Why We Should Write Our Own Obituary

and leave the last remaining sentences to be filled in by our dearest loved one

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Photo Credit: Santana Storms circa 2010

Unless we’re famous or do something extraordinary during our lifetime most of us won’t be thoroughly researched for an obit write up in the New York Times. There will be no interviews with family members or anyone in our not so immediate circle of six degrees of separation.

At best we’ll have a write up by someone who was nominated for the task and expected to sum up our lives and how we lived in a few sentences.

That’s lame.

Each stage of developmental psychology is a new chapter in our lives and unique to our own experiences and chances are, other than our parents or older siblings no one has been in our lives since day one.

No one knows us better than we know ourselves. No one knows all of our secrets, thoughts, opinions or our inner dialog that drives us to do the things we do, our fuck-ups and accomplishments.

We are the foremost to write the stories of our lives.

Obituaries are a time stamp with words, they are our histories, passed down from generation to generation as a part of their history.

Writing our own obituary is the difference between how we were viewed by others and the definitive mark we leave on the world once we are gone.

The last remaining lines are intended for our dearest loved one, the person who was closest to us during the final months, weeks and days. They are the ones who experienced the end with us, earning the right to share those last moments as they feel comfortable.

Erika was loved by her twelve cats, so loved she was unable to use the toilet without them scratching at the door while she was peeing. This left her feeling awkward.

They followed her from room to room and surrounded her regardless of what she was doing. Whether she were eating, doing squat thrusts, sobbing or watching Ted- Ed videos. They were always there underneath her feet and sitting on her head. She loved them deeply and they loved her.

She was survived by her husband and two children. They are sad, very sad, and traumatized by this unfortunate event. How will they have clean laundry? Who will pack their lunches? Who will find their stuff even though it’s right in front of their faces? Wife and mother, Erika will be truly missed. She loved her family deeply and they loved her.

Erika leaves behind a 1964 Remington typewriter, a colorfully exploded art studio, an irrational book collection including 873 books she hasn’t read yet and a fabulously versatile wardrobe with an appropriate mix of prom dresses, flannel shirts and converse sneakers.

There is so much to be spoken of her. She had absurd amounts of crafting items; yet little time to craft. She read lots of books, spent a great deal of time at her local library and took psychiatric medications.

She had MacGyver like engineering skills she learned during her time in the service. She built rockets from household items with mini C4 sticks as ignition boosters. She built a solar generator which wiped out quadrants of electricity throughout her house, fixed broken items with Duct Tape and squashed roaches with foreign objects while her children screamed in fear.

She was introverted and those she let in she loved, trusted and shared her life with. She had traits adored by everyone she came into contact with. She was an asshole, intolerable and opinionated.

She was manic, and then depressed, manic and depressed, depressed some more and then manic again.

She lived a life in the happiness of solitude while others nagged her to leave the house. She spent her days writing stories and nights creating art.

She spiked her coffee on Friday nights.

She rarely brushed her hair.

She vomited the night Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.

Services are to be held at the Sauter farm where her ashes will be converted into a Bios Urn and planted in the yard at her home by her beloved family.

You can view her creative contribution to the world via her website.

(Insert husband’s final account here.)

Condolences and cat food can be sent directly to her family at their home.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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