Thursday, June 15, 2023

Writing My Obituary

            Kim recently asked me to write my obituary. We are looking to the future, and she was not sure, if I die first, what she would say.


            “Sure,” I said. I’d written one for our neighbor, Joe, who I didn’t know very well. How hard could it be?


            One consequence of being 80 is that I find myself reading a lot of obituaries. Some are dry and factual, which I guess is at it should be, and I suppose there are professionals who compile those facts in a standard form. So, I started mine with the easy stuff: birth, where we lived growing up, education history. On to work history, which was pretty simple. Then first marriage (I’ll look up the dates) and then marriage to Kim, and expanding my family to include her son and daughter. Somewhere in there I will list some publications. And I know there is always a “survived by” passage, though I find that wording a bit peculiar. Then something about a service, or donations, or tree planting, or whatever has been agreed to in advance.


            Eventually I will have to get to the more difficult stuff. What I mean by “the more difficult stuff” is this: I should have something in my obituary about who I really am (or was). I guess this is why people have someone else write their profiles on dating apps – it’s too hard to do a self-portrait that doesn’t sound like boasting or, more likely, parades all your unflattering insecurities in front of readers/mourners/family/friends. No, it’s better to have someone else write that stuff. Some obituaries really capture the spirit of the deceased, often with specific detail. These are good models. It would be tempting, if my author gets stuck, to simply copy what was written about someone else – you know, “a really good guy, so talented, so modest, so helpful,” etc. If it’s really flattering, by the way, I’d like to hear it while I’m still alive, thank you very much.


            I remember hearing about an exercise where a teacher or counselor asked high school kids to write their obituary – maybe for when they died at age 80 or so. What would they want to have accomplished, and want to have said about them? But then I thought, why not do that now? And if I write something positive but not-yet-true about myself, then I’d better get going to make it true.

            Sounds like writing my own could be a good idea, and maybe I will actually do it. If so, I will NOT be sharing it here. 

1 comment:

  1. Well, none of us are getting outta here Alive! By bro produced, directed, edited, up to a point, his service. Came with a dvd of is best tv commercials which i charished and cannot find. Go Big or Go quietly