Writing your own obituary…Jan 22nd, 2010 | By Rick@Leonard Family Legends & Legacies | Category: Featured Articles
C’mon now, have you really read all those obituaries and not given any thought to your own? How do you want people to remember you? Do you really want to leave your obituary in the hands of someone who might be guessing?
Why should writing your own obituary be any different than creating a will or granting power of attorney? You don’t even have to finish it because, let’s face it, most of us won’t see the grim reaper coming. But if we leave something behind, at least our grieving descendants will have an idea where to start.
My mind started down this path when I finally tracked down an obituary for an ancestor who lived in one state and ended up buried in another. “Finally,” I thought, “some answers to some very old questions.” What I got was an obituary that told me absolutely nothing about how or when he got to the other state or why he went there. What I got was a recitation of names and dates that I already had.
The one thing an obituary should NOT be is a resume. Take a cue from the obituaries that taught you the most or proved to be delightfully enlightening. Aren’t they the ones with personal recollections or anecdotes? Don’t they make note of the deceased’s pastimes and favorite places? Shouldn’t they mention hardships as well as successes?
As weird as it sounds, things do get a little easier when you write in third person. In other words, you talk about yourself as if you were a close friend or relative. “Rick always wished he lived closer to family” is easier to write than, “I wish I had never moved away.”
There are a whole host of resources and Web sites designed for this very task, so you needn’t feel conceited or self indulgent for at least exploring the possibilities. Here are a few, just off the top of my head:
One word of warning… once you start down this path, it’s a very short hop to an autobiography… which is where I’ve been spending the majority of my free time for the past few months… and why the posts here are getting fewer and farther between. No excuses, just the facts.