Skip to content

Tips for Senior Citizens – Obituary Writing 101

No senior citizen with a lick of sense should leave the writing of their obituary to their damned relatives. When the time comes, your family will be far too consumed with grief and preoccupied with the contents of your will to focus on writing you the fitting tribute you deserve.

Leave it to chance and you’ll end up with some off-the-rack, saccharine-coated, blandly benign recap of your life. Face facts, for most folks this will be your first mention in the local newspapers. Now is your time to shine, damn it.

I say, write it yourself. It’s not difficult – an obituary follows a pretty simple formula:

  • A Nice Photo
  • The Announcement
  • Family Crap
  • Your Life in 150 Words or Less
  • Service Details
  • A Fitting Summation

This edition of “Obituary Writing 101” will focus on the first three items on that list:

A Nice Photo

I strongly recommend including a photo. It draws attention to your death and helps set you apart from the other stiffs littering the obituary pages. But be forewarned, making the proper selection can be challenging indeed.

If you include a “young” photo in your obituary, it makes it seem like you were embarrassed of your life after the age of 40 and ashamed of your golden years. If you include an “old” photo, it looks like you spent your whole time on earth with blotchy skin, thinning hair, an unflattering scowl and thick spectacles. It’s a conundrum.

That’s why I suggest you include a black and white photo of your corpse. It’s plucky, original and pretty much tells it as it is. And, if nothing else, it’s a damned sure to draw a crowd.

The Announcement

This section usually contains your name, age, the date of your death and the cause of your death. Sure, it may seem like pretty standard fare but you still want to choose your words carefully. I don’t want my obit to say something moronic like I died “peacefully,” “quietly” or “suddenly.” I want it to say that I died after a protracted battle against the stupidity of others.

I also intend to augment my name slightly to further set me apart from the herd. My obituary will identify me as Colonel Donald Mills. (I was never really a Colonel but neither was Harland Sanders and that didn’t stop him). I would have selected General Mills but that would just cause confusion.

I further recommend against including a cause of death. I’m in my 80’s for Christ sake and I think we can all safely assume I died from old age and not sexual misadventure or a skydiving accident. However, a little mystery is a good thing and if people want to speculate – who am I to object.

Mix it up, make it punchy and don’t worry about sticking to the facts. You’re dead – no one is going to call you on it.

Family Crap

This is where you name everyone you’re survived by and predeceased by. Personally, I don’t see the value of this section at all. It’s boring as Hell (the damn things read like those tiresome “begat” sections of the Bible) and the only people who peruse it are the ones checking to see if they were mentioned.

For me, I won’t be including a list of people I am “survived by.” Most of the relatives I liked are already dead and the rest should damn well know who they are. Plus, at 30 cents a word it’s a costly added expense.

Beyond a mention of my beloved Aggie, I won’t be including the names of any folks I am predeceased by either. By definition – they’re dead. And last time I checked, the dead don’t read newspapers. At least, not the obituaries.

2

In the next edition of Obituary Writing 101 – summarizing your life in 150 words or less, drafting the service details and writing a fitting summation.

For me, the last line in my obituary will remind any damned young person planning to attend the celebration of my life that there will be a strict “No shoes, No shirt, No memorial service” policy in effect.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

119 Comments leave one →
  1. 12:15 am

    Brilliant Don, with an imagination and humor that never ceases to amaze me.

    I loved the last part about “No shoes, no shirt . . .”

    There was a great scene in Clint Eastwood’s recent movie “Gran Torino” – in the very beginning – when he’s attending his wife’s funeral, and one of the grandkids are sporting a pierced belly button, and they show the manners of someone who couldn’t buy a clue. His squinting glare has never been so expressive; more than any words could say. He is still a master of non-verbal communication.

    But I digress. Thanks for a great laugh, as I proceed to add a few things to my will, pertaining to potographing my corpse, and also draft a decent obituary. I look forward to more advice!

    • 12:38 am

      Many thanks Dan.

      Who the Hell exposes a pierced belly button at a damned funeral? I can see that my “no shoes, no shirt…” stipulation is not going to be anywhere near specific enough to cull the damned riff raff from my memorial service. I’ll have to be sure to prepare a more comprehensive list.

      Things like…No piercings, facial tattoos, fu manchu moustaches/soul patches, platform “Kiss” boots, new romantic puffy shirts, mohawks, leather jackets, hoodies, chewing gum, cell phones or Justin Bieber t-shirts allowed.

      And that’s just the beginning! I can see I’m going to need to take this away and give it some more thought.

      If you do decide to go with the photo, Dan, please remember my advice. Die old and leave a scary as Hell looking corpse.

      Best regards,

      Don

  2. The Celtic Queen permalink
    1:05 am

    Oh Don that is just what I intend to do. I’m going to let you all into a secret, I’m a twin but and it’s a huge but, my twin has had her face done, not once, but twice so now we don’t look anything alike. She has adopted that tight face look with a small pout that makes her look like a baby duck. She has that short haircut that I call the lesbian look and the small glasses with no frames. I, on the other hand have a blonde bod haircut . longer at the front and have chosen to let people actually know that I’ve lived this life and my face will certainly tell my story. I mean you can have a face lift once twice three times but other parts age as well. I figure there’s no point sliding into that coffin with a face to die for and hands that look like they mined coal.

    Being of Celtic origin it was customary in bygone days to keep the dead at home and leave from there and proceed to the cemetery. They had a send off like no other. Many a time the coffin was standing in the corner so you were quite often at your own wake. Mum tells me that she slept in the same room with her grandmother’s body and wasn’t afraid. She loved this woman, so in death what was there to fear?

    So I’ve already started on my own obituary. I’ve chosen the music too. Perhaps I’ll even have them play Doing Dong the Witch is Dead. They will certainly remember me for something.

    • 1:33 am

      ANN, knowing you, that is fecking hilarious!
      Twin huh? Wooda never guessed.

      It must be hotter than hell right now down under.
      -6f this morning here. New record low for today.

      • The Celtic Queen permalink
        1:46 am

        Yes Sekan it’s 43 degrees and Jan (Hubby-Polish) is in your favourite position. On the couch, with a pillow no blanket and the TV on. It’s alarmingly hot as this is when we get those
        dreadful fires that killed so many last year.
        I’m just making some potato salad to have with chicken so that we don’t have to cook too much and heat up the house. Unimaginable isn’t it?

    • 1:57 am

      Many thanks Celtic Queen,

      Must be damned odd having a twin start getting medical procedures done that result in her looking less like you. And even odder for her to see what she should/would look like if she wasn’t having her face stetched in 9 different directions at once. There’s something vaguely Dorian Gray about the whole matter.

      No matter, I’ve never understood that damned plastic surgery. I used to rather like that Mary Tyler Moore lass until she went and dipped her head in wax. She looks like she lives in a wind tunnel.

