That Time I Cried on the Internet...

Apr 25, 2020


It was October of 2018. This was the first time I've ever cried openly on the internet. Probably won't be my last either. Not if everything goes right, that is. 

These are not tears of regret. In fact, I would say it is just the opposite. These are tears of gratitude. 

Just prior to this video, I had completed notarizations for a gentleman that was preparing to die. Let's call him Bob. He had a Last Will & Testament, some financial papers, and even a deed for property transfer, so I was thinking this was a standard estate planning appointment. 

Yay for responsible adults! 

So many from my own family have passed away without their affairs in order, so I always hold in awe people that plan this stuff ahead of time. 

But that wasn't Bob. He had not prepared ahead of time. And time was something he no longer had. He knew that, but they surprised me with that news when I arrived. 

Bob's house was filled to the brim with smiling faces and laughter. I thought I had just interrupted a party. 

In some ways, I had. Just not the kind of party I expected. 

Bob was set up in a hospital bed in the living room. When I walked in, I felt a bit like a celebrity. The Notary had arrived, and it was as if everyone had been waiting for my stage performance for hours. Maybe they had, I don't know.  

Some sweet, yet clearly dominant auntie or sister helped quiet the raucous crowd and made some space for us. Most of his friends and family moved to the kitchen or the backyard, so Bob and I could get down to business. 

We exchanged our pleasantries and I set out to begin our notarial "ceremony."

I had already been laughing at Bob's quick wit and funny banter with his family. But now that we were alone, he directed his comic comet at me. 

He handed me his ID, and although he had clearly lost weight, I could tell it was him. He said, "not bad lookin' for a dead guy, right?"

I've learned the hard way in this business not to always just smile and nod. Sometimes, as a Notary Public, we're like a psychologist, or shrink, or a favorite bartender.

People open up to us about the strangest, sweetest, scariest things. 

So, I chose to dig deeper.

"Why do you say that, Bob?"

With eyes that were alight with joy like I've never seen in another person, he said, "you've heard how bad stage four pancreatic cancer is, right?"

"I've heard some things, sure."

"Well, that's nothing. Tell your stage four clients to quit their whining. I've got stage six pancreatic cancer!"

And he laughed, and laughed. 

I couldn't help but laugh too, although to this day, I am not sure exactly what I was laughing at. Seems that's just what you did around Bob. You laughed. 

That's when he told me his story. He was healthy Bob his entire life, until he wasn't. 

And that's what brought Bob and I together.

He was dying. 

That day. 

"How do you know when you'll die, Bob?"

"How do you know you're thirsty, Bill? You just know."

After we finished the paperwork, the whole family piled back into the room, and life went on. 

Once again, laughter, games, tears of joy and tears of sadness. 

If I'm really honest about it, I was confused. 

How were they having so much fun at such a sad time. 

It was beautiful. 

I thanked the family for their time, kindness, and business and said farewell to my new friend Bob for the first, and the last time. 

I felt like part of the family. They were stuffing cash into my pockets and casserole dishes into my notary bag as we hugged our goodbyes.

On my way home, after a few quick appointments, I received a text letting me know that Bob had passed.

How did he do that? How did he know he was going to die that day? 

What a gift to have that insight from the Universe, or God, or whatever Bob believed in. He left our world truly surrounded by love and laughter.

What a way to go.

Bob's final appointment with me changed my life. It showed me a different way to die. In so doing, it showed me a different way to live. 

That's the power of this work. It matters. 

Share Your Story With US

This is just one appointment of thousands that have touched, moved, and inspired me through the years. 

I know you have your own stories and I want to hear them. So does our notary community. 

We need your help writing the next notary book, so if you've ever wanted to be a published writer, this is your time. 

Signing Table Wisdom for Mobile Notaries and Loan Signing Agents (Working Title) is in the works and we have a goal of publishing by November 7, 2020. 

We are accepting submissions until July 31, so you have a little time to think about the stories you may want to share, and then write them. 

For details, check out





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