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Breaking the Mold of “Cookie Cutter” Obituaries

This week, an obituary written by the daughter of Harry Weatherby Stamps has gone viral across social media and is receiving national attention.  For good reason, as it was a moving, entertaining and out of the ordinary obituary.  What I realized, however, is that this type of heartfelt account of someone’s life − that is written in a way that truly personifies the individual, with traces of humor or quirkiness − shouldn’t be out of the ordinary.

If you’ve ever needed to write an obituary, you would know that, although it is an honor, it is no easy task.  In fact, it’s one of the most difficult types of writing to do, even for professionals.   But perhaps it would be just a little easier, if you didn’t feel pressure to write something formal or that fit into a specific format.   Some may be more comfortable simply “filling in the blanks,” but others may appreciate the liberty to showcase the descendant’s personality.  Reminiscing about what made this person who they were can certainly help in the healing process.  It can actually be therapeutic.

However you would like to approach the obituary of a loved one −whether you allow the funeral home or newspaper to write it for you, or if you choose to write it yourself – the key is to be writing about life, rather than their death.  Make sure to ask yourself “how would they like to be remembered?”  It should be a celebration of your loved one’s accomplishments and help to paint a portrait of their life.   Honor this person for who they were and what they meant, to you and everyone whose lives they touched.

To read Harry Weatherby Stamp’s full obituary visit:

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