April 11, 2015 / 2014 / March / Why you should write your own obituary

Why you should write your own obituary

submitted March 25, 2014 by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

James Rebhorn, a popular actor, died this week. He did his friends and family a significant favor by writing his own obituary. It's a wonderful reflection on his own life and reminds us of the importance of end of life planning.

Why should you write your own obituary?

  1. It relieves a significant burden from your family and friends at a difficult time. The days immediately following the death of a loved one is not the ideal time to practice creative writing. 

  2. What do you want to say about your life? How do you want to say it? If you took pride in a sharp, biting wit while alive you might resent a general obituary devoid of personality. Likewise, you might be more concerned with expressing the values you learned in life, rather than recounting times and places. Say what you want to say.

  3. Take the time to construct words to be shared with others, as opposed to leaving last words for those moments when you may not even be able to communicate.

  4. You never know how or when it will happen, so be prepared. Bradley Messamore, our beloved verger at St. Paul's in Indianapolis, died suddenly this week of an unknown heart condition. He was 41.

  5. Communicate clearly that which is important to you. I am reminded of Citizen Kane and the scramble to learn the meaning of 'Rosebud.' 

Your obituary is an opportunity for you to reflect on your life, to express your values, and to pass on earned wisdom. If it is important to communicate these formally to loved ones, why not write your own obituary? 

Additional Resources: