DEAR MISS MANNERS: Both of my parents died fairly recently at ripe old ages (90 and 98). As the writer in the family, I collected relevant information, drafted both of their obituaries and asked my siblings to review them and make suggestions. I have also been asked to write obituaries for several of my friends’ family members.
I regularly read the obits published in newspapers and online to get ideas on how to make these important memorials interesting, informative and meaningful.
Being in my 60s, I decided to draft my own obituary to make things easier for my husband and children when I eventually die. I have been honored and privileged to be designated as godmother of four people -- all children of various close friends. I have taken this responsibility seriously, and, except for one instance where the mother’s erratic behavior made it impossible, I have been involved and supportive throughout my godchildren’s lives. They are all now adults, and we have very cordial relationships.
Would it be proper to mention my godchildren in my obituary? If so, should I mention all four, or just the three with whom I am close? What would be a good way to phrase it?
GENTLE READER: An obituary traditionally only includes those who are directly related or who assume that status through marriage. While it is gracious of you to want to include your godchildren, it would be still more gracious to tell them now how much they mean to you.
Otherwise, Miss Manners fears that your obituary will look like a lengthy acceptance speech, thanking everyone who touched your life for getting you where you are today -- well, not the “today” of the obituary, but before your demise. This is a hazard of writing your own obituary.