Throat cancer victim’s self-written confessional obituary goes viral
A US man’s self-written obituary, in which he reminisces about the good times — and makes a few confessions, including never having earned the PhD he claimed in life — has gone viral.
Val Patterson, who died of throat cancer last week, professed his abiding love for his wife and remembered the joy of being young in Utah. But he also admitted to some things he shouldn’t have done.
“As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971. I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest,” he said in the obituary in the Salt Lake Tribune.
“Also, I really am NOT a PhD. What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan… the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later a PhD diploma came in the mail.
“I didn’t even graduate, I only had about three years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters ‘PhD’ even stood for.”
The 59-year-old described himself as an “artist, inventor, business man, ribald comedian, husband, brother, son, cat lover, cynic.
“I had a lot of fun,” he wrote.
“It was an honor for me to be friends with some truly great people. I thank you. I’ve had great joy living and playing with my dog, my cats and my parrot.
“But, the one special thing that made my spirit whole, is my long love and friendship with my remarkable wife, my beloved Mary Jane. I loved her more than I have words to express.”
Nonetheless, he said: “My regret is that I felt invincible when young and smoked cigarettes when I knew they were bad for me.
“Now, to make it worse, I have robbed my beloved Mary Jane of a decade or more of the two of us growing old together and laughing at all the thousands of simple things that we have come to enjoy.”
He concluded: “If you knew me or not, dear reader, I am happy you got this far into my letter. I speak as a person who had a great life to look back on.
“If you knew me, remember me in your own way. If you want to live forever, then don’t stop breathing, like I did.”
The online obituary was linked to a memorial video on the website of a local funeral parlor — which crashed Tuesday under the weight of people trying to log on to see more, at one point receiving 100,000 hits a minute.
[Ultrasound on a throat via Bork / Shutterstock]