      Not to change gears too quickly but I wonder if you’re familiar with sin eaters? My Aggie was always going on about them. People (beggers usually) that would take on your sins through the eating of food. For some reason, the notion always scared the Hell out of me.

      And good for you on the early obituary planning. Take my advice, leave nothing to chance. The music for my funeral will be Andy Stewart playing “Donald Where’s Your Troosers.”

      All the best,

      Don

      • The Celtic Queen permalink
        2:21 am

        No Don and coming from a fundamentalist Presbyterian family the beggar / sin eater would never have come into it. My granny was funny about other people knowing our family business, good or bad. So I think the sins would have had to go with you. I remember her telling me time after time that if Aunt Tina ( her own sister) asks you such and such, YOU DON”T KNOW. They must have thought I was the most ill informed young ‘un in the village.
        I just googled ‘sin eater’ and it seems like a good idea to me but the poor beggar will never get to heaven with all the baggage he has to carry. Perhaps another beggar will do the right thing by him too.
        Your dear Aggie seems like my kind of woman. If I thought a sin eater would help I’d organise that too. I’ll google to see if there are any close by.

  3. 1:37 am

    I’ll think about writing my own obit.
    As slow as I type, it may be just in time….

    For the headstone;
    “I TOLD YOU I DIDN’T FEEL GOOD!”

    The coffin? Well, like those clever folks in Ghana, I want a casket that reflects what I did in life. Therefore, mine will look like a couch with a pillow and blanket. TV remote too.

    • 2:12 am

      Many thanks Sekanblogger,

      Always good to be thinking ahead and headstone planning is probably more important than the obituary. The obituary runs a day or two, is clipped out by a half dozen people and then forgotten.

      Your headstone, however, is built to last. I’ll have to give some thought to a pithy “tag line” for mine.

      And while I’ve never seen a casket that looks like a couch, I understand that there are plenty of folks who fancy couches that look like caskets.

      Personally, I’ll take my recliner any day.

      All the best,

      Don

  4. 1:41 am

    Dear Mr. Mills:

    As always, very well done. I do, however, feel that you missed the value of the “Family Crap” section. This is your chance to finally tell each and every ungrateful and ugly relative what you thnk of them, one last time, without having to look at the dull expressions on their pimply faces or listen to their whining and complaining about how they were never appreciated or loved. Remember, for once, you are getting the “last word.”

    • 1:55 am

      Dear bmj2k,

      There is always that video will for the “Family Crap” stuff. With video, they can appreciate those facial expressions and voice inflections you know. Just a thought.

      Regards,
      mcnorman

    • 2:18 am

      Many thanks Bmj2k,

      You raise a good point but as Mcnorman points out there are other more direct means of getting back at the ungrateful relations. All of my slights, grievances, and aging beefs are going to be fully addresses through my will.

      While I like the idea of handing them all a tongue-lashing in the public newspapers, using the Will allows me to really make them squirm.

      Thanks for the suggestion though. I certainly appreciate it.

      All the best and thanks for visiting.

      Don

  5. 1:41 am

    I personally like the idea of writing it in the first person. Hit ’em right off with your stellar personality. Stuff like, “Well shit, it pisses me off to see that I have died! worst of all you turkeys have outlived me. You’ve looked so whipped the last few years that I figured to dance at your funeral. Well you won’t dance at mine; I’ve left a list of names…”.

    Keep it up, you grumpy old fart!

    • 2:26 am

      Thanks kindly Cratch,

      There is a lot of merit to that approach – no question. And I’d say you’ve got an excellent opening paragraph right there.

      All the best and thanks for stopping in.

      Don

  6. 1:42 am

    @Don

    Geezus, it’d be a sad day when we read your obituary. It just wouldn’t be the same, without your wisdom and wry humor.

    And knowing the damned young people, even if they DID have shoes and shirts, they still woudlnt’ be listening to the memorial service. They’d be too busy listening to their i-pods and texting.

    You know what would be a great trick? To stick a huge industrial magnet in your coffin. As they’d be forced to walk by and pay their respects, the magnet would scramble their electronic gizmos. (heh heh)

    • 2:35 am

      Many thanks Friar,

      I hadn’t considered the damned young people texting during my damned service. It’s too much! I don’t want anyone sending damned tweets while they are putting me to rest.

      “Funeral is endless! This tie is killing me. Dinner at 7? Aunt Linda is huge.”

      It’s depressing to think about. I’m going to have to use that industrial magnet trick, Friar. And I may have to look at throwing a few other booby traps into the service. Perhaps when they think they are signing the guest register, I can actually switch it so that they’re enlisting for military service.

      All the best,

      Don

    • Lily Fossil permalink
      8:05 am

      Dear Friar,

      I mentioned to Kate in a reply further down that your suggestion of the industrial magnet is hilarious and a damned fine idea, but there could be problems if you intend being cremated. I certainly don’t wish to throw cold water on the idea, but the magnet could blow the crematorium up? Just an idea.

      Thinking ahead,

      Lily

      • 2:04 pm

        Lily;

        I don’t know..wouldn’t it turn turn into a molten slag of metal?

        But magnets are expensive. The iron and nickel alone would have some value.

        In the interest of being a good citizen, I’d have the magnet removed prior to cremation, and sent to the scrap yard for recycling. They might even pay a few bucks for it.

        Or better yet, pass it on to another friend in the will, for them to play the same trick when their time comes.

  7. 1:49 am

    I should like for all young people to remember Solomon’s exhortation that, “wisdom is found in the house of mourning.” Something totally sober for their mush-brains to ponder as they look upon my remains.

    I should like for all former lovers to look upon me knowing that the faint smile I’ll be sporting is all about them.

    I should like all insufferable family members to know that the faint smile I’ll be sporting is because just as they leaned in for a closer look, that last bit of my anal-retentive nature finally relaxed and I’m farting in their general direction.

  8. 1:51 am

    Dear Don,

    Thank you for such insightful thought on how to write your own obituary. Short, sweet, simple and to the point. I might add that this is the best assessment of the final life chapter.

    “I want it to say that I died after a protracted battle against the stupidity of others.”

    Isn’t that what is killing us all? You are brilliant man!

    I am forwarding a copy of this post to all of my friends who have been dreading the task. I always say, do it yourself or your relatives will write an obituary fit for a clown.

    Regards,
    mcnorman

    • 2:49 am

      Many thanks mcnorman,

      Very nice to have you drop in. I think an obituary is best kept short and simple. Really, why mention that you spent 40 years working at General Electric. if people are only just discovering that now they probably have no idea who you are or are planning to come to your damned service anyway. It’s foolish. Better to hit them with info they had no idea about..

      All the best and thanks again for visiting.

      Don

  9. Lily Fossil permalink
    2:09 am

    Dearest Donald,

    I do hope you are not planning on dropping off your perch anytime soon with all this talk of obituaries. Having said that I think it is an excellent idea and shows great foresight and alacrity.

