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0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8cd30001A blog featuring the work and work life of NHPR's interns and fellows.

How To Write Your Own Obituary

TempusVolat via Flickr CC

As part of our investigation into all things death, we spoke with Barbara Bates Sedoric, president and founder of Lasting Matters, about planning for death by saving your family from extra stress to making sure documents are in order. And now one of those documents may very well be part of a new trend that is on the rise.

The newest fashion in after-life planning is writing your own obituary. Though some people consider it to be a bit extreme, it fits into a culture where people are dictating everything else about how they should be treated even after they reach the end of the line. People plan funerals down to the smallest detail, like a playlist or hearse, so why shouldn’t the headlining speech, their last opportunity to make their mark, be included?

Credit david_shankbone via Flickr CC

Writing your own obituary may sound a little morbid, but it’s become very popular in recent years. Actor James Rebhorn, who died in March, 2014, wrote his own obituary and conspicuously left out most of his career accomplishments in favor of focusing on family. That probably wouldn’t have happened if it had been written by a friend, close colleague, or even family member after his death.

So, you decide it’s a good idea to write your own obituary. Where do you start? It turns out the internet hosts thousands of resources – search the term “write your own obit” and over 180,000 results pop up. Here are some of the most helpful, and most intriguing, guides to writing your own obituary.

ObitKit: This guide to writing your own obituary bills itself as “an-easy-to-use workbook…a creative, upbeat way to gather the details of your life…a fun way to see how far you’ve come – with a look to the future…” If you’re really into step-by-step crafting or scrapbooking, this may be the option to go with. They also have links to advice about how to “put the ‘fun’ in funeral!”

ObituaryGuide.Com: For people who want to cut to the chase, this no non-sense guide offers solid advice for sitting down and writing an obituary…about yourself. Helpful hints include “Use this project as an opportunity,” (it can be a good time to compile facts for a family history or get into the mood to draft up a living will) and “Include a recent photo” (younger ones can be added as well).

MSN Money: Even MSN Money, who might be more in their wheelhouse with distribution of assets, is in on the action. Their guide touches on practical advice for writing your obituary, including this potential problem we hadn’t even considered: “Don’t slip up. You don’t want [your obituary] among those obituaries that have been accidently published before the subject died.” Which happens surprisingly often.

Now, we have a challenge for you: write your own, 6-word obituary. You can leave it in the comments below, post it to our Facebook page, or Tweet it to us. We'll start: We Loved Exploring This Fascinating World.

To hear more about after-life planning and writing your own obituary you can listen to the full show here.

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