The Joy Of Writing Obituaries
Are you intrigued or surprised by the way I titled this article? It probably seems like writing obituaries would be filled with anything other than joy. I agree, or at least I would have agreed up until a few months ago when I had the privilege of helping two friends write the obituaries for their grandmothers.
I used to think that writing obituaries would be a thing of dread, filled with nothing but morbid thoughts of how a loved one would no longer be around to share life with you. I was sure that writing obituaries was never a healthy, healing thing for a person to do. My two friends changed my views of all of this. I sat with my two friends at our favorite coffee shop as they determined to write appropriate obituaries for their grandmothers who had ironically died within a week of each other. I ordered everyone lattes and joined my friends with a bit of reservation about what the next hours would hold. I think I was there for moral support, to grab a Kleenex if I saw a tear or to order another drink if more caffeine was needed. I sat quietly and watched as they began to write the obituaries that many people would read to grieve and remember the women who had passed on.
Minutes passed quickly until we had been in the coffee shop for three hours. I was nearly in shock over all I had observed and learned during that time. Rather than being filled with an endless stream of tears, our hours were filled with tons of laughter. My two friends were looking at the task of writing the obituaries with joy and gratefulness. They were glad to have been the ones in their families chosen for the task and they threw themselves in to the work fully.
For both of them, writing obituaries for their grandmothers was a privilege. They enjoyed the opportunity to wander back through years of memories and special moments shared with their grandmas. Their grieving was overshadowed only by the joy of remembering. This was a lesson that I needed to learn. I never thought about writing obituaries as an opportunity to honor a loved one and find joy, peace and healing in the process, but that is exactly what my two friends did that afternoon.
So now, as I sit down to write obituaries for my own loved ones who have passed, I do it with joy. I do it to remember the best parts of who they were and the many ways that they influenced my life for the better. It may sound a little silly, but writing obituaries isn’t something I mind doing at all.