I INSIST ON THE LAST WORD.
I never read obituaries....until recently. Death was too final; I once dreaded the idea of Death, but these days....I have a new attitude and I no longer fear the end of life.
Growing-Up has changed my thinking about many things, including dying. Now, most days, I read obituaries. They keep me connected and up to date with familiar names, long-ago friends, and-- on several occasions-- some unforgettable boyfriends.
But, when I read most obituaries, I'm instantly irritated with the way each person is portrayed. It seems that most obituaries are written... using a one-size-fits-all pattern! I've yet to read anything warm, or personal, or endearing, anything that makes me believe most deceased were interesting individuals or had remarkable lives.
Occasionally, I feel a tinge of emotion when I read about the person leaving a favorite pet....or if a familiar quote is used but...over all, most obituaries sound impersonal--- like the closing of another Arby's.
Oh, and how I despise reading the words "He/She was reared" in such and such town..."!!!! Sounds like a car, rear-ended in an accident! Thank You But....."I was raised, I grew-up, I spent most of my life".... BUT DON'T WRITE ABOUT ME BEING REARED!
So, completely disenchanted...I decided to write my own obituary. I wrote my life story in a brief, but very-personal style.
I tell "my side" of me in such a way that anyone reading the announcement of my death, will know me as an individual. I write in a conversational style, using my obituary as my way of saying good-bye.
And, I suggest you do the same. After all, we write wills, detailing who gets-what so--- why not write what we actually want outsiders to know about us? Why would I let some stranger write that "She had no immediate family" when I have a wonderful four-legged family who will miss me more than life-itself?!?!?
Or, why would someone insist on listing my degrees or titles when I know exactly what I want people to remember about me and....degrees and titles are not on my list.
We are all different. When we die, our obituaries shouldn't read like a rubber stamp-version of the person in the next casket. The only way we can guarantee our obits are personalized, show our individuality--- is to write them ourselves...and keep them updated.
No One---not a family member, nursing home aide, or funeral home secretary---should write our obituaries. Who knows us better than we know ourselves?
The day we were born---we were considered unique, different, and truly one-of-a-kind. When we die....we each deserve to be remembered as the same unique, one-of-a-kind- individual who once lived, breathed, and loved life. And when we die, the world should honor us...our way. Treat us with all the love and respect we rightfully deserve... not with cold, impersonal words from a canned obituary.
"Til Death Do Us Part."
PS...I encourage you to write your obituary soon; there's really nothing to it, but...if you want help, send me an email. I do write/edit obituaries for others and charge a small fee but....no payment is due until everyone is happy with the results.