    Only this very morning I have spent 3 hours writing a “document” called “What to do When I am Dead” (seriously) so it was with much serendipidity I checked your blog because now I look forward to revising certain sections.

    For instance, I was never entertaining the idea of leaving anything to my ex husband and his new silly (young) wife but now I think I will. So now I am bequeathing him all the appliances in my home at the time of my demise, that don’t work (like the George Foreman Grill).

    Be right back..

    Lily

    • 2:58 am

      Many thanks Lily,

      No, I’m not planning on popping off anytime soon. I can’t very well go and leave York unattended and I still have a score to settle with the U.N. on that whole International Day of the Older Person fiasco.

      I’ll ask you the same question given your sudden interest in writing a “What to do When I am Dead” document. I hope you’re not planning anything on vacating your perch either.

      I do like the name of this document, Lily. I appreciate plain language and simple instruction. I may have to write one myself. The first instruction will be to “wipe the damned grin off your face and start acting like a decent mourner.”

      And leaving your ex-husband the broken appliances is a very nice touch. If you were so inclined, you could also leave him a sharpened tomato stake as well – along with clear directions on how and where to use it.

      All the best, Lily.

      Don

      • Lily Fossil permalink
        3:25 am

        Dear Donald,

        Just to allay any fears; no, I am not intending falling off my perch anytime soon. (nb use of semi colon) because
        I am enjoying your advice too much to be going anywhere. As for the tomato stakes, you’re damned right he is getting them, the UNSHARPENED ones and he can stick ’em where the sun don’t shine. (I will keep the sharpened ones in case of vampire/zombie/gormless asshat attack).

        “To my ex husband I do solemnly bequeath 7 unsharpened tomato stakes, the George foreman Grill and the compost bin.”

        Lily

  10. 2:55 am

    i’ve always wanted to be on television, so i think i’ll say that i died under suspicious circumstances (even if i’m 115 when i go). that way, maybe dateline or 24 hours will do a segment about me. the bonus will be that they’ll focus on all the people who might have had a motive. i probably don’t like many of them, so it will be a nice farewell present to myself that everyone they know will view them with suspicion.

    • 2:01 pm

      Many thanks Nonnie,

      Hopefully you’ll live longer than the tender age of 115. Given advances in medical technology, 115 is now generally considered to be the new 90.

      I think the suspicious death is a brilliant idea. In addition to the potential of having Chris Hansen immortalize you on television, you have the added bonus of leaving clues that would point the finger of blame at relatives you particularly dislike. Just leave a few forged and incriminating notes lying around.

      A very nice way to say “goodbye” in my estimation.

      All the best,

      Don

  11. 3:12 am

    I don’t know, Mr. Mills.. . I’m thinking I’d prefer not to have a photograph, an obituary, OR a funeral. For that matter, I’d probably prefer not to die, either.

    My husband has a treasure map of all the places he wants his ashes sprinkled, so if he goes first, I will be exhausted from carrying out his wishes. Mine? Just toss my ashes along with the dog’s out in a park somewhere.

    If I WERE to have an obituary, however, I could not top this one:

    http://bitsandpieces1.blogspot.com/2005/08/very-unusual-obituary.html\

    • 2:02 pm

      Thank you very much Merrilymarylee,

      That is one rather bizarre obituary. I thoroughly approve.

      As for your wishes, I can understand your point of view. There is certainly something to be said for a quiet goodbye without fanfare (and immortality is always a good option as well).

      I’m looking forward to the day when the young people start kicking the bucket and the only photos they have to include in their obituaries are either the ones they’ve taken themselves with their damned digital cameras (you know the type – arm thrust forward holding the camera, shot from above and with a moronic smile) or their mug shots.

      I like your husband’s approach, however. I’m all for making people work in order to carry out my final wishes. And who doesn’t enjoy a treasure map?

      All the best and thanks for visiting.

      Don

  12. 3:20 am

    Well done, Don. My mother is such a take charge woman that she’s written her obit, arranged for her funeral spot, and chosen music. Not that she’s in danger of going anytime soon, but it never hurts to be ready, and god forbid we should try to impose our ideas on it! Ha! She picked “I Did It My Way” as the theme song.

    • 2:02 pm

      Thank you kindly Fantastic Forrest,

      You’re mother sounds like a damned sensible woman. And she’s right – it’s always a good idea to be prepared.

      A fine choice of theme song too. Please send her my best regards and congratulations on a job well done.

      All the best,

      Don

  13. 3:47 am

    Dear Mr. um I mean Colonel Mills,

    I cannot agree with you more wholeheartedly!

    My sister has been a fan of the New York Times obituary section for years and oft times sends me the more interesting ones. Really, would one want to read about an old Italian man named Giorgio Carbone who died at home, or would one rather read about Prince Giorgio I of Seborga who gracefully accepted the
    informal title of His Tremendousness, and was elected prince for life
    in 1995 by a vote of 304 to 4.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/world/europe/13carbone.html

    I often refer to myself as Dr. King since I have more often than not diagnosed my or those of family and friends medical conditions more accurately than those other medical doctors. My medical degree??? A minor detail. And when I’m dead…really who will care????

    In conclusion, I can only say, that I do NOT want to read your obituary any time soon, but when the time comes, I will expect it to be a brilliant (if not necessarily truthful) piece of writing.

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Carol King

    • 6:38 am

      Hi Carol, that article’s wonderful, thanks for the link and a laugh. Good for him, it would’ve been nice to have met that guy.

    • 2:20 pm

      Thank you very much Dr. King,

      What a delightful article. That Prince Giorgio sounds like my kind of man.

      “He chose a coat of arms, minted money (with his picture), issued stamps (with his picture) and license plates, selected a national anthem and mobilized a standing army, consisting of Lt. Antonello Lacala. He adopted a motto: Sub umbra sede (Sit in the shade).”

      A shame he passed. The world could use more men like Prince Giorgio.
      And good on you for taking on the title of Doctor. The world could use a few more decent medical practitioners (regardless of whether or not they have fancy degrees). My new family Doctor is a complete buffoon. He seemed quite put out when I advised him that “no” I did not want him to send the results of my most recent blood tests by Twitter.

      Thanks again for the article. It made my day. And I have to say that it includes a perfect closing line:

      “He daily availed himself of ham and cheese from the village shop, a royal perquisite.”

      Just perfect.

      All the best,

      “Colonel” Donald Angus Mills

  14. 6:32 am

    Friar’s suggestion of the industrial magnet is mag-nificent.
    As for your photo, Don, who’s going to take it after you’re gone? What if your newly bereaved refused?
    And isn’t it strange the way the most dysfunctional families are the ones who always put in the most family lovey dovey stuff. “Beloved this” when they hated the old bugger, or “sadly missed” when you know they’re planning to wildly celebrate the demise at the wake. Of course, the lovey dovey pretence always ends when they read the contents of the will!

