A Pennsylvania woman’s obituary that she wrote herself has gone viral thanks to its inspiring reminder to live life to the fullest.
Ashley Ann Kuzma, 32, died of cancer at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio on Sept. 22, but wrote her own obituary prior to her death as a means of making “the transition easier on her family.”
Kuzma, a gifted support teacher at McDowell Intermediate High School in Erie, wrote that because of her recurrent laryngeal cancer “that just won’t take no for answer,” she had a lot of time “to think about death.”
“One positive outcome from having recurrent cancer was that it taught me to let go of the insignificant things and to just enjoy the people and places,” she wrote in the obituary.
She also showcased her sense of humor, joking, “The good thing is I no longer have to worry about saving for retirement, paying off student loans, or trying not to get skin cancer???”
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Kuzma — whose obituary was published Oct. 3 in the Erie Times-News, according to Legacy.com — included a heartfelt hope that those reading her last words would take inspiration from the lessons she’d learned in her battle.
“My wish for you is to stop letting insignificant situations stress you out,” she wrote. “Do what is important to you. Relax and enjoy the company of those around you. What do you value in your life? In the end, that’s what matters.”
As for what she valued, Kuzma wrote that she was “extremely grateful” for the life she lived, and was “fortunate to have a loving family, supportive friends, a stable and meaningful job, and a house to call my own.”
Kuzma wrote that her hobbies included reading and cuddling with her cats, watching Steelers football, and traveling to places like London, Poland, and the Grand Canyon.
“After I found out my cancer was back for the fourth time, I went to Mexico and saw Chichén Itzá,” she wrote.
She concluded her obituary by writing that she did not want a viewing, but a celebration of life, because she believed “viewings are too sad for everyone.”
Kuzma was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2017, and though her tumors were removed after 29 radiation treatments, her cancer returned in February 2018, according to GoErie.com.
In March 2018, she underwent a partial laryngectomy, but by August, the cancer returned once again, this time as mucoepidermoid carcinoma, or cancer of the salivary glands.
At that point, she underwent a total laryngectomy, as well as 30 radiation and five chemotherapy treatments, the outlet reported.
Kuzma lost her vocal cords, but returned to teaching in January 2019 before her cancer came back in March.