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You won’t regret having this task complete when your loved one passes

Completing an obituary in advance of your loved one’s passing gives your family time to recall stories and work through revisions at a time that is far less stressful than at the time of death. I know from personal experience in working on my mother’s obituary that making everyone happy can take time. And that’s okay, because working on creative obituaries can be an especially emotional experience.

It took at least seven revisions over the course of the week leading up to my mother’s passing before my dad and siblings were satisfied with the obituary I had put together. Since I had the advantage of knowing the person I was writing about intimately, you would think it would have received everyone’s blessing much quicker. Sometimes, that’s just the way it goes.

When my mother did pass on, all we had to do was add information about the services at the end, and we were good to go. In the meantime, I was also scanning in old photos to use in a video obituary, using my narration of the written version as the soundtrack. We were able to play a looped version of that video (we muted the sound) at the post-funeral luncheon, which was great because my dad loved seeing the photos.

There is no limit to how far ahead you can prepare an obituary

Immediately after completing my mother’s obituary, my dad mentioned he would like me to update his own obituary. I had written a draft almost 15 years earlier, and it made perfect sense to revisit it. Most of it was still valid, but there were parts he wanted to adjust or add.

The funny part is I remember him telling me back then that he wanted me to keep it short. However, he has led a very full life and it ended up being plenty long. Can you guess what he wanted to do after reading it? Add to it, of course!

There’s no law that says you have to wait for someone to pass away before working on their obituary. There’s also no rule preventing a person from having a say in their own obituary. I’ve written several obituaries for friends and family who are still alive. They have peace of mind knowing this portion of their affairs is in order, just like their will and any other final arrangements.


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.