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Think about the happy times to do their memory justice

Some of the most challenging, creative obituaries I write involve people who choose to end their life by suicide. While any death is sad, suicides are particularly difficult for those left behind because they present more questions than answers.

It’s natural to wonder if you could have done anything to help someone who obviously was hurting more than anyone realized. There is a level of guilt, confusion, even anger over the person’s decision to end their life. Why? Just why??

Unfortunately, I know firsthand the range of emotions that follow a close friend’s suicide. Even though it was not a complete shock when our friend Kevin made his decision – I only needed one guess when informed by a mutual friend that one of our friends had died; she didn’t even mention suicide – the sudden realization that you will never be able to share a laugh with your friend or family member again, and that it was their choice, is crushing.

It took me a long time to get past my anger. It wasn’t until a friend who had lost a stepbrother to suicide explained that we have to understand the person’s pain in staying was greater than the pain of leaving that I was able to let go. It’s been several years now, and I still think about Kevin often.

You can read Kevin’s obituary here.

Writing an obituary comes down to capturing the person’s spirit

Regardless of whether a person dies expectedly or unexpectedly, the task of doing them justice in a creative obituary comes down to capturing the essence of their life spirit. They impacted the lives of those around them in a positive way, and I see it as my responsibility as a writer to help readers feel the energy that person brought to life on earth.

One of the best comments I received from the reader of a recent creative obituary was how they appreciated being able to laugh through the tears. Sharing descriptions of the person’s personality is crucial to the success of a creative obituary, especially in the emotional aftermath a suicide.

You want the obituary to be memorable and worth reading. It has to be more than just a boring list of where they worked and who their survivors are. You want readers who didn’t know the person well to feel as though they did.

When you prepare information for a writer like me to craft a creative obituary, push past your pain to recall what made this person special. Jot down some examples of what brought them joy, what made them unique, and how the world was a better place when they were here. What were they passionate about?

Their life was more than how it ended. It’s up to you as the person who knew them well, working in tandem with the creative obituary writer, to bring that information together for the rest of the world to see. That individual deserves it.

About is a service of professional obituary writer Mike Dauplaise. Contact me to produce your choice of written, audio and video versions of creative obituaries in advance or on short notice. All projects come with 100% satisfaction guarantee and unlimited revisions.