When’s the last time you clicked on or liked an obituary? Exactly. The traditional obituary doesn’t get much attention in our news diet. Doesn’t that feel strange? That someone’s actual life story – told at the moment when it means the most – gets lost in the shuffle of, well, life.
The exceptions — the viral obituaries — catch our eyes and hearts because someone went beyond the bulleted list of careers and “survived-bys” to tell a story that’s MORE. More real, more truthful. Even funny. You won’t find any of that in the “how to write an obituary” tips out there.
The kids of Sybil Hicks knew she liked to call her husband a horse’s ass, so they made sure to include it in her obit. Written in the first person (by her kids), Sybil says of her own death, “I finally have the smoking hot body I have always wanted… having been cremated.” Interviewed by Carol Off of the radio show “As it Happens,” Sybil’s son Brian said, “We just thought that when she passed, we really didn’t want to have this sort of boilerplate template obituary…We wanted to do something that kind of celebrated who she was and to give us an opportunity to basically have one last conversation with her and have some laughs at the same time.” Sybil’s obit traveled around the world and back in a matter of days.
Nora McInerny’s life changed in surprising ways after the death of her husband Aaron Purmort, not the least of which was that a short, creative, witty obituary launched a career in helping grieving widows, plus podcasting, public speaking, writing and connecting with people around the world. Every line in the obituary is clever and caring and different, name checking Gwen Stefani, Spiderman, and the suburban musical sensations, The Asparagus Children. Of her writing about Aaron, Nora told “Salon” magazine, “Aaron was not a sad story; he was not a cancer story. He was a real live person. And that’s the story that I wrote. I wrote the story of actually being in love with him and being alive with him.”
Sybil and Aaron were extraordinary people but not famous. Their time in the spotlight happened because someone told their truth and shined a light on more than a list of stuff they did. Templates are meant to be dismantled — which is why we created epilogg. A traditional obituary template forces a full and colorful life into the tiniest of boxes. epilogg lets you choose the way a life gets to be remembered. It’s the history that really matters — written by you. Or told in pictures. And recipes. And things regular obituaries simply can’t include.
Even if you’re not as salty as Sybil or creative as Nora, epilogg lets you show the real 3D life of a person after they die. You get to decide, you get to build the life story the way you want. Better yet, start the epilogg ahead of time so someone you love gets to tell their own story without missing out. Sure, the facts will be in there, but it’s also the richness of faces and feelings and those unique “so them” quirks that would otherwise be kept alive only in our heads and hearts. epilogg holds the good stuff.