One of the things that I notice as I get older, especially now with the threat of Covid-19, is I always look at the obituaries in the Newspaper looking for someone I might have known and at the ages of the deceased. Although there have been few names of people I knew, I have noticed that a lot of men my age or younger are dying.

That got me thinking about my own eventual demise, especially what would people remember about me afterward and say at my wake? No, I don’t plan to have a funeral as that is a religious affair, and I am a non-believer. I am not an atheist. I just don’t believe in the biblical caring God.

So, what would they say about me, and most importantly, what would I like them to say? So, I thought I would give them some help with that, and here it is.

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ELLIOT ACTOR  1939 – 20XX

Back in 2017, Elliot wrote an essay after camping out in his trailer in the desert near Tucson, in which he said he had found bliss. So, what did he mean by that? What was bliss to Elliot?

Was it happiness, was it contentment, was it satisfaction with oneself or just peace of mind? Elliot thought it was a combination of all of those.

As he reflected on his life, he realized how amazingly wonderful it had been. How lucky he was to somehow have finished high school without being thrown into jail for all the stupid things he did. And then following that, to be able to survive over five years in the Marine Corp with many months of harrowing combat experience as a sniper in North Vietnam and somehow manage to come through it all without with any lasting mental or physical issues. In fact, he believed enlisting in the Marine Corp was probably the best thing he could have done as it helped him where I needed help the most, to get out from under the shadow of his older brother, and to grow up and mature.

Then afterward, how fortunate he was to have been able to put himself through college without any assistance from his family, and especially during that time to meet the beautiful woman, Barbara, he fell in love with and married. An extremely happy marriage of XX (58 Now) years with two terrific and loving children Cheryl and Charles that have blessed them with five marvelous grandchildren, Miranda, Parker, Gabriella, Mathew, and Jason.

Elliot remembered well the challenges they went through for six years as he was working fulltime at various companies while finishing college and raising a family. He also realized how fortunate he had been to land a job with IBM well before graduating.

At IBM, during his 28 years, he had embarked on a remarkable career ascending from engineering up to senior marketing management positions in the USA and Asia. He also knew how even luckier he was to have had the opportunity to spend the last four years of his career with IBM before retiring, creating, and managing a higher education philanthropy program. There he was able to give away large sums of IBM’s money to over one hundred colleges and universities like Santa Claus.

Since retiring from IBM way back in 1992, Elliot believed his life had continued to be remarkable.  He had worked at various fulfilling and, most times, enjoyable jobs, as a marketing consultant, in a small hardware store, as a skilled handyman, and lastly as a realtor. He and Barbara had done a great deal of international traveling together, and he was almost through his Bucket List. Sure there were some health issues like most people his age, including having quadruple bypass surgery back in 2001, which he made it through without any apparent ramifications. And since then, other than a torn ACL that needed repair and the usual senior aches and pains, he had had no significant problems.

Elliot was also quite pleased with himself that at the age of seventy-five, he had embarked upon a totally new career as a writer. Not only had that since kept him busy, he had also met many special new friends, and had successfully published four novels on Amazon. The first book dealt with his memoirs while in the Marine Corps, and the last three were fictional thrillers, a genre Elliot enjoyed.

Of course, looking back, he also realized how fortunate he had been to have such wonderful friends and how truly empty his life would have been without all of them.

So, what was left for him? Elliot thought maybe it would be nice to buy a house on the water somewhere and buy himself another Porsche; however, why? He had been there and already done that. In fact, he had done almost everything he had ever wanted to do or ever dreamt of doing.

Elliot also reflected back with satisfaction on the myriad of extra-curricular activities he had been able to do during his life, and as he liked to say, “I’ve been there and done that.” There were years of scuba diving, sailing, tennis, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, hiking, sports cars, motorcycles, travel trailers, and lastly, kayaking.

And that is when Elliot came to the realization that he had indeed found bliss. If he had reached the end of his life right there, right now, it would be okay for he was happy and content. He had had an enjoyable and fulfilling life, and if it was over, he had no regrets, it would be all right!.

Elliot Actor is a retired IBM marketing executive and did not take up creative writing until very late in life. Almost all his previously published writings were limited solely to articles and reports that were technical, marketing, or business-related. His first book published in 2015 on Amazon was based primarily on a fictionalized accounting of his memoirs while serving in Marine Corps Recon as a sniper in Vietnam. That novel for personal and legal reasons he published anonymously under a pen name. Although no advertising was done this novel has sold quite well, and Elliot learned he enjoyed writing, especially fiction, and had a talent for storytelling. To improve his writing skills Elliot took several online fiction writing classes and joined weekly writer’s groups. The Forgotten Bomb published on Amazon in 2018, and the follow on novel DESPOT, published in 2019 are a direct result of those efforts. His latest action/adventure thriller The Exiles published in 2020 is a further culmination of the development of his fiction writing skills.

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