Do you know what you want written on your tombstone?

I’m not embarrassed to say I’m 21 years old and I’ve never understood death. I’ve stopped watching the news because it presents death as an overpopular theme in our world.

I think we should truly ask ourselves, does misery really need that much company? Is it true that bad things happen to so many good people? Is our world really in shambles? Are the news stations avoiding good news because they won’t make as much money? Or are we just not interested in other people’s happiness?

The other day, I read about a news station that only broadcasted good news. They were shut down because they lacked a large audience. Maybe to most people, the beauty of life was just a fad.

I’ve always believed life is measured in hearts beating. The harder you push yourself, the harder your heart beats. Hearts beat along to a clock, which beat along to a moment, which beat along to a day. Each day has an important meaning that brings some sort of twinkle to our eye; a twinkle and a feeling that reek of defiance and a better plan.

Just like golf, each day has one swing that convinces us to book another tee time. Every morning life’s clock ticks on until eventually, the ticking translates into beats, beats turn into tears, and tears turn into tombstones. And it happens much too soon.

The tombstones are engraved with quotes that are said to describe you as a person. I’ve always lived by the idea, “If your life was a book, would anybody want to read it?” I guess not everybody will have a book read about them, but they will have a statement. And when somebody stares at that final piece of stone that marks your destitute resting place in time, the words engraved with a chisel and a hammer, I hope that statement tells the reader what kind of person you were.

After all the blood, sweat, and tears that are put into living your life, you get a shard of boulder with a statement. You are given your whole life to create that statement. I hope your words are written beautifully and honestly. Irony presents itself as perfection hidden between the lines.

In our society success is equated with excess, but the last thing we are given is a simple phrase. Genius.

Recently, I was asked what I’d want engraved on my tombstone when my time came. I thought about it for a few minutes, and then laughed because I didn’t have an answer. It was then I realized I did; it was just laced in the subtleties.

My tombstone will read: “Happiness was my drug, and yes, I was an addict.”

I hope the statement people choose for their stone rings as true as the alarm clock that wakes them in the morning. I hope their battery isn’t low and the clock isn’t blinking eights.

Michael LaBrie lives in Dracut. If you would like to be a guest columnist, submit a story of the length above with a jpeg photo of yourself to