Writing your own obituary is a profound and deeply personal task. It’s more than a mere announcement of death; it’s a chance to tell your life story in your own words. This unique document allows you to share your journey, your values, and the lessons you’ve learned along the way. It ensures your legacy is captured exactly as you wish, providing comfort and closure to those you leave behind. In this blog, we will guide you through the process of how to write your own obituary. 

An obituary typically includes key facts about your life, such as birth and death dates, family members, career achievements, and personal interests. But when you write it yourself, it transforms into something more. It becomes a narrative of your life, written with the intimacy and authenticity that only you can provide.

Our aim is to make this task less daunting and more meaningful, ensuring that your final message resonates with those you love and reflects the life you’ve lived. From gathering your thoughts to putting them into words, we’ll cover each step. Let’s begin this journey together.

Getting Started

Beginning the process of writing your own obituary is a journey of introspection and preparation. Here’s a guide to help you get started:

Reflecting on Your Life and Achievements

Start by reflecting on your life’s journey. Think about the key moments that shaped who you are and the personal and professional milestones you’ve achieved. You might try writing your life’s most significant moments out in a story form to help yourself remember why they were important to you.

Identify the aspects of your life you want to highlight, focusing on achievements, relationships, and experiences that brought you joy and pride.

Gathering Necessary Information

Collect basic personal details such as your full name, date of birth, and other significant dates. Then, make a list of important life events, including:

  • Your education
  • Career highlights
  • Marriage and other major milestones

Consider the people who played a significant role in your life and decide who you want to mention, like family members, friends, or mentors.

Deciding on the Tone and Style

Depending on your personality, you might opt for a formal, humorous, or reflective tone. You can choose a writing style that is straightforward, narrative-driven, third-person, or unique.

Start writing pieces of what you may want to include in your final obituary.

This initial phase is all about laying the groundwork for your obituary. It involves deep thought and decision-making about how you want to be remembered.

Take your time during this process; it’s the foundation upon which your final message will be built.

Crafting Your Obituary

After you’ve gathered your thoughts and decided on the tone, it’s time to start crafting your obituary.

Here’s how to weave your information into a meaningful narrative:

Incorporating Personal Details and Life Events

Begin with your name, age, and place of birth, adding personal touches like nicknames or titles. Chronologically list significant life events, such as your education, career path, major accomplishments, and family milestones.

These details provide a framework for your story.

Highlighting Achievements and Interests

Share your personal achievements, hobbies, and passions. Whether it’s professional accolades, community service, or personal hobbies, these aspects offer a deeper insight into who you are.

Remember to include the lesser-known parts of your life that brought you joy and satisfaction.

Narrating Your Life Story

Transition from listing facts to telling your story. Use anecdotes and personal experiences to give a richer picture of your life. This is where your personality shines through.

  • How did your experiences shape you?
  • Do you have favorite memories?
  • What lessons did you learn in this life so far?

These reflections add depth to your narrative.

Including Family and Relationships

Mention your family and significant relationships. Include surviving and deceased loved ones, acknowledging their role in your life.

This is also a chance to express your feelings towards them, adding a personal and emotional layer to your obituary. 

Also, remember to keep your audience in mind. Your loved ones will read this. So write in a way that speaks to your family members and loved ones.

Adding Personal Touches

Your obituary should reflect your unique voice and perspective. 

Include quotes, sayings, or philosophies that you lived by. Share memorable stories or experiences that capture your character and values. These personal touches make your obituary distinctly yours.

Writing your obituary is a way to tell your story on your own terms. It allows you to highlight what you feel is most important and leave a lasting impression of who you were. 

As you craft each section, remember that this is a tribute to your life, designed to honor your memory and impact.

Honoring Your Legacy

In this part of writing your obituary, you’ll focus on the deeper aspects of living your life – your values, beliefs, and the legacy you wish to leave.

Expressing Your Values and Beliefs

Reflect on the principles and beliefs that guided your life.

  • Were there specific philosophies or religious beliefs that shaped your life?
  • Were there life lessons that formed the basis of later actions?

This is an opportunity to share your core values, giving others insight into what mattered most to you.

Sharing Wisdom and Messages for Loved Ones

Consider including words of wisdom or advice for your family and friends. What lessons have you learned that you want to pass on?

This can be a powerful way to extend your influence and guidance beyond your lifetime. Also, it’s a chance to express your hopes and dreams for those you care about.

Conveying Gratitude and Farewells

Acknowledge and thank your loved one and those who have been a significant part of your journey.

Expressing gratitude can provide a sense of closure to your relationships. A heartfelt farewell message can also comfort your loved ones, letting them know they were cherished and will be remembered.

This is a deeply personal chance to communicate directly with those who were important to you. Through your words, you can share your innermost thoughts, impart wisdom, and leave a lasting impression that will be cherished by those who read it.

Encapsulated in this final written piece, your legacy becomes a treasure for those you love, a testament to your life and the person you were.

