The family of a beloved mother of five and grandmother of 13 made sure she would be remembered after her passing for what she was known to do in life: make people laugh.
The children of Sybil Marie Hicks penned an obituary for their mother that has left the internet in stitches, immortalizing the hilarious woman as they know she would have wanted.
“It hurts me to admit it … but I … have passed away,” began the death notice for the 81-year-old Canadian woman, who died on Feb. 2. “I leave behind my loving husband, Ron Hicks, whom I often affectionately referred to as a ‘Horse’s Ass.’
“I also left behind my children whom I tolerated over the years,” it continued, naming her sons, Bob, Brian and Bruce, daughters Brenda and Barbara, their spouses, as well as the nicknames by which she affectionately called them and the inside jokes acquired over the years that never faded.
The obituary named each of her grandchildren and left them with a heartfelt missive: “Grow up to be the incredible people they are meant to be.”
Hicks was born Sybil Marie Lyons and graduated from Waterdown High School with honors. She went on to earn a nursing degree from the Hamilton General Hospital School in 1957 (“Best class EVER!”) and 15 years later, she and her husband started a school bus company in Ontario.
In addition to running that business for more than 20 years, Hicks “was an active horticulturalist, a member of the Eastern Star and a member of the Lion’s Club in Baysville.”
“I finally have the smoking hot body I have always wanted … having been cremated,” the obit quipped. “Thank you all for sharing my life with me. I am off to swim to the buoy and back. Love, Sybil.”
Humorous and heartfelt, the obituary, which first appeared in the Hamilton Spectator three days after Hicks’ death, was a labor of love from three of her children, Barbara, Brenda and Brian.
“But I really think mom was directing Barbara's hand," her son Brian told the Spectator. "It [the obituary] is exactly her voice."
Hicks passed away after an 18-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease, her son said. Though she was not in the condition to write the obituary herself, her children said they knew it was what she would have wanted.
"We decided the boilerplate obituary wasn't mother,” Brian said. “Since we didn't have the opportunity to communicate with her with lucidity at the end, we decided this is one way we can have a final conversation with her and listen to her stories.”
Though they at times questioned the boundaries they pushed with the piece, ultimately Hicks’ children felt the sendoff was appropriate.
“I thought maybe we went too far with the 'hot body' cremation line,” Brian said, but noted that at the funeral, “Everyone said, with no exceptions, on social media that they had never seen a life celebrated so poignantly and hilariously.
“My mother didn't know what the internet was, but in one day she made more than 30,000 friends on it,” he continued.