The dreaded Obituary.
No one wants to write it.
But somebody has to.
And unfortunately, that person is You!
I feel your pain. But let’s try to make this easy and maybe even possibly…fun?
5 Simple Steps
1. Collect the Facts
You need the basics: person’s name, birth place, age, date of death, location and cause of death (optional), survivors, memorial/funeral details, where to send donations/flowers. Other details you may want to include: education, employment, achievements, awards, military service. And finally, the people: spouse/partner and marriage dates, children, grandchildren, siblings, parents, pets. Write down all of these truths so you’re ready to go.
2. Ask for Help
You want the best memories & stories. So reach out to friends & family and ask them to share their favorites from your loved one’s life (this is also helpful for delivering a eulogy). You crave the good stuff: the funny, the quirky, ridiculous – the tales that capture the person’s attitude and experience. At the same time, jog your own brain for your favorite qualities and interests from the person’s life. Try to get to the essence of the person: their passions, hobbies, recreations, religion. Sports and food are also often good places to start.
3. Write in the Now
Now that you’ve collected the details and flavor, write out a first draft in the first person. Write in the present tense and you can change it to the past later. It’s easier to write in the present tense. Think about it like you’re writing to the person’s spouse/partner and sharing with them all of positive and fun parts of their life. Don’t worry about being funny or serious, just try to paint a positive picture and capture the spirit of the life.
4. Get Feedback
Once you have a draft that you think is okay (don’t wait for perfection, good is good enough), send it to family and friends for advice. People are always happy to give their opinions. You don’t have to listen to all of them but undoubtedly someone will be great at fixing your spelling and someone else will help you shape a section in a way you never considered. Think of feedback (all feedback: good and bad) as a gift. Then use it to achieve your ultimate goal…
5. Best of the Best
Show the greatest moments from the person’s life. If a stranger didn’t know him/her, would they get a sense of what he/she was like? Your final product should leave the reader wanting to know more about the person.
If you require a “Fill In The Blanks” tool, the folks over at Ever Loved offer a variety of Free Templates to help guide you.
Now you’re ready for the last step: Pick a Photo.
You’re on your own with that one. Good Luck!
And remember: you can always be like Douglas Legler and shoot for a short and sweet obituary: Doug Died. Honest and to the point. RIP Doug.
Mark Noonan, Founder – Farewell Project
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