    • Lily Fossil permalink
      7:58 am

      Kate,

      I laughed out loud at Friar’s excellent suggestion of the industrial magnet! Brilliant!

      My only problem with that is, however, if you are being cremated, a magnet may blow up the crematorium, which, on second thoughts, might be kinda fun.

      Lily

    • 2:28 pm

      Thank you Kate,

      I agree. Friar’s suggestion is quite clever isn’t it? I’ve given some thought to the photo issue and can assure you that no damned relative of mine will be allowed to take it. I’ve left instructions that the attending Doctor or Nurse is just to take a simple black and white Poloroid.

      Hopefully, they’ll catch my good side.

      And I’m always suspicious of those over-the-top obituaries. They smack of overcompensation. The person’s dead – it’s too damned late to start sucking up now.

      All the best and thanks for visiting.

      Don

  15. 7:01 am

    Don,

    I am right with you on the obit but why stop there? I’m having a good ol’ Irish wake in advance as well – why should my friends, relatives and the cheapskates who just show up for the food and beverage get all the Guinness and Bushmills. Another upside is that if you pick the right pub you won’t have to worry about those really young idiots crashing the party.

    • 2:44 pm

      Many thanks Blue,

      An excellent idea and one I’d be looking to adopt as well if it weren’t for the fact that I can’t stand the notion of being stuck in a room with the remaining members of my family (and no amount of Guinness or Bushmill is going to change that).

      Still, given the right relatives, I’m sure it could be a damned good time.

      Best regards,

      Don

  16. 7:11 am

    I like the idea of including a picture of my corpse with the obituary. It is a much better idea than a picture of a young me, which causes people to gasp, “Oh she was so young!” only to read my age and feel tricked and therefore not read the rest of my finely crafted obit. Or worse yet, an old picture of me where people say, “It’s about damned time.”

    If you’re going to do the corpse shot, you better pick a good mortician or you’ll end up looking like a circus clown.

    • The Celtic Queen permalink
      8:07 am

      The mortician made my mother in law up like a French hooker. She never wore anything except the obligatory little bit of lipstick before going out . When they took the lid of the casket for the viewing I gasped. The pallbearers thought they’d actually brought the wrong body and they might as well have because I sure as hell didn’t recognise her. Meanwhile my then 14 year old son thought nana looked just beautiful*&$#%$(#!
      She always had a blackhead on her cheek just under her eye and I noticed it was still there and I was sorely tempted to… squeeze it but thought better of it.

      On the other hand when my father in law died he looked like he didn’t have a care in the world. Well he didn’t really. His skin looked like silk with no wrinkles. I should have referred my twin to this guy as I though he did a splendid job and did in fact ask for his business card. His little Batta Scouts shiney shoes were so clean I could almost see my face in them. On his casket. there he was in a beautiful gold frame holding up a glass of Victoria Bitter and toasting his departure.
      That was nine years ago and I still miss them both like crazy. The best in laws you could ever hope to have.

      • 9:11 am

        I attended a funeral once and while I was still in the chapel praying, the undertaker and his wife approached me. I nearly fell out of the pew since it appeared as if he had applied her make-up or raised her from the dead. Maybe both. She was downright frightening. Right then I made a note to pre-check any mortician who might be handling my body.

        • The Celtic Queen permalink
          9:53 am

          That’s funny but I know it’s true. Mother in law never wore blue eye shadow or blush. I wiped away a bit of it as this wasn’t her at all. I don’t know where he even got that idea from !! Also according to what we handed over to them to dress her in it didn’t look like she was headed off to a RAVE party anytime soon.

    • 2:44 pm

      Thank you yellowcat,

      I’d be wary of letting any mortician become involved in the photo business. I don’t know what it is about those people but they must have shares in cosmetic companies. It would end up looking like one of those frightening “glamour” shots people have done.

      As I stated earlier in the comments. Best just to have a nurse or attending Doctor take the photo. You’re just another stiff to them.

      All the best,

      Don

  17. 7:48 am

    Geez, apologizes for my tardiness Mr Mills, I was just getting my Obitchuary in order. I thought I would lead with a nice “I told you I was sick” punchline followed by a small but detailed list of people who I care not attend my funeral. I have left clear instructions that everything I own gets placed on eBay (including properties) bids starting at $1 and all proceeds be spent on my funeral costs and the biggest friggin crypt there is. If I can’t take it with me I sure as hell still want to enjoy it.

    • 2:55 pm

      Thank you Frigginloon,

      Glad to hear that you are getting your affairs in order. An opening icebreaker is always a nice touch and you can never go wrong with the classic ‘I told you I was sick.”

      And a sound plan on the disposition of goods. As I always say to my relatives, “I can’t take it with me but that sure as Hell doesn’t mean you’ll ever see one red cent…now get out of the way, I can’t see the television.”

      Best regards,

      Don

  18. 8:28 am

    I’ve heard from various self-help books and other new age gooblidygook that it’s a good idea to write your obituary now (even if you are a young person) and then set about accomplishing all of the goals that you had reversely set. Well, I plan to take that advice a step further, but without the hassle of accomplishing any of those goals.

    I’m going to write 10 or so of those fluff piece obituaries, but use the names of nationally syndicated, but lesser known journalists. In other words, the people who write the fluff piece obituaries for local papers everywhere. First of all, they’d all be free, so I won’t have to pay a dime. Second, I can say whatever I want about myself. I’ll have my computer set up to automatically send out the ‘articles’ via email if I don’t log on for a two week period.

    They will all be different too. One will say that I was a fighter pilot and decorated war hero. One will say that I was a noted philanthropist and helped to rid the world of …..whatever god awful disease is cured right before I kick the bucket. Another will say that I was an Olympic wrestling champion who went on to dominate the UFC as a light middleweight. And on and on I’ll go.

    I figure it this way; most likely no one will be the wiser. The newspapers will send their five dollar checks to these hacks who supposedly wrote the thing. They need the money, so they won’t say anything. The people reading will believe it all too, everyone trusts what they read in print. And if I do get caught, well, I’ll already be dead so no problem facing the press. And I’d go down as the one who pulled ‘The Famous Last Prank.’ Win-Win!

    • 3:07 pm

      Thank you very much Scott,

      Nice to see a young man with a plan – and a well thought out one to boot. Looks to me like you have all the angles covered and I say more power to you.

      I’m not familiar with these self-help books you mention but I’m not sure the approach they suggest is entirely wise. It seems to me that if you compile a list of things to achieve, ending with your own death, you might not be inclined to start crossing things off the list. I know I’d be procrastinating on climbing Mount Everest if it were the last thing I was hoping to do before I kicked the damn bucket.

