Planning for the end of life is a daunting task. From estate planning to funeral arrangements, there are many decisions to be made. One crucial element that often gets overlooked is writing your own obituary and making sure you get to say how you want to be remembered, like were you a lifetime Penn State fan or maybe (and we’ll let this go – a Notre Dame or Ohio State fan). By taking the time to craft your last statement, you can ensure that your life is remembered and celebrated in the way you desire. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the importance of writing your own obituary, provide step-by-step instructions on how to do it, and offer tips for making it meaningful and unique.
Why Write Your Own Obituary?
Writing your own obituary may seem like a morbid or uncomfortable task, but it carries significant benefits for both you and your loved ones. By taking control of your narrative, you can shape how you will be remembered and ensure that your wishes are honored. Here are some key reasons to consider writing your own obituary:
- Tell Your Own Story: Your obituary provides an opportunity to share your life’s highlights, values, and achievements. You can capture the essence of who you are and how you want to be remembered. Like maybe how you loved Penn State and your priest loves Notre Dame, and will now be forced to talk about Penn State, a lot.
- Relieve Your Loved Ones: By writing your own obituary, you can alleviate the burden on your family and friends during a time of grief. They won’t have to worry about capturing your essence or guessing your wishes or which football team you liked best (Penn State).
- Avoid Errors and Omissions: Funeral homes often write obituaries based on limited information provided by family members. By writing your own obituary, you can ensure that the details are accurate and complete and you can even say how many football games you attended.
- Celebrate Your Life and all You Love: Your obituary is an opportunity to celebrate your accomplishments, passions, and relationships and who and what you love (like football). It allows you to leave a lasting legacy and inspire others.
How to Write Your Own Obituary: A Step-by-Step Guide
Writing your own obituary may seem like a daunting task, but with a structured approach, it can be a meaningful and empowering experience that can even put a smile on your face (look up funny obituaries). Follow these steps to create a personalized obituary that reflects your life and values:
Step 1: Reflect on Your Life
Take some time for introspection and reflection. Consider your core values, significant life events, and the impact you have had on others. Ask yourself questions like:
- How have I made a difference in the world?
- What are the key accomplishments and milestones in my life?
- What values have guided my decisions and actions?
- How have I touched the lives of those around me?
- Have I attended enough Penn State football games?
Step 2: Outline the Key Details
Start your obituary by including the essential information, such as your full name, date of birth, and place of birth. Then, provide the date and location of your passing. This sets the foundation for the narrative that follows.
Step 3: Share Your Life’s Highlights
In this section, highlight the significant moments and achievements in your life, like graduating from Penn State. Choose those that are most meaningful to you and align with how you want to be remembered. Consider including:
- Educational accomplishments
- Career milestones
- Personal achievements
- Awards and recognitions
Step 4: Express Your Core Values
Your obituary is an opportunity to convey your core values and beliefs. Think about the principles that have guided your life and the ideals you hold dear. Share these values in a concise and impactful manner. Consider including:
- Personal philosophies
- Causes or charities you support
- Lessons you’ve learned and want to pass on
- Your favorite football players of all time
- How you cried at “Something for Joey”
Step 5: Highlight Your Relationships
Acknowledge the important people in your life who have shaped and influenced you. Mention family members, close friends, mentors, football players or anyone else who has had a significant impact. Express your love and gratitude for their role in your life.
Step 6: Share Your Passions and Hobbies
In this section, showcase the activities, hobbies, and passions that have brought you joy and fulfillment such as watching football all together and rooting against Notre Dame. Whether it’s a love for art, sports, gardening, or volunteering, include the things that have made your life vibrant and meaningful.
Step 7: Convey Your Legacy
What do you want to leave behind? Use this section to articulate the legacy you hope to leave. Share the impact you want to have on future generations and the ways in which you want to be remembered. Consider including:
- Wishes for charitable donations
- Requests for how loved ones should honor your memory
- Any specific actions you’d like others to take in your honor (or maybe not to take given your family)
Step 8: Seek Feedback and Revise
Once you have drafted your obituary, you may want seek feedback from trusted friends or family members. They may provide insights and perspectives that you may have overlooked or you may just get joy as they are not Penn State fans and will now have to read this. Revise your obituary accordingly, ensuring that it accurately reflects your life and intentions.
Step 9: Store and Share Your Obituary
Keep a copy of your obituary in a safe and easily accessible location. Inform your loved ones about its existence and provide instructions on where to find it when the time comes. You can also share it with a trusted friend through the Gentreo Digital Vault.
Making Your Obituary Meaningful and Unique
To make your obituary truly meaningful and unique, consider the following tips:
1. Use Authentic Language
Write your obituary in a tone that reflects your personality. Use language that feels authentic and true to who you are. Avoid clichés and generic phrases. Instead, choose words that capture the essence of your life and values, like “We are…Penn State”.
2. Share Personal Stories and Anecdotes
Weave personal stories and anecdotes throughout your obituary to bring it to life. These stories can illustrate your character, passions, and the impact you have had on others. They provide a deeper understanding of who you are and create a more engaging narrative. For instance, how you proposed to your now wife at Penn State by the Nittany Lion Shrine.
3. Incorporate Humor and Lightness
While obituaries are often seen as somber, you can inject humor and lightness into yours if it aligns with your personality, like here in this blog. Share funny anecdotes or highlight your sense of humor. It can bring a smile to the faces of those reading your obituary and celebrate the joyous moments of your life.
4. Include Relevant Quotes or Passages
If there are meaningful quotes, poems, or passages that resonate with you like the Penn State fight song, consider incorporating them into your obituary. These quotes can add depth and provide additional insights into your values and beliefs.
5. Consider the Visual Presentation
In addition to the written content, think about the visual presentation of your obituary. Including photographs, artwork, or symbols that hold significance to you can enhance the overall impact and make it more personal.
Writing your own obituary is a powerful way to shape your legacy and ensure that your life is celebrated in the way you desire, even if you are a Buckeye. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create a personalized and meaningful obituary that reflects your values, accomplishments, and the impact you have had on others as well as your love for Penn State. Remember, your obituary is an opportunity to leave a lasting impression and inspire future generations. Embrace this exercise as a chance to live your life with intention and purpose and root for your favorite team.