The Hammer Comes Down on Obituaries
What Do You Want Your Funeral Notice to Read? (and that photo!)
By Linda Hammerschmid
Perusing the obits every weekend, (I like to make sure I’m not in there) I read with interest how people are described and wonder who wrote the words.
It’s a new year and regardless your age, it might be a good idea to contemplate what you would like others to read about you. As you have no control after your demise – do it now.
There seems to be many choices available. Some obits are short, some photo-less, while others seem like prefaces for a book.
Some obits are short, some photo-less,
while others seem like prefaces for a book.
As to the photo
I wonder also who decides on the photo(s) to use. Personally, I like the juxtaposition of the young and the old. That way if you haven’t seen the dearly departed for decades you still have a chance at recognition, while for those who never knew you young still have a chance to learn of your passing.
But really, some photos are just odd. So why not pick out the two (2) you really want used and put them with your instructions, and/or your Will, on how you wish to be presented for your finale.
And now for the wording
What do you want your loved ones to convey publically about you? Of course you may want sentiment expressed. Some of your choices: Great or profound sadness, great regrets, or deeply saddened; then there could be died peacefully or suddenly (discussed further below); or the description of your passing might say you where surrounded by your family/loved ones, or in your x year; and of course you might be described as distinguished or accomplished, maybe you want thrown in your major achievement(s), how much schooling you suffered through, the names of some or all in your family, close friends, the new partner [a sensitive issue] and maybe how you want to be remembered.
How you died
Do you want the cause of your death stated, or just that you passed? We all read with apprehension any obit that starts with “Suddenly”. That can denote either that you had a heart attack, were in an accident or worse, you decided to end it all yourself. Why cause speculation? Simply write your own mini-eulogy and avoid discussions (read arguments) and confusion for those left behind.
Simply write your own mini-eulogy
and avoid discussions (read arguments)
and confusion for those left behind.
I have noticed that the type characters can vary in size. Most are of similar style, but a few are in larger type. Perhaps depending on the age of the friends of the deceased, you might want to consider the largest typeset. As to the length of your obituary, you may want to call the newspaper of your choice to obtain a quote on the cost to publish your notice before composing. Then set that money aside somewhere easily accessible (remember banks freeze accounts of the “de cujus”) and add to it each year to cover any increase in the price. Otherwise, it may be a burden to your family to shell out, usually in anguish and in a rush, $500.00 + to herald your passing.
Thank you message
Do you want to thank your doctors, nurses, residence staff, your family (I have never seen that one yet) or anyone else? Perhaps leave a note with your instructions in an easily findable place.
I for one believe flowers are for the living. But many feel it necessary to sent extravagant arrangements, particularly those who are business related or who want to one-up others (which is frankly ridiculous).
I don’t want the florist industry to come after me, but spare the flowers and contribute to either the charity or foundation you were close to so your legacy lives on. If you must have flowers at least leave instructions that the flowers go to the hospitals or residences to cheer up others. You certainly can’t use them. And folks, send your floral bouquet now while the person can still enjoy it.
As for the Charities, Donations, Foundations, pick them now so your loved ones will know your wishes. You can even leave funds to your special cause in your Will, thereby doing some good after you’re gone. A particular disease, a school, an educational institution or an animal shelter (my preference), but whatever you decide, write it down.
As for the Charities, Donations, Foundations,
pick them now so your loved ones
will know your wishes.
Some of you may be of the opinion that this suggestion to prepare your own funeral notice is somewhat morbid, or too far off to deal with now. Don’t be an ostrich and don’t tempt fate. Lessen your family’s burden. Follow the 5 principal: Prevention Prevents Piss Poor Planning!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of WestmountMag.ca, its publishers or editors.
Read also: The Hammer Comes Down on Gag Orders