People often choose to write their own obituary for a variety of reasons. For some it’s a class project, for others it’s a way to come to terms with a terminal illness or aging, some do it so they can be remembered the way they wish, and still others write their own obituary so they can save their families the struggle of having to do it. The reasons might make sense but if came down to it, do you know how to write an obituary for yourself?
Whatever the reason you may choose to compose your own obituary, there are a few basics that are included in most obituaries, but within that framework there is quite a bit of room to show your personality as well. Take a look at some of the primary components of an obituary so you will know how to tailor yours as you write it.
How to Write an Obituary for Yourself – Obituary Format
Your self-penned obituary should start with the facts. In this section there is not much room for creativity because you need to be sure that the basics are included. The first paragraph should include your full name, age at death, current city of residence, and date, place and cause of death.
The next paragraph is where you should branch out a little bit with your personal information. Include your parents’ names, your birth date and place of birth, and the name(s) of your spouse(s).
Next, mention the names of surviving family members, including your children and grandchildren, along with anyone else you wish to include. You should even your pets, if you are so inclined. If you would like to list where your surviving friends and family live, this is where you should list it. If there are family members who have passed away, they should be mentioned here as well.
After that, add information about your educational and military experience, clubs and organizations to which you belonged, as well as hobbies, interests, and noted life accomplishments. For example, if you are an author, include the names of the books you wrote.
During this middle portion of the obituary, feel free to express yourself. If you have a humorous side let it shine through. If you prefer to remain reserved, of course that’s fine, too.
The conclusion of your obituary is where you list the date, time and location of your funeral and/or memorial service. If you wish to ask that a donation be made to your favorite charity in lieu of flowers, add it here.
If you have a favorite quote, verse, or phrase that would be appropriate, that would be a very personal way to conclude your obituary.
These are simply guidelines meant to help structure your obituary. Since it is your last word to the world be sure to include insights that are important to you, such as:
- How you would like to be remembered
- Who you are grateful to have known and loved
- What and whom you are most proud of
Don’t be afraid to show your sense of humor, your gratitude, and take the opportunity to share your life lessons learned.
Once you have completed your obituary, keep a copy of it with your will and other important documents. Return to it at least once a year to revise it, as necessary. Above all, live the rest of your life in a way that will make for an amazing obituary.
Return to Obituary Writing Overview
photo by: Keith Williamson