Writing Your Own Obituary

It may seem morbid, but writing down some thoughts about your own obituary can actually provide an opportunity for self-evaluation.

Besides making sure those dealing with your death will have the dates and accomplishments correct, writing out an obituary can be a catalyst to making life changes. Whether its doing the things you always thought you would do or focusing on what is really important to you, the process can be inspiring.

Try reading the obituaries of others in the local news to see what you like, don’t like or didn’t think to consider when drafting your own final send off. The Funeral Service Association of Canada recommends writing a list of loved ones and then creating a timeline of your life in chronological order to ensure nothing important is left out. Record any accomplishments you would want people to know about and ask others for suggestions of what to include, their answers may surprise you.

Don’t forget to include a photograph of yourself. It can be challenging for loved-ones to find recent photos of a deceased loved-one that everyone agrees upon. Have a professional head-shot taken if you don’t like the pictures you have at home. This will be a gift for the whole family.

An obituary is more than a notice of death, it is a record of a life lived. By including something personal, whether it’s humorous or serious, a bit of honest humanity will be brought to the record. Try to avoid old euphemisms such as “passed away” and “internment” and use more simple modern language. The old template for an obituary is becoming less rigid and families are using the notice to pay tribute to the deceased rather than create a list of relations, dates and times.