A few years ago, a couple we know were taking a lifelong dream trip. They were going to spend two weeks touring Egypt. Before they left, Rosie wrote her obitiuary and one for her husband. Then she called her adult son and told him where he would find them should anything happen while they were overseas.
"Mom, that's absolutely ghoulish!" David retorted. Rosie assured him it wasn't like that at all. "Things happen," she said, "and if something did happen, you'd be very happy to have the obitiuaries written." It turned out they got stranded because of a New York City blizzard, so they couldn't get their connection and never made it to Egypt. But a few years later, when Rosie passed away after a valiant fight against lung cancer, her obituary was ready and waiting. I remembered the story she'd told me about writing it.
This morning, we are attending the funeral of a man we've known and called Friend for many years. Reading his obituary in last evening's paper made me aware of all he had done and all the lives he'd touched along the way. It reminded me why we had been friends with him for so long.
Writing your own obituary is not at all 'ghoulish' as my friend's son thought. It's a kindness you can do for your family. And who knows better what should go into it than you? Some people want every organization they've been in and every recognition they've earned included. Others want only the basic information. I've seen obituaries that go on so long you wonder if anyone ever finishes reading them. Others are so short, you wonder if the person led a totally boring life. Hit the happy medium, write tight and let people know who you really are.