      Thanks for the comment, Scott. Always a pleasure to have you stop in.

      Best regards,

      Don

  19. 11:42 am

    I was seriously thinking I wouldn’t tell anybody I died and get to stinking so bad they have to flame thrower the whole place, me included. But I suppose I should let em know so they can pretend to weep and wail for the obligatory ten minutes, then haul off my golf clubs, guitars, signed art work and my collection of DVDs featuring the Red Skelton show. I’m fixin on being cremated anyhow, so a picture of the box, loaded with my ashes, should be good enough. My headstone should read, “Here lies a dead guy”, because with the lack of intelligence of the youth today, they probably couldn’t figure it out themselves.

    • The Celtic Queen permalink
      12:05 pm

      Jammers my father used to say ,” They will bury me anyway to get rid of the smell”. I would probably agree to being left on a mountain top like certain Indians who choose their day to die. Then the birds peck you to bits till only the bones are left. I don’t really want to be buried in a box underground. I have a fear of being buried alive A bit like the book ‘The Ka of Gifford Hillery’.1965 Anyone read that?

    • 3:15 pm

      Thanks very much Jammer,

      There is definitely something to be said for an enormous funeral pyre. And personally, I don’t relish the idea of some young people buying up my house, ripping it down to the bones, tossing my life into a garbage bin and installing all kinds of fancy islands, pot lights and stainless steel appliances.

      I like the headstone idea, Jammer. I’m going to have to work on that. In fact, it may be a good subject for a future post. Perhaps mine will say ‘If you can read this then you’re standing on my god damned head.”

      All the best,

      Don

  20. 7:54 pm

    This is a topic I also have given much thought to, though I’m a tad younger than you. I wrote a post: http://wp.me/pr9en-mr – on the Pearly Gates where I discussed my fears about what my kids might do.
    So, your post is wonderful. I will be taking the advice to heart and forwarding your post to my mother, she’s 75 and must be getting ready to take leave soon, as she’s not making very healthy life choices!!!

    many, many thanks!

    • 1:48 am

      Many thanks delicate flower,

      I have to say I’m surprised by the number of young people like yourself that have given this issue some serious thought. If I wasn’t convinced that the world was going to Hell in a handbasket I’d almost have cause for optimism.

      I’ll be sure to read your post with interest. And please pass on my warm regards to your dear mom.

      All the best,

      Don

  21. 8:02 pm

    Commendable post as always, Colonel.

    Although the thought of you leaving this world anytime soon devastates me, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t expect it (in fact, I’m impresssed you even made it through the winter, what with this horrible cold snap we’ve been having lately).

    And since I already had a feeling that you’d be writing your own obituary (being the stalwart and well-read geriatric that you are), I took the liberty of ordering your grave stone, just so we could cross yet another item off your “Things To Do Before I Die/ASAP” list.

    I wanted the epitaph to read “Mr. Mills—Remember The Sticktoitiveness”, but unfortunately that was already taken. So I went with option 2:

    Mr. Mills—“Keep Yer Tears Hoffa Ma Damn Grave Stone!”

    (I hope you like it because it’s non-returnable).

    You are a brilliant man, Colonel Mills. And even though I fear your demise something fierce, I do look forward to your punchy (albeit 90% bogus) obituary “bringing the steeple down” (so to speak).

    Your friend,

    Bschooled

    • 1:57 am

      Many thanks Bschooled,

      I appreciate your concern (as always) but the winter’s not over yet. And the roads have been damn slippery. Still, put me behind the wheel of a 5000 lb of Buick LeSabre and I have to admit that I feel pretty damned safe – even when I’m sliding across into oncoming traffic or through the front window of a Starbucks.

      And I greatly appreciate the gravestone. That’s damned touching. Unfortunately, I just this afternoon ordered my own. It reads,

      Donald Angus Mills, RIP
      You just proved that Tombstone Advertising Works
      call Mike Bullard at 1-888-555-4343 to get this tombstone working for you.

      It was a great deal, I get the stone for free in exchange for allowing the advertising. I like yours much better though and will see if I can get out of the paperwork I signed.

      Many thanks Bschooled. You’re a good friend.

      Don

      • Lily Fossil permalink
        2:54 am

        I do like that your initials are D.A.M. (Donald Angus Mills) and with R.I.P. and a Winkle you could have

        Here Lies RIP DAM Winkle.

      • 4:06 am

        So that’s where Mike Bullard went…

        For some reason I always thought he’d end up Managing a Canadian Tire.

  22. robinaltman permalink
    9:32 pm

    I’m going to make up family members I’d like to be related to. It can say, “She was survived by Julia Roberts, Chris Rock, and Stephen King.” That should confuse everyone nicely.

    • 2:03 am

      Thank you robinaltman,

      A wonderful ploy. I really wish I had thought of that myself. I like your selection of “survived by” people as well. Eclectic yet somehow plausible….

      Many thanks. I hope you don’t mind but I’m rewriting my obituary tomorrow to indicate that I’m survived by Regis Philbin, Mr. Whipple and Dustin Diamond.

      All the best,

      Don

  23. 10:12 pm

    Don I am a little confused. I get preparing my own obituary, but how can I do that if I am also expected to provide a picture of my corpse?

    • 2:07 am

      My dear bearman,

      It’s quite simple, lad. In your case, you could simply sketch it ahead of time. For the rest of us, however, we need to leave instructions that our corpse is to be photographed while we’re on the slab at the hospital.

      The other alternative would be to just lie still with your mouth slightly open, eyes closed (or not), and have your snap taken in advance. That way you’d still retain some quality control.

      You’re a detail oriented lad, bearman. I like that.

      All the best,

      Don

  24. 12:26 am

    OK! As soon as I can stop laughing I really need to get things in order. Whenever I think about funerals Mark Twain’s “Rules for Funeral Etiquette” come to mind. I especially like:
    Do not criticize the person in whose honor the entertainment is given.
    And,
    Do not bring your dog.

    If he were alive today he would have to add a ton of crap about texting, body-piercing and don’t bring your own music (iPods).

    Thank you for all the great tips about what to write for the obit. Since I will be cremated I don’t have to be concerned about much of the other crap that makes dying so hard on those left behind.

    • 2:10 am

      Many thanks Hal,

      Nice to see you. I appreciate your stopping in. I can only imagine what Mr. Twain would make of today’s generation. There certainly would be no shortage of material for him. And it’s funny, you almost wouldn’t notice if some criticized the guest of honor or brought a dog to a funeral today. Seems like just about anything goes.

      Thanks again for visiting, Hal.

      All the best,

      Don

  25. 2:21 am

    Where exactly will you be keeping this obituary? Considering your brother York could go before you, who would know where to find it? Also, would it be appropriate to wear polka dots to the funeral? Black and white, that is. Just wondering.

