Senior woman writing her eulogy
ESTATE PLANNING

Why you should write your own eulogy or obituary

mel-mono
  • Mel Buttigieg
  • Writer, Bare
  • October 6, 2021
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“If you are reading this, I’m probably dead.” 

Why put your trust in your kids, a funeral director, or even the newspaper to get your life story right after you’ve kicked the bucket? Write your own eulogy or obituary before you go.

Have you ever thought of leaving your family and friends a message from the afterlife? Communicating from beyond the grave doesn’t have to give your loved ones the heebie-jeebies.

Inspired by the younger generation, baby boomers are embracing “selfie” culture and penning self-written eulogies and obituaries. Today’s seniors are celebrating life and writing their own exit.

Why should I write my own eulogy or obituary?

A eulogy is a deceased person’s life story, usually told at their funeral or memorial by their child, close family member, or friend.

Similarly, an obituary is a deceased person’s life story, but published in a newspaper or online.

Eulogies and obituaries commemorate and celebrate the life of the deceased, so what better way to tell the story than the person themselves? You’ve spent your whole life, up to now, carving out your life story. Writing your own eulogy or obituary allows you to carry on your legacy, even in death.

Handling your eulogy yourself also gives you total control of such a key component of your send-off – one that you would usually have very little say in.

A eulogy or obituary doesn’t need to be a boring timeline of birth, death and a list of surviving relatives. A good one tells a story and leaves a legacy to inspire others. And there’s no one better to better tell your life story than you. Make it all the more colourful by writing it in your own words.

Better yet – leave a video recording to be played at your funeral or memorial. It can be an empowering way of reflecting on your life’s achievements and sharing your journey with loved ones.

 

Senior man making a video eulogy to be played at his funeral or memorial.
Consider making a video eulogy to be played at your funeral or memorial.

 

How to write my own eulogy or obituary?

Think about your greatest achievements, your life’s passions, and what’s brought you the most joy. What might people find most surprising about you, or what made your life unique?

Are there any myths to dispel, or regrets to disclose or confessions to come clean about? When James Groth died of cancer in 2015, his self-obituary read:

“His regrets were few but include eating a rotisserie hot dog from a convenience store in the summer of 2002, not training his faithful dog Rita to detect cancer, and that no video evidence exists of his prowess on the soccer field or in the bedroom.”

Val Patterson’s first-person obituary in the Salt Lake Tribune left a confession from beyond the grave:

“As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June 1971.” 

Patterson’s self-obit also confessed that his PhD was a phoney. He didn’t even graduate.

Or perhaps you might use your eulogy to have the last laugh. Inject some humour, like the 2013 obit penned by writer Jane Catherine Lotter, published in the Seattle Times:

“One of the few advantages of dying from cancer … is that you have time to write your own obituary. (The other advantages are no longer bothering with sunscreen and no longer worrying about your cholesterol).”

Let’s face it. If there’s going to be tears at your funeral or memorial, you might as well make them happy ones.

Final thoughts

Thinking about cashing in your chips makes a lot of people uncomfortable. But writing your own eulogy or obituary is a chance to celebrate your unique life journey and leave a legacy.

By writing your own eulogy, you can make your loved ones laugh and smile, even when your story has come to an end.

Once you are finished writing your eulogy, be sure to store it safely with your Will, if you have one, or share it with your next of kin and make sure they know your end-of-life wishes. Don’t leave it secretly tucked away in a journal or saved in an obscure computer file somewhere.

Just remember that if you never get around to writing your own eulogy, then someone else will do it for you. So would you rather be farewelled with “Rest in peace”, or “That’s all, folks”?

Planning your own funeral can be an empowering thing to do. A Bare pre-paid funeral means you can go out on your terms. Learn more at bare.com.au or give our dedicated team a call on 1800 202 901.

 

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