You could say, in a way, that Val Patterson ultimately got the last word. The Salt Lake City, Utah, man penned his own obituary before his expected death, and man, it is an absolute doozy.
Patterson died July 10 from throat cancer at age 59. He knew he would probably not survive the illness brought on by years of smoking, so last fall Patterson started putting together his own final goodbye. He speaks sweetly of a life well-lived and his undying love for his wife, but also careens into some sharp humor and rather bizarre confessions. The whole thing is definitely worth a read, but here are some choice excerpts:
I enjoyed one good life. Traveled to every place on earth that I ever wanted to go. Had every job that I wanted to have. Learned all that I wanted to learn. Fixed everything I wanted to fix. Eaten everything I wanted to eat.
To the gang: We grew up in the very best time to grow up in the history of America. The best music, muscle cars, cheap gas, fun kegs, buying a car for "a buck a year" -- before Salt Lake got ruined by overpopulation and Lake Powell was brand new. TV was boring back then, so we went outside and actually had lives.
On cleaning the slate:
Also, I really am NOT a PhD. What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan at the U of U, the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail. I didn't even graduate, I only had about three years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters "PhD" even stood for.
Now to that really mean Park Ranger; after all, it was me that rolled those rocks into your geyser and ruined it. I did notice a few years later that you did get Old Faithful working again.
My regret is that I felt invincible when young and smoked cigarettes when I knew they were bad for me. Now, to make it worse, I have robbed my beloved Mary Jane of a decade or more of the two of us growing old together and laughing at all the thousands of simple things that we have come to enjoy and fill our lives with such happy words and moments.
I've had great joy living and playing with my dog, my cats and my parrot. But, the one special thing that made my spirit whole, is my long love and friendship with my remarkable wife, my beloved Mary Jane. I loved her more than I have words to express. Every moment spent with my Mary Jane was time spent wisely.
On living forever:
If you want to live forever, then don't stop breathing, like I did.
Patterson's wife Mary Jane confirmed to KSL that all of the confessions were true. As is requested in the obituary, Patterson's family will hold no funeral, no big to-do, just a small remembrance ceremony. But Patterson has fashioned himself one of the best sendoffs anyone could hope to have, and luckily, he took us all along for the ride.