    • 4:36 pm

      Thank you Yorksnbeans,

      I expect I’ll keep a few copies of it kicking around in order to make sure that my final wishes are carried out. I’ll likely attach a copy to each of my many wills, pop one in my wallet and also put one up on the fridge. That should cover all the bases for me.

      As for wearing polka dots to the funeral, I suppose that would depend on how tastefully it was done. A polka dot tube top and matching mini-skirt…I’d say no. A sensible polka dot frock with a nice hat….I could live with that (even though I’d be dead) provided the dots were no more than .275 inches in diameter.

      All the best and thanks for visiting,

      Don

      • 8:08 pm

        I’m impressed with your taste and knowledge in fashion. And, that you call it a ‘frock’.. you rock for such an older man…
        And, thanks for calling me ‘young’ by the way!!

      • 7:26 am

        Actually I don’t think polka dots would be appropriate for a man of Don’s standing. In fact nothing but the deepest mourning clothes will do. That’s crepe all the way, a veil that comes down to your knees and black armbands and swords for the gentlemen. Don’t forget to dress your servants in black for two years as well or you’ll be ostracised at Blogosphere Court

  26. lookingforsomethingtofind permalink
    5:36 am

    If your obituary is half as good as your posts, it will be a better read than mosts things in the papers now. I hope that won’t be for a good while though, who will straighten the kids out then, when the Colonel has passed.

    • 4:36 pm

      Many thanks lookingforsomethingtofind.

      That’s very kind of you and I appreciate it a good deal. Hopefully there is still a lot of life in the old man and I’ll be able to keep an eye on those damned young people for some time to come,

      All best and thanks again.

      Don

  27. 4:58 pm

    Summarizing one’s life in 150 words, that’s the bit I am looking for advice on Don.

    • 5:05 pm

      Thanks Dave,

      Hopefully, coming soon. It’s a tricky one – no doubt about it.

      All the best,

      Don

  28. 10:26 pm

    Mr. Mills—My husband has emphatically told me he wants no damned memorial service and his ashes should be mulched around the roses. Either that, or I have his permission to drag his body out into the pasture so the buzzards can have a field day. My 90 year-old mother hates it here in Texas so much that she can’t stand the idea of spending eternity in a predominantly Republican state, so she wants her ashes shipped back to California where she lived for most of her life. Do you think I should use FedEx or UPS?

    • 1:38 pm

      Thank you very much texastrailerparktrash,

      Mulching your ashes in among the rose bushes is a damned fine idea and if my Aggie were here to enjoy the blooms after I was gone that would be my wish too. (There’s a damned clumsy sentence for you). As she isn’t, I’ve decided to have my ashes stuffed into a cannon and fired at a local highschool.

      As for your mother’s ashes, I’d go FedEx. That damned UPS screws everything up.

      All the best,

      Don

  29. 11:13 pm

    You should make your obituary multiple-choice, Don. It brings some much needed excitement to the average death announcement and may bring something more than faux interest to those reading it.

    Don Mills passed away Monday morning, at the age of:
    a.) 83
    b.) 93
    c.) nearest prime number to 100
    d.) did not die, you bloodthirsty vultures.

    His surviving relatives include:
    a.) KITT, the talking car
    b.) no one, he took them all with him
    c.) Shiva, god of destruction
    d.) I have no relatives, you ungrateful asshats.

    Don enriched many people’s lives through his work with:
    a.) the Sybionese Liberation Army
    b.) the New Jersey “sanitation” industry
    c.) his Too Big To Fail combination fat camp/summer school
    d.) the Wu-Tang Clan (which by the way, ain’t nothin’ to f*** wit’)

    The reading of his will will take place at:
    a.) the law offices of Osterberg, Witz and Zimmerman, located in the historic CBGB’s
    b.) the Summer Solstice Fest, in disagreement with everything he stood for
    c.) the Apollo Theatre, read by occasional black man and close personal friend, Mr. Tanner Leah
    d.) the storage vault of the Food Here Convenience Store (survivors are asked to ignore visible evidence of a struggle/kidnapping)

    Don – I’m sure you’ll have a hell of an obituary. Just don’t put down “blogger” as an occupation. It makes people roll their eyes and say rude things. Try “respected internet anecdotalist and avid rye drinker” instead.

    • 11:15 pm

      “will will?”

      I argue that it makes sense in a perfectly redundant way.

    • Lily Fossil permalink
      2:34 am

      Dear CLT,

      I agree that “R.I.P Colonel Donald Angus Mills, Blogger” doesn’t sound too impressive. “Blogger” sounds a bit like someone you would call to pump out the septic tank.

      Lily

    • 1:46 pm

      Many thanks CLT,

      A multiple choice obituary is stupendous idea. And practical as Hell too. I wouldn’t let anyone in to the memorial service or get a slice of the will-pie unless they were able to correctly answer all questions first. Of course, there are no right answers, but that just adds to the damned tension.

      Brilliant comment, CLT. You made my day.

      All the best,

      Don

  30. Clifton L. Tanager permalink
    11:41 pm

    Don –

    I see you’ve arrived at a topic near and dear to the faulty hearts of people of a certain age. (Meaning, of course, older than me and slightly older than you.)

    I often read the obituaries, mainly to take some small satisfaction of counting up the people I’ve outlived, many of whom have irritated me over the years.

    I remember eulogizing a fallen commanding officer during a cold Korean winter. Lieutenant Barry North had led many of our inspired charges during the preceding three years, often into the local opium den or basement Russian Roulette game.

    While he had managed to avoid injury in battle, mainly by claiming to be needed at the rear, Lt. North was unable to avoid the final blow, which came courtesy of a multiple rickshaw collision.

    The streets were icy that night and our drivers had not taken the precaution to swith to a mud/snow-rated flip-flop. As we neared a major uncontrolled intersection, Lt. North promised his driver $5 American if he could get him to The Spinning Cylinder in time to catch the preliminary rounds. (That was a joke he never got tired of.)

    When we laid him to rest, after our 2-week leave was up, each of us had a chance to recall our memories of fearless Barry North, as well as explain to our superiors why we hadn’t reported back right after his death.

    Cpl. Collins was first up and he took the lead by recalling one of our randier R&R expeditions. There was much laughter and the occasional well-deserved blush. As he drew to a close, several MPs applauded fiercly before rounding up a majority of us for court-martialing with Collins eulogy being used as testimony against us.

    The few that remained tempered their tales, using pseudonyms and pidgin-English slang to protect our collective asses.

    When my turn came, I realized that all the good stories had been used. I decided to use my alotted 2 minutes and 45 seconds to recall our first meeting during boot camp, where North greeted me and the rest of the recruits with a drunken “Hello, bullet-catchers!” before tumbling down a flight of stairs and breaking his collarbone. This was the first of 14 self-inflicted Purple Hearts, making him the most-highly decorated member of our platoon.

