Family can't help but laugh at their mom's obituary

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- It's an obituary that's gained national attention. Orange Park resident and former Georgia teacher Emily Phillips died last Wednesday, about a month after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It's not her death that's unusual, or making news. It's the way she remembers her life.

Bonnie Upright says her mother had a binder, Emily's Death Notebook. In this binder, instructions for when Emily dies.

"For years the plan was 'Bonnie, will you please write my obituary?'" said Upright.

When 69-year-old Emily Phillips was diagnosed with cancer in February, she decided to take things into her own hands and write her obituary. It begins, "It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away," but the note quickly moves to humor and sass.

"I do find it surprising that she was able to work in the words 'hiney' and 'naked' in the obituary, that might have been a surprise. The fact that she did it, and she did it in context, is beautiful," said Upright.

She talks about her childhood memories like her mother putting on an apron and her father calling square dances.

"So often I think when obituaries are written, it talks about the people left behind. I love that this was about her, that it's about my mom. And no body deserves it more," said Upright.

Now, she gets to share her mom with the world.

"Everyone thinks their mother is the best and is wonderful -- I have proof now. I think the fact that my mom "won the internet" the past couple of days is pretty darn cool. She would be loving the attention," said Upright. "She was a wonderful mother, a terrific grandmother, and a great sister, and aunt, and wife and all of those things that you hear. But she was a person. She was an individual, and I think sometimes in life we all get caught up in our roles day to day. So, I just think it's wonderful she was was able to tell her story in her words, in a really impactful, special way."

You can read the entire obituary here: Emily DeBrayda Phillips Obituary


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