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Obituary Writing  

How to Write an Obituary...For Yourself

Written By Lastly.com

Have you wondered how to write an obituary for yourself? Or where you would even start?

The topic of death can be scary, and many people think that it’s morbid to take care of anything related to death in advance. Some move along as if death is something that will just not happen to them − it's the "if I just ignore it, it will go away" mentality. However, more people are now embracing a powerful way of handling something that we have very little control over. There literally may be no better time than now. 


Writing an obituary used to be a task handled by surviving family and close friends. But today’s baby boomers are bucking that trend and becoming obituary writers for their own obit (is it still an obituary if you write it yourself?). Why? Because they don’t want to burden their family with any unnecessary tasks after their passing. And they do want to leave a mark—in their own way and in their own words.  See for yourself how a self-written obituary affected complete strangers: Now This is How to Write an Obituary.  These sample obituaries show just how effective a self-written obituary can be,


Click here to download ebook: How to Write an Obituary


Today’s obituaries are far more than a birth, death date, cause of death, request for donations, and a listing of surviving family members. Baby boomers are taking charge, celebrating life, and writing their own exit.  Their life story is made all the more colorful by writing it in their own words. Today’s obituaries are about telling a story…the story of you.


Here’s how you can get started.

First, check with the newspaper that you want to print your obituary. Some newspapers have specific guidelines or restrictions on length. Some newspapers and funeral homes may offer an obituary template. In addition, some newspapers charge by the word, line or column inch, so you may want to be aware of the factor before you get started.


Start with the information that best identifies who you are:
  • What are you known for?
  • How do you want to be remembered?
  • What are some of your greatest accomplishments?
  • What makes you happy every day?
  • What have you learned?
  • Lessons from your early years
  • Lessons from early adulthood
  • Lessons from your later years
  • Which three adjectives best describe you?
  • What do you consider the highlight of your life, apart from your children and career?

Avoid “I was born in …” and other chronology-based sentences. You don’t have to start at the beginning, and you certainly don’t have to start at the end. 


Of course, you'll still want to include the traditional information:
  • Place of birth
  • Parents’ names
  • Other survivors, including your children, other relatives, friends, and pets and where they live
  • Family members who preceded your death
  • High school and colleges you attended
  • Degrees earned
  • Work history
  • Military service
  • Hobbies, accomplishments, and any awards you received
  • Church or religious affiliations
  • Clubs, civic and fraternal organization memberships
  • Charities supported


When you write your own obituary, you can create a personal summary of your life, similar to an autobiographical essay. And, you can also avoid any possible mistakes that may occur when obituaries are hurriedly written at the time of death by a distraught or grieving family member. If you've ever had to write an obituary for someone else, then you understand what a daunting task it can be.  And when that task is given with short notice, it's all-the-more difficult.


What style suits you best? Do you want it to be humorous? More serious? Listing of proudest accomplishments? Maybe what life meant to you, while highlighting what made your life well-lived. Some mainly want to leave words of wisdom to their survivors.  Some will write in the first person, others in the third.  The bottom line is: if you are writing your final words proactively, it's YOUR OBITUARY and you can write it anyway you would like - it's an autobiography not a biography, so make it personal.  Here's a step-by-step guide if you need further help with writing an obituary in general.


Write your obituary several different ways and review it with your family and your closest friends. You'll undoubtedly receive suggestions and feedback from those that know you best. You'll be surprised at how candid your loved ones will be, how accepting they are with what you are doing, and how insightful their advice may be for including things that might be extremely important to you.  While you're at it, why not write a eulogy for yourself?  You can't control everything that will be said about you, but it sure will give people of good idea for how you would like to be remembered in your eulogy.  Whatever you write, be sure to leave your own personal touch


Lastly.com enables you to easily capture the stories and special moments throughout your life (or that of a loved one) so that you will be remembered and cherished by future generations.  Reviewing your life and creating your life story may be the best way to start in writing your own obituary.

Need a little help with the writing?  Use our free obituary writing tool and let us do the work.  We'll email you a word document of a completed obituary based on your responses to simple questions.


How to Write an Obituary

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