Your ethical will: What will your epitaph say?

Welcome to tell your life story by answering 12 questions!

This series of blog posts is inspired by the book For you when I am gone by Steve Leder.

Together we will answer one question at the time, giving us a story to share with our loved ones. We will also give ourselves a chance to reflect. Are we living according to our values?

You are more than welcome to share your answer in a comment.

As Steve Leder puts it:

Telling our stories is a way to share whatever meaning and joy we have found along the way, the depth of our love for others and for life itself.

To share our story with someone is to say, you matter to me.

Question 11:  What will your epitaph say?

According to Steve, most of us feel like an imposter at some point because we are not really who others believe we are. To align as much as we can to our values, we need to know them well. Writing an epitaph while we are still alive can give us the clarity we need.

“Whether or not you plan to have a grave or a headstone, you can use the constraints they require to clarify your purpose: distilling the essence of your life down to four lines with no more than fifteen characters per line.”

Here are two examples from the book:

“Loving mother & Friend

Because nothing else matters.”


“In the end, together again.”


It didn’t take me long to come up with the essence of my epitaph - but it took me a while to shorten it to fit into the epitaph format of 4 lines with up to 15 characters per line:

Touching hearts

& Opening minds

She loved

And was loved

What will your epitaph say?

Are you living up to the words?

If not, it’s never too late to change...