit in the local newspaper? Perhaps you might have noticed many individuals print their entire life stories from birth to death in their obituaries at considerable line by line cost?  Hey, do you want your tired old body cremated and ashes strewn over a favorite area or prefer a traditional burial complete with embalmment, casket and car queue to a favorite or family cemetery. You did purchase the plot, didn’t you? (Note, I must interject here after reading Police Procedure & Investigation, A guide for Writers, Chapter 10-Autopsy and The Funeral Home, by Lee Lofland, a former police detective with nearly two decades of law-enforcement and crime-solving experience.) In my opinion, neither is palatable, but digesting that chapter’s information and for other personal reasons, I have chosen cremation. I choose to burn than bury😊 Most important, regardless of choice, if you are a veteran and served your country in any capacity you deserve and should have full military honor consideration.

Assuming you have a Will and chosen Executor(s), it’s hopeful these individual(s) are informed and will execute your desires down to the last detail. Think about this. Too often, siblings or other family members have different views and religious connections that might cause arguments or familial rifts that may never heal. Special items, regardless of monetary or collectible significance must be bequeathed to the designated person. It would be up to that person to pass on great grandmother’s ugly bone china dated back to the early 1900’s. Final considerations are tasks that many folks would prefer to sweep under the rug, but it’s imperative all of us make these, sometimes unpleasant decisions whenever possible.

I muse. Wouldn’t you like to plan ahead for your exit singing your personal, beautiful Swan Song or depart croaking like a frog😊.

To all writers and readers: Here’s to your good health—Be well!

A helpful site:




  1. I was most intrigued by this Ted talk when I first heard it in 2011 (, especially as I had always planned on being cremated but didn’t know the toxicity of it. I have no issues with discussing my swan song but I am a terrible procrastinator on the legal stuff.


    • Hi Jana. Yes, decisions, decisions, and many we like to put off. Thanks for responding. Be happy and well.


  2. Wonderful as always, Frances! Just today I was thinking I should be planning my swan song so my family won’t have to make any decisions! So it’s a timely piece, too.


    • Hi Pat, glad it was meaningful for you. Hope your poetry and writing is going well. Frances


  3. All great advice. I too am choosing burn over bury. 😅


    • I appreciate the feedback and matching comment 🙂


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