    I forget the point that I was making, Don. I think it was: only the truly stupid die young. The slightly-less stupid seem to stick around forever. Try to outlast them all, Don. Thanks for the great read.

    C.L. Tanager

    • 5:34 pm

      Many thanks Clifton,

      Always a pleasure to here a ripping yarn from the front lines of the Korean conflict. Your Lieutenant Barry North was fortunate to be keeping the company of men who really knew how to eulogize. I suspect it is a lost art, or at least one well on its way out the door. I’m sure it won’t be long before most eulogies are delivered via Twitter.

      I do hope you’ll outlast them too Clifton. America needs you.

      All the best.

      Don

  31. Cecilia permalink
    12:13 pm

    Nice writing,
    although personally I’d rather go silent in my death. I prefer that most people didn’t know I was gone. Maybe, if I reach my seventies, I’ll do the same thing Lao Tse did: pack a few things and disappear in the mountais. It’s an old person’s right wanting not to be bothered, isn’t it? The best present that could be given at the end of someone’s life… not being pissed off by the younger ones. Or by anyone at all.

    Um abraço.

    • The Celtic Queen permalink
      1:27 pm

      Sadly in Australian that happens too.Old people head off to a certain mountain and stat at the Chalet there. Some are terminal and want to get away by themselves. They go out into the cold night air and get hypothermia and die.
      Sad way to end it all though.

    • 5:35 pm

      Many thanks Cecilia,

      A sound approach to making a graceful exit. And, as you state, rather peaceful I would expect.

      The other positive, of course, is that people will never be entirely sure if you’re actually gone for good. They’ll constantly be looking over their shoulders wondering if it was you they saw at the market, the movie theatre, the library.

      That should keep them on their toes.

      All the best and thanks for visiting

      Uma vida longa e feliz

      Best regards,

      Don

  32. 2:27 pm

    I wrote my obituary a few years ago.
    “Ahmnodt Heare died in a valiant effort to save America from the CineMafia. The two-timing candidate for President (2008 and 2012) always had the thoughts of others in mind (especially Vanna White.)”

    I have also left instructions for my daughter on how to sell my remains, including having set up an eBay account. The remains (everything I have except for the “Hello Kitty” doll I will be buried with) are all listed on a piece of paper with the price she should get for them.

    • 1:49 pm

      Many thanks Ahmnodt,

      Nicely done. Short and to the point.

      I was momentarily confused when you said that you had left instructions for your daughter on how to sell your remains. For a moment, I thought you were proposing to sell your organs over the internet. Not that I object, mind you. I’m always in the market for replacement body parts.

      All the best,

      Don

  33. Micky-T permalink
    2:30 pm

    Hello Mr. Mills,

    I’ve been putting off writing any comment on this subject because when I visit, I am brutally reminded of an elderly neighbor I had on a country road in NH quite a few years back. Hervey was a wonderful man and the best of a neighbor a single young first time homeowner could ever have. When his wife died in a quite natural way, Herve became a crumbling shell of a man who mentioned his children much more often now and how he’d hoped they would do well. A couple of months later, Herve went to be with his wife. A month or so later, I saw cars from a state that I knew was where his children lived. I was planning on visiting them in the morning to meet them but as I stepped out my door, I noticed a hundred yards away at the end of his driveway, was a mountain of trashbags piled waiting for the trash pickup and the cars were gone. They had thrown their parents life in the trash. I know, because I took those bags home and went through all the pictures, canceled bank acconts, paperwork, whole closets of clothing, shaving kits, shoes, dresses, everything. Absolutlely everything except the furniture. It was so sad. I kept what was of use to me, brought the clothes to Goodwill and threw out the rest.
    Sorry to have to share this story, but I felt I had to let it out because it’s been bottled up for so long.
    So you see Mr. Mills, like you say, it’s a very good idea to write your own exit speech.

    • 1:50 pm

      Thank for you sharing, Micky-T.

      That’s a damned sad story but one I’ve heard before (and unfortunately witnessed myself). That’s why it’s best to dispose of as many possessions as possible yourself and to leave strict instructions on how the balance are to be managed. It’s no guarantee, of course, but it’s better than leaving the decision making the to descending vultures.

      Best regards,

      Don

    • 7:06 pm

      Micky-T.

      That is a very sad tale, I trust that you kept a momento or two to remember a good couple by?

      • Micky-T permalink
        3:18 pm

        Dave,

        Yes I did, but there were no photos of them. I used his leather toiletry bag for years while traveling and I cut down one of his belts. I’m not much of a keeper of things although I still to this day have the set of plans for his house. I remember him telling me, it takes buying 4 or 5 houses before you get an idea of what you really want in a house. This was his, dream house. A beautiful Cape with a breezeway to an attached double garage. It’s almost time for me to build that house.

  34. 8:55 pm

    Brilliant tips.
    It can be hard writing it because no one wants to die. We all want to live till eternity. I don’t think I could write mine.

    My friends and family can do that and use one of my photos.

    • 1:50 pm

      Many thanks Corve,

      You may change your tune slightly as you get older, lad. A man’s perspective tends to shift as he gets into middle age and beyond.

      All the best,

      Don

  35. 9:32 pm

    Mr Mills

    Why do I think that your obit is going to say something about how you hope the god damn young twenty something writing your obit is not a pot smoking feckless lazy retard idiot who regularly jacks off to old yanni records..anyways i hope you are with us for many more years or at least until newspapers are rendered obsolete and your obit is written by an out work skywriter…zman sends

    • 1:52 pm

      Thanks Zman,

      You one of those damned psychics? It’s almost word for word…

      Good to hear from you and thanks for the excellent suggestion. Using a skywriter had never occurred to me and I have to say I think it’s a damned brilliant (if showy) idea.

      I think that a plane flying over Pleasantville writing out ‘Don Mills, R.I.P.” is a wonderful way to announce my passing. Sure, it’s only temporary but what the Hell isn’t these days?

      You wouldn’t happen to know anyone in that line of work would you?

      All the best,

      Don

      • 7:05 pm

        Don

        I am sure Ms Fossil would be happy to take flying lessons to get the job done..she seems like she might be sweet on you and would go the extra mile..zman sends

        • Lily Fossil permalink
          10:42 pm

          Dear Zman,

          I thought we had been through this before. Let me assure you I have no designs on Mr Mills, nor am I “sweet” on him.
          As much as I truly admire and respect him, I also respect his wishes to stay faithful to his dearly, if not departed, Aggie.
          I could never compete with her, nor would I want to.

          Lily

  36. 4:02 am

    I’ll put a photo of me as an infant – 1. Generate instant sorrow and sympathy 2. Life’s accomplishments won’t seem so skimpy. 3. When they get to the age part they will think it is a misprint.

    • 1:52 pm

      Many thanks wrjones,

      Another excellent strategy. Well done. And the other possibility is that they won’t think that the age is a misprint – just that you managed to maintain a remarkably youthful appearance.

