How should we be remembered in our obituary or in our video memorial or tribute?
What do the experts say? You would think that a person who has spent their life writing obituaries (most recently for the Wall Street Journal) would know a thing or two about telling a person's life story.
Well, James Hagerty in the Friday April 29, 2019 edition of the Wall Street Journal is that person and he indeed has strong ideas about what matters in telling a person's story:
I don’t want what many people seem to consider the standard form for obituaries: A list of names, dates and achievements interspersed with quotes about my nobility, generosity and devotion to family.
Instead, the kernel of any life as he sees it is:
Mr. Hagerty thinks the safest course is to write your own story while you can - setting us aside just 15 or 20 minutes a week until the job is done. He thinks that it is perilous to leave it to family - who may make a hash of the job. And certainly, family don't know the terrain as well as the subject themselves.
But if withering honesty about the mission and struggle (with only intermittent successes) that life is to many of us, it is hard to know how many (if any) mistakes to own up to. He says he always includes in his newspaper obituaries the ups and downs, the triumphs and errors, even the humiliations. And he believes that he must do the same for his own story.
But how many of my embarrassing mistakes, lapses and weaknesses should I record? And which ones? I’m still struggling with that part.
Perhaps we can agree that the savor of life is indeed partly the struggle. And even where a life ends in some comfort it is not remiss to mention goals attempted and even goals not reached. It is important for younger folks to know that in many cases even a successful life was accompanied by setbacks.
We have assisted many individuals assemble their own video memorials, often assisted by a family member. Sometimes the project is used to help celebrate a birthday then it lies ready to put into service when different circumstances demand!