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A hope note

Try closing your eyes for a moment and imagining yourself as Ebenezer Scrooge did, with the help of The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, running your forefinger over the letters that will one day be engraved on your tombstone.
Should you die soon, what would make a fitting epitaph for the life you have sculpted thus far?
Louis Pasteur, with his experiments that saved a nine-year-old boy from rabies on his mind, asked that three words appear on his headstone: ‘Joseph Meister Lived!’ Dr. Abraham Jacobi, the father of the field of pediatrics, exacted a promise from his family that only two words would go on his grave marker: ‘I Served.’ William Natcher, distinguished Kentucky Congressman for 40 years, didn’t accept campaign contributions and never missed a vote. His relatives engraved under his name these fitting words: ‘He Tried to Do It Right.’ I once read an inscription on a monument in a New Mexico boot hill: ‘Ever She Sought the Best, Ever She Found It.’ I like that.
David Packard (co-founder of Hewlett-Packard), one of Silicon Valley’s first self-made billionaires, lived 40 years in the same little house that he and his wife built in 1957. For fun, Packard had friends over to string barbed wire on his little ranch. He had no material symbols of his wealth that trumpeted: ‘I have arrived. I’m successful. I’m somebody.’ He bequeathed his $5.6 billion estate to charity. The caption he requested for his tombstone made no reference to his stature as one of the greatest industrialists ever. It reads simply: ‘David Packard, 1912-1996, Rancher, etc.’
Today, while it is still day, we are composing our obituary. As Mr. Keating whispered to his students in the movie, ‘Dead Poets Society,’ ‘The powerful play goes on. And you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?’

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