Most families use an obituary in the local newspaper as a way of remembering everything they loved about someone who has passed away, but one man from America has decided to pen one final letter so others don’t meet the same grizzly death he did.
Geoffrey Turner, 66, from Latham in New York died earlier this month from lung cancer and used his obituary published in the Albany Times Union on February 16 to warn others not to smoke.
“I was an idiot who made the same stupid decision, day-after-day, multiple times per day,” Turner wrote. “I was a smoker and even though I knew it may eventually kill me, I chose to deny the truth to myself.”
He explained that the pain and suffering he caused his family was not worth the “satisfaction” he received from smoking. In fact, he said his habit actually wasted his money, separated him from his family and destroyed his body in the end. And while many people will remember Turner for how he died, he wanted to remind people of the good he did during his years on earth.
“I did many good things, helped lots of people, and even made a decent living,” he wrote. “At 66 years old, I lived a decent life, but there are so many events and milestones I will not be able to share with my loved ones.”
He urged the person reading his obituary not to be “an idiot” by continuing to smoke.
“If you’re a smoker – quit – now – your life depends on it and those that you love depend upon your life,” he warned.
Sadly, Turner left behind his beloved wife, his children and heartbreakingly, four grandchildren.
“Remember, life is good,” he concluded. “Don’t let it go up in smoke.”
His daughter Sarah Huiest, later spoke to Today in the US and explained that the family had no idea Turner planned on writing such a powerful obituary for himself and that they’d been inundated with messages of support since it was first published. She explained that her father started smoking as young as four years old after picking up one of his mother’s cigarettes. While he quit for a number of years after marrying his beloved wife, he picked up the habit again in the 1990s and despite calls from his family to quit, never did.
“He knew how much the family did not like it, and he was vocal while we were growing up that smoking was bad and to never start,” Huiest told Today. “He discussed trying to quit last summer with my mom (before his diagnosis), but didn’t put forth much effort at all.”
It’s not the first time a person has broken tradition to write their own obituary. Following her death earlier this month, Sybil Hicks, from the city of Ontario in Canada, penned her own hilarious obituary, calling her husband a “Horse’s A**” and joked she would finally have “the smoking hot body” she always wanted after being cremated.
— Jim Poling (@PolingRecord) February 5, 2019