Does the idea of writing an obituary for a loved one who is still living, or perhaps even your own obituary, make you uncomfortable? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way according to Susan Soper, author of ObitKit™ A Guide to Celebrating Your Life.
The key word in the paragraph above is celebrating. Very often an obituary is hastily written, even at times when death is expected and imminent. With ObitKit™, an easy-to-use workbook, the process is one in which you can have full input and control. Soper provides a wide-array of prompts and even touching quotes to write not only your own obituary, but even funeral programs and other items to memorialize your time here on Earth.
After a brief introduction on why Soper developed ObitKit™ and a review of the history of obituaries and death notices, it is time to sharpen your pencils (as Soper puts it) and get to work documenting a “life well-lived.” In this day of wedding planners and the ability to plan almost every aspect of life’s celebrations, why wouldn’t you want to also have control over that final celebration?
Writing a Multi-Faceted Obituary
Over the course of many pages Soper prompts you with questions about every aspect of your life, from the basic vital information all the way to your mentors and heroes. Interspersed among the prompts are examples of actual obituaries of ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives.
While I worked through the prompts, at no time did I feel uncomfortable in the writing process. It felt like an interview in every way, shape and form. As a genealogist, I was also happy to see that Soper included prompts on family stories and traditions.
The Practical Side of Death
Also included in ObitKit™ are some common-sense and practical steps for leaving a legacy. In the chapter On a Practical Note, Soper helps you document information such as whether or not you are an organ donor, the location of your will, etc. Entering this information will make it easier for your loved ones to not only take care of details, but also let them spend more time celebrating your life rather than on a scavenger hunt for documents and details.
Be Practical and Celebrate Your Life
My favorite chapters in ObitKit™ are Planning a Service and Programs for Funerals and Memorial Services since they are not just filled with practical advice, but a variety of poems and quotes to be used in funeral programs and memorial books.
At first, I was not sure that I could write my own obituary – even after having written my mother’s obituary (she has not yet passed). But as I worked through the pages of ObitKit™, the process made sense and at no time was I ever “uncomfortable.” I think that the combination of prompts and Soper’s comforting and practical advice made the process actually enjoyable. As genealogists we love telling the stories of our ancestors, so why shouldn’t we also enjoy telling our own story?
The ObitKit™ is a practical way to not only take control over how your own story is written, but it can help and comfort someone who needs to write the obituary for a loved one or a friend. At the very least, it should be part of a family’s estate planning materials and the planning process. Thanks to Soper’s approach with this delicate subject, the task of writing an obituary becomes “normal” and the end product will be a memorial that can comfort friends and family in the future.
Visit the ObitKit™ website at http://obitkit.com/ to learn more and to order your copy today.
Disclosure: Upon request, I received a complimentary copy of ObitKit™ from the author for review purposes. Please see Disclosure Statements (http://www.geneabloggers.com/disclosure-statements/) for more information on my material connection with genealogy vendors and organizations.
©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee