The obituary for Cody James Holland, who died on August 8 at age 25 due to a drunk driving accident, already reads a bit more unconventional than many obituaries do. Towards the beginning, it says, “He loved his middle finger and showing his butt to the world!” and “Cody played hard and lived life like he wanted. His favorite saying was ‘You don’t tell me what to do, I do what I want!’” But Holland’s family also wanted readers to be more cognizant of the consequences of driving drunk, so they tucked in a few lines at the end that serve as a warning to not drive under the influence, writing, “Cody James left us on August 8, 2020, as a result of injuries sustained from being a dumb***. He drank, drove, and didn’t wear his seat belt! Please, don’t be a dumb***!”
Since the obituary’s “don’t be a dumb***” message has gone viral, Holland’s aunt, Trisha Gutterson Culligan took to Facebook to talk a little more about the thought process behind the obituary, writing, “If this obituary stops one friend, one family member, one stranger from driving drunk behind the wheel of their vehicle…then let this go viral. We were all young once and have ALL made horrible decisions in life. Perhaps our family’s tragic loss saves another family the same heartbreak!” Recently, families have been using obituaries to make important statements. Holland’s family is drawing attention to the dangers of drunk driving, which kills 29 Americans on average per day according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. And with more than 150,000 Americans deaths from COVID-19 thus far, others have also drawn attention to Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in family member’s obituaries. Holland’s funeral service will be held on Friday, August 14 in Ogdensburg, New York. As his family intended it, let this be a lesson: don’t drink and drive!