An introduction to an inspiring new type of obituary called: "Lessons from Loved Ones", or LFLOs, i.e. Leaflows!

Dr. Monroe Mann, PhD, Esq, MBA, LLM, ME, EMT
Founder & Executive Director, Break Diving, Inc.

I find obituaries so bleak, clinical, and depressing.  They are supposed to commemorate someone’s life, but let’s be honest, who really reads obituaries?  I don’t.

And who actually feels more alive after reading one?  Well, not me, for one.

And why do you have to live in that particular town, and buy that particular paper, to read an obituary that should be inspiring millions?  That seems rather selfish–haha–to hide your loved one from the world like that! 😀

Next, aren’t there greater lessons to be learned from the people in our lives than just a few grammatically stilted sentences that don’t really give a true picture of someone’s life?

Finally, do we really want to read an obituary that sugar coats someone’s life, making the person seem like a living angel, when we all know that no one is perfect?  Whenever I read obituaries of people I know, I often raise an eyebrow, because they are never reflective of the actual person who walked this planet.  I want to read an obituary that both recognizes that every person is flawed, and nonetheless commemorates that person’s life, noting that there are valuable life lessons to be learned from flaws as well as accomplishments.  For example, I know I am chock full of flaws, and I certainly don’t want to only be remembered for my good points when I know that my flaws are instructive to others too.

You see, my dad died yesterday, at the ripe old age of 95 years old.  I love my dad, and sometimes he was great, and sometimes… not so great.  In other words, he wasn’t perfect.  Yet… some of the finest lessons I learned about life are not a result of his amazing parenting, but actually, due to some of his shortcomings.  I am grateful for him for sometimes showing me the right thing to do, but also by sometimes showing me the opposite, i.e. by indirectly showing me what not to do.  I want people to benefit from all the lessons I learned from my dad, and that means drawing from the good and the bad.

And bottom line, I want the world to be inspired by it–not just a few random people who happen to read the local obituary.

So, where’d the idea come from?  Well, yesterday, I was calling around to the various newspapers in my town regarding obituaries.  The local one offers the obituary for free, but maxing out at 500 words.  Very few people read the local paper.  On the other hand, the regional county paper charges something like $1 per line.  Oh that’s nice.  So I’ll commemorate my dad like he is some ‘classified ad’–that’s classy!  And then I picked up the paper and read a few obituaries, just to get some ideas.  Oh my gosh, so boring, and so depressing.

Someone’s death should not make us depressed about living!  Someone’s life should help inspire us to live a better life before we die!

In other words, an obituary should celebrate one’s life and allow family members to grieve, buuuuut should not depress those writing and reading it.  In fact, it should motivate those writing and reading it.  Which brings us to the point of this article.

Since Break Diving is all about inspiring others to succeed in life, we are now introducing a brand new type of obituary, called “Lessons from Loved Ones”, or LFLOs (pronounced: leaflows).  Perhaps as one of us dies, a leaf floats down from heaven, flowing back and forth as it descends, chock full of wisdom from that person to be shared with the world.

So, Lessons from Loved Ones is an obituary:

  • that commemorates the person’s life in a way that is accessible to all who read it, not just those who know the person;
  • that inspires the reader;
  • that shows the humanity of that person’s life, with lessons learned from both the good qualities/decisions and the bad qualities/decisions
  • that is not only FREE, but accessible worldwide by anyone with an internet connection.
  • that will have a much more cathartic effect on the family member(s) writing it because each family member can write a different LFLO (Pronounced: leaflow) unique to him or her, and share those lessons with the world, thus not only commemorating that person’s life with the world, but also sharing valuable lessons with the world at the same time.
  • that explains why and how that person died (in a tasteful manner) which often is left out, but would help readers by sharing whether it was drugs, an accident, a medical condition, etc. (thanks to board member Debbie Bordelon for this final suggestion!)

Since my dad inspired me to create this new type of obituary, I figured it only proper that the first one be in commemoration of him, Colonel Monroe Yale Mann, Sr., PhD, Esq (February 2, 1922 – October 21, 2017).  It’s only been a day since he died, and although I’m sad, I know he wouldn’t want me moping around too much over his death.  So I’m working on it now, and will post what I learned from my dad shortly.

I love you dad!  Thanks for inspiring me with this great idea!

Forget depressing obituaries!  Stay tuned!  The first inspiring leaflow, i.e. LFLO, i.e. Lessons From Loved Ones is coming at you soon!

If you would like to write a leaflow about someone special who impacted your life, please join our free community at www.breakdiving.org/community and then let us know!


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