Reviewing and Revising for Clarity and Accuracy

Go through your obituary carefully.

Check for accuracy in dates, names, and facts. Ensure that all the information, especially dates and names, is accurate. This information must be correct for historical and family records.

Consider your clarity, flow, and emotional resonance. This is also a good time to refine the tone and ensure it reflects your voice.

Feedback and Approval

If you haven’t already, share the final draft with someone you trust. This could be a family member, a close friend, or a professional. Their feedback can be invaluable in ensuring that your obituary captures the essence of your life and legacy.

This document is as much for your loved ones as it is for you, and their input can be invaluable in capturing the essence of your life story.

Final Considerations for Your Obituary

After you have articulated your life story and legacy, it’s important to focus on the practical aspects of your obituary. This step ensures that others carry out your final wishes exactly as you intend.

Respecting Others’ Privacy

Be mindful of the content in your obituary, especially when mentioning others. Respect their privacy and consider any legal implications. Ensure that your obituary adheres to any publication guidelines and legal requirements relevant to your location.

Planning for Publication

Decide who will be responsible for publishing your obituary after you pass away. This could be a family member, a close friend, legal advisor, or funeral home.

Provide them with clear instructions on where and how you want your obituary to be published.

Securing Your Obituary

Once you finish writing your obituary, store it safely and ensure others know where to find it. You can keep a digital copy, a printed version, or both. 

This document must be easily accessible when needed. Storing it with your estate planning documents, such as your last will often makes sense.

Addressing these practical details ensures that your obituary receives the attention it deserves. It also provides peace of mind, knowing that your final words will reach those you want to hear as you intended.

Choosing the Right Publication Platform

Consider websites where you might want to publish. Options include local newspapers, your funeral home, online memorial sites, and social media platforms. Each has its own audience and will reach different individuals.

Communicating Your Wishes

Ensure those responsible for handling your obituary after your passing understand your final wishes.

This final step is about more than just securing a document. It’s about cementing your legacy and leaving a lasting impression on those who will read your words in the future.

You may want to plan other aspects of what others will share and the events they may attend after your passing. Let’s look at other types of planning next.

End-Of-Life Planning

A preplan allows you to make all the decisions about how your family can come together to celebrate your life and grieve your loss. 

Your local funeral home is a good place to start preparing for end-of-life life with plans for key details:

  • Funeral or memorial service details such as readings, music, flowers, and more
  • Other media, such as pictures or videos you’d like to share with others
  • Pallbearers or other roles
  • Speakers such as eulogists or ministers
  • Cremation or burial decisions
  • Urns or caskets

When you make these plans yourself, you choose your own funeral wishes or memorial service details. This gift to your family lets them grieve in peace. 

Worrying about making decisions and not knowing if they would have had your approval is stressful to loved ones, However, when you make a preplan, they can spend time with each other and share memories of times with you.

In North Carolina, a preplan includes all the planning your family members would usually stress about after your passing. 

The state of North Carolina holds any funds you expend on preparation to keep your planning safe. And, if you change your mind, you can transfer your plans to a different funeral provider.

Writing Your Own Obituary is a Journey Few Take

You’ve now completed a journey that few undertake – writing your own obituary. This task goes beyond documenting life events; it’s a profound expression of your identity, beliefs, and the legacy you leave behind.

This personal document holds immense value. It’s a final narrative of your life, penned by the one who knows it best – you. It’s a lasting message to your loved ones, a piece of history for future generations, and a testament to your unique journey through life.

Reflect on the process you’ve undergone. It likely brought memories, both joyful and challenging, to the surface. This reflection is not just about capturing history; it’s about understanding and celebrating the life you’ve lived. It’s a chance to share your triumphs, lessons learned, and the love you’ve experienced.

Encourage others to embark on this meaningful journey. Writing one’s own obituary is not just for the elderly or those facing life’s end. It’s a powerful exercise at any stage, providing perspective on what truly matters.

Remember that writing an obituary is more than words on a page. It’s a final gift to those you love and a statement of your existence. May it serve as a beacon, guiding and inspiring those who read it long after you’ve set off on your next great adventure.

We Can Help

At Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory, we recognize the profound importance of writing your own obituary as a part of your end-of-life planning. Our compassionate team is dedicated to supporting you in this deeply personal process, offering guidance, resources, and a caring environment every step of the way.

Incorporating obituary writing into your preplanning is a thoughtful way to ensure your life story is told exactly as you wish. Articulating your legacy in your own words is often part of making a preplan. One major benefit of writing your obituary is relieving your loved ones of this responsibility during a difficult time.

We are committed to honoring your final wishes in every aspect of your preplan. This includes ensuring that your obituary is preserved and shared in the way you envision as part of a comprehensive approach to celebrating and honoring your life’s journey.

At Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory, our goal is to help you create a lasting legacy that reflects your unique life and provides comfort and closure to your loved ones. We’re here to support you in creating a meaningful farewell. And to ensure that every aspect of your preplanning aligns with your final wishes.