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Teacher writes own obit before dying at 32: ‘Stop letting insignificant situations stress you out’

ERIE, Pa. — A woman wrote her own obituary before passing away at the age of 32 after a brave battle with cancer.

Ashley Ann Kuzma began by saying, “When you have recurrent laryngeal cancer that just won’t take no for an answer, you have a lot of time to think about death. 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??? 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.”

Kuzma said her body finally had enough after three recurrences of cancer. She died last month at the Cleveland Clinic.

She was a gifted teacher at a high school in Erie, Pennsylvania. Kuzma loved reading, cuddling with her cats and traveling.

She wrote that after she found out her cancer was back for the fourth time, she went to Mexico and saw Chichen Itza.

“I am extremely grateful for the life that I lived. I was fortunate to have a loving family, supportive friends, a stable and meaningful job, and a house to call my own. My wish for you is to stop letting insignificant situations stress you out. 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.”

Kuzma’s family told Good Morning America they didn’t know she had written her obituary until they found it on her computer following her death.

Kuzma’s mom, Vicky, said,  “When we found it we were like, ‘What do we do?’ and I said, ‘She wrote this. We have to publish this. This is her last message to us, how could we not?’”

In her obituary, Kuzma asked that a celebration of life be held for her “since I think viewings are too sad for everyone.”

She also asked that donations be made to the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania (Erie Humane Society), Orphan Angels Cat Sanctuary & Adoption Center Erie, Pa., or , Cleveland, Ohio.

Read her obituary, here.

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