Women's Autobiographical Obituary Goes Viral

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Beth And Brendan O'Rourke.Beth And Brendan O'Rourke.

Beth O’Rourke was diagnosed with stage 4 biliary cancer seven years ago. She finally lost her battle with the disease on April 16, but the obituary she wrote for herself has drawn attention from all over the globe. 

“I died… surrounded by family, in the arms of my husband and anam cara, Brendan Patrick O'Rourke. I was 44 years old. I was a survivor. I was blessed in this life with two amazing children; Courtney Elizabeth age 11 and Seamus Brendan aged 8,” she wrote. Beth went on to thank the team of doctors and caregivers and described her own career as a nurse “a calling.” 

“I had the honor and privilege, to care for patients who were amazing people; they often gave me the strength and courage to get through my journey and the desire to return to the work of caring for others,” she wrote. “I hope I was able to give them a fraction of what they gave me.”

Jim Heald, owner of the Heald and Chaimpa funeral home and O’Rourke’s friend, said she showed him the obituary months ago. "She was a planner, and it was in her best efforts to prepare herself and her family for what was coming," he told ABC News. "Being in the first person is very different. I write them for the family and she did it firsthand. It's absolutely magnificent.”

Brendan said Beth was cancer free for a year and a half, but it returned in the form of an inoperable tumor two months ago. Brendan said that’s when his wife called him into the kitchen to read her obituary. "My reaction was, like, 'Oh my God, Beth, why did you do this?'" he told Today. "Beth liked to plan everything, so, that's the reason she wrote her own obituary. She planned the funeral. She planned anything you can think of. She didn't want the burden on her family."

In her obituary, Beth wrote about her love for children, husband and the life they led together.

“I LOVED my life. I loved a long run, to sit quietly by the lake, to read and dance and sing and be silly with our children. We loved watching summer storms blow across the water. I loved to chat and laugh with my sisters and friends, until tears ran down our legs! Brendan and I enjoyed many trips together, most enjoyable were those to Ireland, visiting family to share a pint and some good 'craic.'"

Beth wrote she fought to stay alive to be with her family and now people are fundraising to help her family using GoFundMe. All of the proceeds will go to fund the education of Courtney and Seamus. 

Beth concluded her obituary, "I hope to be remembered, with laughter, love and a good pint. And for my children to know 'No Momma ever did and no Momma ever will. ...'"

Sources: ABC News, Today, GoFundMe, Heald and Chaimpa Funeral Home

Image via GoFundMe