      All the best,

      Don

  37. 1:26 am

    “I want it to say that I died after a protracted battle against the stupidity of others.”

    This is exactly what my father would have wanted his tombstone to say, if he had one. You and he would have been great friends!

    • 4:14 pm

      Many thanks Pamela,

      It sounds like your father was a fine man. Many thanks for visiting. It’s always nice to have you stop in.

      Best regards,

      Don

  38. momromp permalink
    5:03 pm

    Brilliant idea to use a corpse shot in the obituary. That would certainly catch everyone’s attention. My parents have reached the age where they read the daily obituaries and I know they would be intrigued by the corpse photos. (My father also has this rather macabre habit of crossing off the names of his deceased high school classmates in his yearbook; he does this after reading the latest alumnae newsletter. He tells me he wants to be the last living person from Ignatius’ class of 1960. I guess that’s as good a goal as any.)

    • 4:18 pm

      Thank you kindly momromp,

      I think it’s a damned fine goal and one I share (although it’s still unclear why I want to outlast all of the graduates of the Ignatius class of 1960).

      Please pass my best regards on to your old Dad. He sounds like a good man with a fine sense of humor.

      All the best,

      Don

  39. 10:39 pm

    Well, Donald, as usual you have written a brilliant and amusing post. No one really knows when they are going to die, so “What to do if I am dead” as a document isn’t a bad idea no matter what your age. After all, if you’re a young person you should let someone know what to do with your collection of bongs and comic books.

    I think you are a big spoil sport. It really irks me that almost no one ever puts the cause of death in their obituary. I mean,when someone dies around here and they are only 35, I want to know whether they had a heart attack because of their meth addiction or because they ate at Hardee’s every day. Was it a long brave struggle with cancer or just an idiot who drove off the road while drunk and texting a drunk? As it stands, we have no clue and you are not helping things by telling people not to mention what you died of.

    As ever your friend, Healingmagichands

    • 4:29 pm

      Many thanks healingmagichands,

      You make a good point about full disclosure but I suppose I’m just being careful because if it’s good enough for the 35-year old meth addict it would also have to be good enough for me. I’m a private man and frankly, I don’t particularly want my obituary to say I died in my pyjamas while trying to fish my teeth out from under the bed.

      Besides, in my experience, the supposition is always more entertaining than the reality.

      Always lovely to hear from you, I hope you’re keeping well.

      Best regards,

      Don

  40. The Celtic Queen permalink
    5:27 am

    Well Don I had to visit the cemetery yesterday as my brother in law is here on holiday and wanted me to take him to visit his mother’s grave. I decided to leave him by himself as he’s quite a religious fellow and needed a little time at the grave side. Whilst I was there I had a look around the graves of the other forgotten souls who are buried in the surrounding area and I came across a couple of odd plaques. One grave was that of a husband and wife buried together showing the husband’s photo of him being clearly in his eighties and the photo of his wife who was only two years younger according to the inscription, showing an obviously younger and quite vivacious young woman. I wonder if that was her idea.

    The other grave was a Maltese fellow and his middle name was Mary. The photo on the grave clearly showing a photo of a male but he had a female middle name. How odd is that? I don’t want to give the whole name as the family may Google it one day and up pops Don Mill’s blog and we can’t have any of that. Maybe it’s a custom they have that I’ve never heard of.
    Have you ever come across this before?

    • 9:24 am

      Mary, Marion, and Marie have all been used as male names. Think of John Wayne, for example. If you check the US statistics on names you’ll find 1129 males have the first name Mary in the US.

      • The Celtic Queen permalink
        1:23 pm

        Thanks for that. I know in Polish it happens but that’s because we know the name Marian to be a girls name but in Polish it’s a males name. I’d never come across it before. I’ll go Google some and see what else I can find.
        It just seemed strange seeing ‘John Mary Falzon ‘ ( not real name) but set out that way. We do live and learn.

  41. 11:36 am

    I’m going to get right on this – excellent idea, Don. Having just been given the “all clear” for another three months, it feels fitting to get something written while I’m still feeling healthy and have my wits (and wit) about me. Then I shall tuck it away (after blogging it, of course) and hope I don’t have to use it for a very very long time. Kind of like how taking your umbrella with you often stops it from raining … or something like that.

    Love the multiple choice idea too!

    your loyal reader and (very) occasional commenter,
    az

    • 4:35 pm

      Thank you very much azahar,

      I’m truly delighted to hear about the “all clear.” That’s wonderful news indeed.

      If you do turn your mind to writing, I would highly recommend the multiple choice option. I think that Capitalist Lion Tamer is really onto something with that particular idea.

      Thanks for visiting (and commenting). It’s always good to hear from you.

      Sincere regards,

      Don

  42. Susi Spice permalink
    2:42 pm

    on Mr Mills! i have been missing out on you!! how silly am i!>?? but not anymore😀 now ull never get rid of me!

    this was an awesome post. loved it haha

    I think I would probably not have the family begat section either… BUT i would, however, love to leave a section where I tell everyone whom I hated, was annoyed by and who pissed me off exactly what i thought of them. Mind you i would probably have already said it to their face, but i think id die happy knowing that in a range of newspapers all over the country, the names and photo s of those people would appear with words such as, “u were always a bitch drama queen who tried to undermine your brother inlaw and kick him out of his own house because you wanted to own it. Now he knows. enjoy”
    haha
    ill shall be back for the next part!

    • 4:40 pm

      Thank you kindly Susie Spice and welcome,

      I appreciate the kind words. Don’t forget to include your lists of grievances, slights and petty vendettas in your will as well. An obituary needs to be short and pithy, but a will allows you plenty of room to state your beefs. It doesn’t have as wide an audience, but it’s still a fine vehicle for revenge, gas-lighting and general mischief-making.

      Nice of you to visit, I look forward to hearing from you again.

      All the best,

      Don

  43. 5:31 pm

    This is great and very fresh humor, ironic given the subject matter I suppose. I hope to be as disgruntled/bitter but articulate as you in a few years, I find it harder to get away with as a twenty-something.

    I particularly liked the sentiment that relatives will be too ‘preoccupied with the contents of your will to focus on writing you the fitting tribute you deserve.’ Great writing Don.

    Alex.

    • 12:07 am

      Many thanks Alex,

      I appreciate your stopping in. And don’t worry, given the state of the damned world today, I’m sure you’ll be very disrguntled in no time at all.

      Best regards,

      Don

  44. Sherri permalink
    5:20 pm

    Love this Mr. Mills!

    • 12:08 am

      Nice to see you Sherri,

      I hope you’re keeping well and staying out of trouble.

      All the best,

      Don

Trackbacks

  1. Obituary Writing 101 « Evilry
  2. last words, again « sarah apple

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s