What Really Matters

Thomas Kinkade died recently and as I read his obituary this is what I learned. Mr. Kinkade was a famous painter who made millions of dollars painting scenes that warmed people’s hearts. He died at the age of 54 and of natural causes. It also said that, “Before Kinkade’s Media Arts Group went private in the middle of the past decade, the company took in $32 million per quarter from 4,500 dealers across the country, according to the Mercury News. The cost of his paintings range from hundreds of dollars to more than $10,000.”

That’s impressive, but what was missing from the obituary was what I noticed the most; his family. What difference does it make if you have millions of dollars and no one close to share it with? I did a little research and Mr. Kinkade did have a wife and four daughters, but at the time of his death he was living by himself. I don’t know why they weren’t mentioned in the obituary I read.

Mike Wallace also died recently and his obituary focused on his career as a journalist. Many of the interviews he conducted over the years were mentioned, as well as all the awards he had won. At the end of his obituary was one paragraph about his four marriages and children. 

Both men were famous and famous people are remembered for what they accomplish. Mr. Kinkade painted beautiful pictures and made lots of money. Mr. Wallace conducted interviews on 60 Minutes and wasn’t afraid to ask the tough questions. But after I read their obituaries I couldn’t help but thinking that when we sum up the whole of a person’s life in just a few paragraphs we often leave out the things that really matter.

What were their favorite colors? What kind of music did they listen too? What were their religious beliefs and how did that effect them? Who were their friends? Did they spend much time with their family? Did they have a pet they loved? What were their hopes and dreams?

It’s not that I don’t think careers or accomplishments are important, because I do, but I would hate to think that when I am gone that the only way I would be remembered would be because of my work or awards. In fact, most of us don’t win tropies or awards for our work. We do what we do just because we love it (hopefully) and we need to pay the bills. I suppose if someone was determined to  include an award in my obituary they could tell that in 1976 I was crowned Miss Metcalfe County Bi-Centenniel.  Whoopie Do….so what.

Fame and fortune are fleeting. Life is short and obituaries are shorter. They simply don’t tell about what really matters. Anything we humans accomplish, no matter how large or how small, is only because we take our God given talents and use them. He is the one (the only one) who deserves the glory!

So what does really matter? I can’t answer that for you, but as for me it’s faith, family, friends and then work. My faith is what gets me though and keeps me going. My friends, family and pets are the icing on the cake. My work is my outlet for things I am passionate about (writing, children, education, parenting, grandparenting).

My awards and lifetime achievements are my marriage (32 years this August and going strong!) my 5 children (and the people connected with them) and my two grandchildren. They mean more than any trophy or prize ever could.

That’s what really matters to me…what about you?


  1. This post is what I feel as well about obituaries. Truly, the time between the dashes on our tombstone will tell how we lived….that’s what matters. More than money or fame. I wish to be remembered by how I lived with Jesus in my heart, showing it daily, giving and caring. My family is important as well, 33 years in Oct! Two children and 2 grandchildren, siblings, friends….church family/friends….special to me. My life lived in honor of what God has shown me to do in my life for others. True, it’s my life but God allowed me to live and care for others and work and provide alongside my husband for our family.

  2. margaret 11 Apr, 2012

    I read an article about an interview with Mike Wallace’s son Chris regarding his Father’s health awhile back. Chris stated that though 60 minutes was such a big part of his Dad’s life it was observed that his father never spoke about it in his later years. He only spoke of his family, children, grandchildren, etc.

  3. teresak 14 Apr, 2012

    Good, nice to know he loved and was loved!

  4. teresak 14 Apr, 2012

    Thanks, Becky! I so agree!

  5. This was such an awesome piece. Congratulations – you are one of this week’s features at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy!

    I look forward to reading more of your inspiring posts!

    Create With Joy

  6. teresak 15 Apr, 2012

    Thanks! I love your site and visit frequently. Blessings to you!

  7. This is a really thought-provoking post, thank you for sharing it with Create With Joy. I’m glad I found it as it is easy to misplace priorities and the need to refocus on what really matters comes into play.