Hello to all!
Have you ever put any thought in how you'd like to be remembered? I use to work in advertising for a very large newspaper, part of my job was also workiing the legal department as well as the obituary department. A thought many of us don't like to think about. Some of us have had a loved one pass away and wrote the obituary for them, while others let the mortuary take care of the obituary for them. Have you ever wondered how you would like yours to read? Which brings to mind many of the issues and questions on forums that we all bring up to each other. It allows us to take a hard look at ourselves and wonder how we would view our lives as well as how others viewed it.
So I thought I'd share this story below on Mike Hughes, who was given two weeks to live and had the opportunity to write his own. So how would yours read? Food for thought wouldn't you say ;0)
An autobiographical obituary by the late Mike Hughesby unfinishedthinking
After many unexplained delays, I have finally lived up to my prognosis and have at last departed this life. Its been a life Ive loved.
In the months leading up to this moment, I was astonished at the outpouring of love and caring and respect from hundreds of people. There were handwritten notes, emails, blog posts, comments, letters, magazine articles, personal visits and phone calls. The tsunami of glorious thoughts sent my way has made it increasingly hard to justify my deep insecurity about my place in the worldan insecurity Ive clung to all my life.
I want to take this last opportunity to clear up one common misjudgment in the oft-repeated, highly exaggerated list of my virtues. Many of you have credited me with humility. Thats not even close to true.
No one has ever been prouder of a marriage than Ive been of my 38 years with Ginny. There have been outrageous laughs, tears, squabbles, joys, illnesses, heartbreaks and thrills. Weve shared eye-opening travels and surrendered to high calorie challenges. Weve held hands during quiet moments that Ive treasured more than any other. Although weve never quite recovered from it, we somehow survived Prestons death, holding on to each other the whole way. Im proud of that. Theres been love and friendship and high expectations. Shes made my life feel extraordinary even in its most ordinary moments.
Our sons have been the source of unending pride. Preston, who provided some of the biggest adventures in my life, was always a handful, but he was also always his own man. What father wouldnt be proud of that?
And Jason. Quick and smart and passionate and outspoken and funny and competent and good and nurturing. Ive never met a better man.
Jason brought us Carley and Ella, the daughter and granddaughter we wanted and needed. Theres no room for humility in my feelings about my girls. Carley is the best baker in the world and Ella is, as shes quick to tell you, the best drawer in the world. Ive always been afraid of women and Ive always been a feminist. These are two of the reasons why.
Im proud to have been the son of Ann and Jim. They loved each other as much as they loved Patti and me: theres no better gift parents can give their children. Im proud we shared our home and I shared my room growing up with my uncle, Jim Kennedy, known to all as Foo Foo.
You cant help being proud if Patti Hughes is your sister. My whole life has been a quest to be as funny as Patti. Shes lived a life filled to the top with great friends and great adventures around the world. Shes taken care of our mother with a gentleness and strength few people could muster.
Uncle Doctor Todd Jarrell is an honorary third son and Im proud to have him in the family. And Im equally proud to have Prestons partner, David Jackson, as an honorary son-in-law.
Im proud of my most intimate friends. I wont name them all, but it would be wrong not to mention George and Megan Douglas, Craig and Beverly Bowlus, Larry Hall and Flinn Dallis, Bruce and Nancy Mansfield, Ed and Eileen Kitces. Over many years, theyve put up with my crazy work hours and my general unreliability. The conversations weve had have been invigorating. I am especially proud to count many of their grown kids among my closest friends today.
Im proud, too, to have lived and worked alongside incredibly talented people who were also incredibly good and generous people. My mentors always treated me as valued friends. Father Augustine made high school bearable and made me try new things. During my newspaper days, Jerry Finch was the editor every young reporter should have. Larry Kaplan was my first advertising boss, encouraging me early on to reach highereven if it meant working somewhere else. Bill Wynne was my first partner/mentor. He brought out the entrepreneurial side of me.
Then there was Harry. Harry Jacobs made The Martin Agency a contender in the industry worldwideand he made me an advertising man. He put me on a wonderful track that Ive stayed on for 34 years. I hope hes half as proud of me as I am of him.
Ive learned from many of the industry leaders Ive worked with at The Martin Agency, but none taught me more or stuck with me longer than John Adams. Hes the wonderfully stubborn, highly principled partner every creative director desperately needs. He and I have had the extreme good fortune to work side by side with the best agency management people in the business.
Im proud to have been one of the hundreds of people who put The Martin Agency on the map. We owe a lot to our clients and stockholders, of course, but no one gets in this line in front of the men and women who earned their paychecks doing things a little group in Richmond, Virginia, wasnt supposed to be able to do. I cant begin to list the account, planning, media, design, tech, administration, finance and business partners who have done the work for which Ive been given so much credit. I hope they know how much Ive needed them and how much Ive loved them. I cant remember the first time I said I do work I love with people I love, but I know Ive said it thousands of times. Every word is true.
A special call-out is due to the magnificent, crazy, elegant, messed-up, damn-near-perfect gaggle of creative partners who have put up with me for so long. Hundreds of writers and art directors have come through the doors of the agencies Ive been lucky enough to serve. A huge number of those writers and art directors taught me valuable lessonsnot just in advertising, but in how to live a meaningful, all-in life. The greatest joy in our business comes not from a gold medal or a place in the industry hall of fameit comes from doing the work and from doing it with people of integrity and ambition and good humor.
Im embarrassed that I get way too much credit for the success of the VCU Brandcenter. Diane Cook Tench, Rick Boyko, Gene Trani, Helayne Spivak, the students, the alumni, the faculty and the administration deserve all the bows. Still Im proud (if a little self-conscious) that my names on the side of the building. And I proudly liberate the current administration from any obligation it might feel to keep that giant painting of me hanging over the stairway.
I should say Im proud of all the honors Ive been accorded in my career, but the truth is, Ive never been sure I deserved them. Im a hall of fame creative director because Ive worked for and with hall of fame caliber people. My honorary doctorateand every other citation and award Ive collectedis also an honor for those people. I am inordinately proud to have represented the groups Ive represented.
Im both proud of and grateful to the people who have taken care of me in the cancer years. Julie Garner made the appointment for me to visit Johns Hopkins. Helen Vennard and Susan Lueke have been eternally patient with Americas medical systems and with me. I have no idea how they do that. They wrapped their arms around Ginny, Jasons family and me and made us feel safe and protected and indulged.
One final thought. I hope each of you enjoys every minute of your life. Youve all contributed so much to mine.
And one last favor. Keep me in your thoughts. I love you.