Writing your own obituary is a highly personal task. There is no right or wrong way to do it. You simply write down the things you want to be remembered for once you are gone.
However, if you are new to the task — and we’re betting you are — we can offer a few tips that can help make your final tribute more informative. So let’s start with the first paragraph. It’s the one part that should be incomplete because it needs to be finished by a designated friend or family member after you’re gone.
Here’s an example:
“John Doe of (place of residence) died (day and date) at (place of death). He was (age).” If you write it just that way, your friend or family member can easily enter the needed information before posting the obituary.
Typical obituaries often contain information about funeral plans, if any. You may or may not want to include that. After all, the point of this tribute is to highlight your life and it will be around a long time after any services are held. Still, it’s up to you.
Records of your family
Obituaries are also historical records of family relationships, so it’s a good idea to mention the people you are leaving behind and their relationship to you. If family members, such as parents or siblings, have already died, obituaries often say “he/she was preceded in death by…”
Next, tell the world about your life. Mention the things you have done that make you most proud. Tell us about the places you have been and the things you have accomplished. And it can be unexpected. We recently received a post from a highly successful business executive. His greatest achievement, he said was that his son still sought his advice. You have no space limitations or word counts so don’t hold back.
Remember, you can always log back in and edit or add and delete from your story. Think of it as a work in progress.
Writing your own final chapter does two worthwhile things. It makes sure your story is told the way you want it told. It also relieves your family from writing your obituary at a time when they are dealing with grief and a sense of loss.
So let’s get started!