Many of us have the desire to share our life stories, passing on wisdom, values and experiences to next generations. One way you can take a proactive approach to creating your legacy is with a “Living Obituary.” Unlike a regular obituary which is normally written by a loved one after your passing, a living obit is something you draft, either on your own or with the help of a professional writer. It puts you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to decide which life contributions, challenges, achievements, memories and stories you want to be remembered by.
Following the traditional newspaper obituary format, the Living Obit is typically 500 words, while an extended 2,000-word essay format is also popular. Both can be repurposed as a eulogy at a funeral and kept as a keepsake which can be referred to later on by family and friends.
Online companies, such as Edmonton-based Storyphile.ca, offer living obituary writing services that take two to four weeks to complete. Here, a 500-word living obit will set you back $495, while a 2,000-word Living Obituary Essay costs about $2,000.
Once you sign a letter of agreement and pay 50 per cent of the deposit, a writer at that company will contact you to determine which aspects of your life you’d like the obit to focus on.
Next, you’ll sit down with the writer for either a phone conversation or an in-person interview which will be recorded to ensure accuracy.
Once the writer has crafted the piece, you’ll have the chance to review it, request any changes, give final approval and determine where and when you would like to have it published after your passing.
Vancouver-based writer Dean Broughton, founder of Yourlivinglegacy.org offers similar services helping people answer questions such as: “Who am I? What are the important moments of my life? Why do they matter to me or why should it matter to others?” in a 400-word Living Legacy Memoir. He can also help put together professional audio podcasts of interviews, professional video packages and a framed copy of the memoir along with photos.
Whether you enlist the services of a professional writer, or draft up a living obituary on your own, it’s an opportunity to reflect on your life and to stay connected to your loved ones.