AN Irish American doctor wrote his own obituary days before he passed away – and it's a remarkable display of a man facing his mortality with a herculean sense of humour.
Thomas Lee Flanigan a US Army veteran of two tours, died at 48 years of age, on 27 April 2021.
Flanigan, also a respected surgeon and doctor, rose to become Lieutenant Colonel during his time in the forces.
His obituary, which is published at www.Legacy.com, is at once both amusing and tear jerking.
It opens with: "Well, that's it. I have completed my shift as the great American cliché... my wild and crazy life has again taken a new, unexpected turn with my shocking and unexpected, yet fabulous, exit."
Thomas was renowned for his sense of humour and rib-tickling New Year's letters, which he would pepper with wry words of wisdom for the enjoyment of his family and friends on Facebook each year.
Continuing his playfully stoic farewell, he wrote to them: "What was I to this world if not a beacon of light shining upon those who couldn't scan the internet for their own hilarious and entertaining comic relief?
"I guess what I am trying to say is that you're welcome and you owe me big time," Thomas jokingly added.
The doctor is survived by his wife Amy and their three children Joey, 14, Evelyn 13, and Sylvia, 10, and his parting wish was that people should "please take good care of them like the priceless treasures they are".
The obituary continues: “I will admit that I originally got married for the husband jokes and had kids for the dad jokes. It did not disappoint.
"The jokes I mean, but Amy and the kids were pretty good too. Going to school events, dance competitions, and eight zillion hockey practices at the crack of dawn really makes a man's life worthwhile.
"I also saw some other delightful things in my time here - Hawaiian volcanoes, Egyptian pyramids, and even the advent of air fryers. I will say, it was magical, all of it.”
Thomas’s humour stayed with him up to the end, as he signed off: "Due to the unknown and cosmic nature of my next mission, this will be our last communication.
"It will self-destruct in five minutes.
"My whereabouts are now top secret, but let's just say I have made some new friends by the names of Elvis and Kenny.
"The Church of Tom is closed for business, but please continue to worship me, light candles, and send money. You know the deal."