Writing the “Hook” for My Obituary

DeathI generally try to come up with blog posts all on my own. Well, mostly my own. But today I’m shamelessly borrowing from my friend Jamie Chavez who brought Harry Stamps’ obituary to my attention in one of her posts last week.

This is the BEST obituary ever written. Shoot, it’s one of the best essays ever written. If you only ever click on one link I post, click on this one and read Harry’s obit in full. It’s awesome.

Here’s how it starts: “Harry Weathersby Stamps, ladies’ man, foodie, natty dresser, and accomplished traveler, died on Saturday, March 9, 2013.”

Talk about a hook! Here’s how it ends: “Finally, the family asks that in honor of Harry that you write your Congressman and ask for the repeal of Day Light Saving Time. Harry wanted everyone to get back on the Lord’s Time.”

How can you not click over and read all the fabulous stuff in the middle? It was written by his daughter, Amanda Lewis, who apparently knows how to fish and choose a good hammer thanks to her dad.

Which got me thinking. No–not about whether my hammer is good enough–but whether my obituary will be worth reading. I once would have considered that in the context of accomplishments, now I’m thinking style.

Sarah Anne Loudin Thomas, perpetual optimist, secret junk-food snacker, and author of (what? at least a dozen?) best-selling novels passed away ________. Sarah died peacefully at home after eating a hot fudge sundae and while re-reading “Little House on the Prairie” for the bazillionth time.

While she had no children of her own, she was notorious for “borrowing” her nieces, her nephews and the children of her friends just long enough to make them difficult for their parents to handle. She loved to cook and even more to eat, but scoffed at anyone who used the word “foodie” or went on and on about eating what are basically weeds. While not a fan of fast food, she was never too proud to thoroughly enjoy drive-thru French fries. Lots of them.

Well–you get the idea. While it isn’t much fun to think about dying, this exercise really is a blast. So how about you? What would be the one-sentence “hook” for your obituary?

13 thoughts on “Writing the “Hook” for My Obituary

  1. I like yours!

    Mine…hmmm. I could do what I wish it were, or I could do honest. I’ll do honest.

    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser died yesterday, aged __, of wounds suffered in a gunfight. He was attempting to infiltrate and break up a dog-fighting ring at the time. His last words were, “Aw, crap.”

    He was the co-founder of Howlin’ Pawz, a sanctuary for former fighting dogs, as well as the author of several novels and Christian self-help books. he is survived by his wife and a large number of dogs and cats.

    He was a man of mercy, but was neither a man of, nor for peace.

  2. Buffy White

    Can something be cute and morbid at the same time? If so, you did it. Congratulations on a job well done! 🙂

  3. The good stuff? Okay…

    Jennifer’s first adventure was to the Amazon Jungle in 1984. She learned that fire ant bites do feel like fire and that toilets do NOT flush the other way in the Southern Hemisphere. The jungle was hot,steamy and beautiful. But the bugs were huge, so forget it. Body surfing was fun, the Communist riot was not. Neither were the Merchant Marines looking for a good time.
    Her second adventure started June 17th, 1989 when she married John in a ceremony that included ASL so his deaf parents could understand. They had four children and only a few brain cells left when the grandkids came along.
    Jennifer served many times on mission trips to the Bolivian Andes and more than once got out of trouble by simply being charming.
    Her best friends know her secrets, her husband knows her faults and no one’s talking.

  4. Pingback: Fabulous Five Hooks – May 24th, 2013 | Married... with Fiction

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