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My Epitaph

“Inscribed on the devil’s tombstone, ‘Here lies the devil, just like always.'” FeatherLeaf

An epitaph is a succinct summary of life. Here is mine, “At least he tried.” 

tombstone photoThere was this person who went to high school who died prematurely. He wasn’t a friend of mine. I really didn’t have many friends back then being the target of bullying and such. This person was an arrogant person who really didn’t have too much to boast about. Sadly my most prominent memory of him is very negative. He was in the lunch room one time and had forgotten his dollar for lunch. He wanted to borrow a dollar from me but I was reluctant, after all, he was more enemy than a friend. I relented and gave him a dollar. The next day when I asked for my money back he refused saying he paid me back. Sure in hindsight it was trivial encounter, but it is my memory of this person.

Though this person died quite a while ago I never read his obituary. When I finally did I saw that he became a lawyer. Apparently, after high school, he buckled down and did some real studying. Unfortunately, outside of his work and how he liked to enjoy life, there was little substance. I can think of my neighbor’s future obituary of how he was devoted to animals. Or even my mother’s in saying how she worked with the boy scouts. It seems this person remained a  self-centered individual. I have to say his demise was a tragedy of high magnitude.

Reflecting on my own life I can say that the time I spent as a volunteer missionary with the Church of Christ at Chancellor Avenue in the inner city of Newark was the best time I spent. For eight years we went into the community trying to spread the gospel. We knocked on thousands of doors, talked to hundreds of people, disseminated thousands of tracts and around forty people participated. I would be involved in this activity right now if my wife wasn’t in need of constant care.

So let’s turn the cameras around and feature you the reader. What will be said about you when you pass away?  If you died tomorrow what would your story be? Like my associate from high school too many are caught up in the pursuit of mammon. I recall the boss at the engineering company say repeatedly “I don’t care if it ever gets built as long as we get paid.” Where is the pride in your work? Where is the thrive to help society? My old boss has reduced his humanity to a cash amount. He is simply selling his intellect for money.

When I was in engineering school, the same school my old boss went by, the way, I was involved in a fraternity. As a pledge, I had to interview all the brothers in the fraternity. One of the questions was why did you come to this school? Almost every single one of them answered: “To make a lot of money.” No wonder why engineers can create weapons of war and destruction, their hearts and minds are controlled by their wallets and bank accounts.

To be blunt and totally honest this love of money is the ruin of the whole world. But how do we change that? The answer lies within the topic, creating an epitaph that you would be well pleased with. Getting back to my old boss he was a miserable human being only caring about the job. One time I was doing a delivery and the way back I broke down. I called him on the phone and the first words out of his mouth were “Does that mean you didn’t make the delivery?” I don’t mind him asking that but please ask me if I’m okay first. I think my boss had a respect for me as I was honest. He would ask me privately about how jobs were going to get a true answer.

One time my boss told me a story of what happened to him. He was driving back from a meeting in Atlantic City and the car in front of him spun out. My boss could have been killed and I think this disturbed him. Whatever the case it wasn’t normal that he would talk about anything outside of work. That is the thing about life, it can and will change you. The trick is going with the flow and doing the right thing.

One thing I’d like to have as a legacy is being remembered as a great poet and author. So please check out my book called “From Chaos To Cosmos.” It is a unique book.

Photos by Tobyotter,

My Epitaph

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2018). My Epitaph. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 10, 2019, from


Last updated: 13 Jun 2018
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