WRITE YOUR OWN OBITUARY

Jul 22nd, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: For Senior Women

Your Obituary: One Item on your Prepare for Death List

Seniors are increasingly able to begin to think about their own death.  Making plans and preparations is easier when we recognize our mortality and begin to think about what needs to be done to avoid leaving behind a catastrophe that our loved ones will have to clean up.  The prepare for your death checklist we talked about a few months ago gets a lot of attention.  An item on the checklist that needs attention is your obituary.

Tradition has been to leave the obit up to the funeral home to write.  They have a standard text they use, just substituting names, places and dates in the appropriate place.  It’s dry, dull and boring generally.  But it gives what most consider the most important basic information about a person’s life.

People are beginning to be aware, however, that one’s life is more than where you were born, your parents names, your siblings names, who preceded you in death and who survives you.  Oh yes, and where you will be buried.  When you stop to think about it, those pieces of data say very little about your life.

What would you say about your life?  How would you write your obit?  What do you want others to know about and remember about your life?  That’s what your obituary needs to say.

Some Examples Might Help

We went to legacy.com and found some great help for writing obituaries.  One person wrote about historical events and how they impacted his life.  A man who was alcoholic began his obit the same way he entered AA meetings, “Hi, I’m Charlie and I’m an alcoholic.”  Another wrote a marvelous inspirational piece…  My sisters and I wrote our father’s obituary last December (2011) as we were caring for him in his final days.

Your obituary needs to be a statement about your life, what you considered important and what you want your loved ones to know about the years you spent with them. It needs to be a treasure they will hold to forever.

You might find it strange that we post this article in the Senior Women’s section.  Here is our thinking.  Women tend to be more rational about death than men, in our experience.  If women can read this and begin to think about writing obituaries, they will begin talking with the important men in their lives.  And hopefully they all will begin to think about and write their obituaries.  It will be a big help to the loved ones you leave behind.  And it will be more meaningful for everyone, because you wrote it.

 



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