Know Before You Need It: Writing an Obituary

Jean GlamourI always read the local obituaries. Mostly, I’m checking to see if there’s someone listed that I might know, and because I want to be sure my name isn’t posted among the recently departed. I really am the last to know anything and could easily have missed this about myself. As a regular obituary reader, I’ve compiled a few tips and pointers for what makes a good obituary. I understand you’ll be dead at that point and won’t much care, so you’re wise to plan in advance.

First of all, always have a nice, recent photo available for your family to run with your obituary. That Glamour Shot you took in 1993 does not count in any possible version. You didn’t even look like that photo when they took it and, almost 25 years later, you certainly don’t look like that now. Everyone who knows you well enough to read your obituary knows that. People who never met you probably know that, too. Mine is included here as proof. (That’s a lot of AquaNet on that hair) If you haven’t already, join a church. They take those directory photos all the time and that one will work great for these purposes.

I understand that your closest family members call you “Wookie Fuzzy Woo” as a term of endearment, regardless of how diabetically gooey it sounds. Don’t get me wrong, those little pet names are cute, but they need to go quietly to the grave with you. Do not include them as part of your name in your obituary. People can grieve properly over the name on your birth certificate without the added trauma of the Wookie Fuzzy Woo part.

This probably isn’t the right place to post your rap sheet or that parting shot at your brother. The statement: “Tell my so-called-brother that he was adopted and no one wanted to tell him” should maybe be saved for somewhere else. Put it in the will. It will soften the blow that you left him nothing.

Of course, include all the pertinent and interesting things about your life like your military service, career highlights and the fact that you were crowned Miss Corn Dog Queen in 1948 at the Dinger, Iowa County Fair. If you’re looking back right now and thinking you’ve lead a pretty boring life, get out there and do something exciting that you can include. Otherwise, take a few minutes and make some stuff up. Who’s going to question you? You’re dead.

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1 Comment

Filed under Much Ado About Nothing

One response to “Know Before You Need It: Writing an Obituary

  1. Kathlena Rule

    Dear Jean,

    I do see the resemblance in the picture! 🙂 Who ever said those glamour shots were a good idea? I have one but think if was buried a long time ago…so it won’t go to the grave with me! 🙂

    How’s you family doing? Have you fully embraced life back in the fast lanes…with you behind the wheel? When you have a moment…would you send me your US info…unless you prefer I don’t call when I am in the area..then …just make something up! By the way…when is your birthday…no you don’t have to include the year.

    Hugs to you friend,

    *Kathlena *

    Like

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