Sudden Loss and a Brainstorm
Last week I lost a family member; it was a rather sudden, unexpected passing. I’d not seen him in many years but it did not diminish my feeling of loss. I remembered him as a sweet, gentle, quiet soul and his obituary, which read more like a loving eulogy a family member would give at a service, echoed that same sentiment.
That got me thinking. In two previous posts I emphasized the importance of getting your Digital Property (blog 1, blog 2) in order so that those left behind when you’re gone can manage your completed (and not completed) works. And then I thought: What better way to up one’s writing/skill level than to write one’s own obituary? It’s often an assignment in writing classes as it provides a sense of mortality and an intimate examination of our lives, as well as our place in this world (or at least what we hope it might have been).
How Do You See You?
What will you write about yourself? Would you include your accomplishments, hobbies and (mis)adventures? What would you leave out? What will you leave behind? To whom will you leave your belongings? Family? Charities? Or just donate it? If you had to do it over again (life), would you change anything? Leave anything undone, incomplete? It’s a sobering experience, trying to see yourself the ways others might. The first time I attempted this exercise I found it difficult to decide who got what – if anybody actually wanted any of my crap to begin with, they have enough of their own. The second time was a bit easier, as awareness of my own mortality felt more real.
Then I felt a strange fear, as if I’d suddenly gotten a glimpse of the universe, less me.
Go For It
Be colorful; use apt descriptives and pictures to express who you were in life (like the image above). These days, everything goes online for family to see and they can “sign” an online memorial book. How do you wish to be remembered? Are your stories/works included in that legacy? We’re told to take control of our lives, to own them, so why not own your obit? Let the world see you as the artist, writer, sculptor, etc. that you are, and in YOUR words. Give them an opportunity to revel in what you leave behind.
Think of your obituary as your last and greatest work, the final piece of the puzzle that is YOU.