Who'll Write Your Obituary?
I asked my only brother to do me a huge favor. I asked him to write a draft of my obituary.
First, to alleviate any further alarm or inquiries, as far as I know, I am quite healthy and looking forward to many more years on this planet. I simply decided that there is no time like the present to reflect upon my life so far, and to begin a draft of what will be of great value to my family when they will need it most.
Some of you may cringe at the thought, but others might consider it to be a “terrific” idea! Happily, my only sibling didn’t bat an eye at this seemingly unusual request.
Recently, I celebrated a milestone birthday. With each passing decade, I’m shocked at just how fast time flies by. I also think about the shortened runway ahead and what I can do now to help my family – if I’m not able in the future. Frankly, writing a draft obituary is like writing an autobiography with the satisfaction of achieving a meaningful and practical outcome.
So I asked my very talented and articulate brother, Todd B. Bates, an award-winning journalist with a 35-year writing career, to compile and assemble a draft. I gave him all the “facts” and some guidance and he composed a working document that I will now edit, and embellish, as the years go by.
First and foremost, it is important to remember that you are writing the “last” message that those who love you, along with the rest of the world, will read. The words should capture your personality. Second, getting the facts right is paramount.
Besides the usual biographical data and information about services and burial, it’s nice to include information that really matters to you. Adding some humor is not such a bad idea either. It’s also a good time to choose your favorite photo or you can always leave that task up to others.
Taking the time and opportunity now to write your own obituary allows you to sit back, reflect upon your life’s passages, and the chance to put your best foot forward and narrate your final story. Who better to tell!