When Writing Your Obituary, Honesty Is The Best Policy…Honest-ish, Anyway

RIP Peg-o-Leg. No, really, that's me.

RIP Peg-o-Leg. No, really, that’s me.

I’m going to die.

Oh, don’t worry – it won’t be anytime soon, at least as far as I know.  But someday, for sure.  We’re all going to die.  It’s one of those inconvenient truths that most of us don’t want to face.

A wise person prepares for this eventuality. Some concentrate on getting straight with God.  Others spend quality time with their loved ones. Still others pick out their caskets and plan their funerals.

These are all worthy pursuits, but don’t neglect the most important thing, writing your obituary.

Your obituary is the most important essay of your life.  This summation of you is probably the only time your life story will be printed in the newspaper for the world to see.  (This assumes you never get a Nobel Prize or shoot off a machine gun from the bell tower of your alma mater.)

Such a vital task shouldn’t be left to chance.  When the sad day arrives, family members will be too grief-stricken to do a good job.  Even worse, this little chore might be left to an impersonal funeral director who didn’t even know you.  They’re sure to leave out all sorts of important things.

That is why I suggest you write your own obituary.  I have.  Here’s my latest draft:

Today, choruses of seraphim and cherubim sang as Heaven welcomed home beloved wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, sister-in-law, cousin, great aunt, second cousin, daughter-in-law, mentor, teacher, idol, practically a model, trusted agent and friend, Peg-o-Leg.

She was born in Michigan not too long ago, the true joy and absolute delight of her parents.  They also had some other kids.

Peg grew daily in beauty, wisdom and accomplishment through childhood.  In high school she was prom queen, homecoming queen, star of all the musicals, salutatorian, valedictorian, was voted Most Likely To Succeed and Most Popular while still being really nice to everybody, even the nerds.

Her hometown waved a fond yet regretful farewell when she left for Michigan State University.  During her Spartan career she was Campus Sweetheart all four years, not that she cared about such things.  Peg was a real Renaissance woman, garnering awards in the arts, sciences, and all other areas of study.  She had a keen thirst for knowledge the likes of which her professors had never seen before.  She graduated with a BA in business administration.

Though courted and feted on all sides, Peg gave her heart and hand to Bill in a ceremony that many likened to the Charles/Lady Di wedding, but with longer lasting results.  They were blessed with two daughters, Liz and Gwen, who were the most wonderful children to ever come down the birth canal.

In addition to her full-time duties as loving wife, mother and insurance agent, Peg found time to indulge in a few hobbies.  A greatly abbreviated  list of her accomplishments (really, REALLY, greatly abbreviated, a lot) includes:thanksgivingpeg

  • Sailed around the world on a 20-foot ship that she made in her craft room, living solely on food she caught herself or got from friendly natives in trade for handmade, recycled woolen handbags
  • Cured cancer (with a little help from a science nerd she was nice to in high school)
  • Her blog, Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings, was a permanent fixture on the WordPress front page, inspiring them to rename the honor previously known as “Freshly Pressed” to “Pegly Pressed.”  
  • bolshoi-balletpeg Sang The Flower Duet (both parts at once) so beautifully that, as critics said, “the angels wept”
  • Danced the lead in Swan Lake for the Bolshoi Ballet as honorary Prima Ballerina
  • Her first novel shot to the top of the New York Times Best-Seller List and remained there for 4 years, as did each of her 78 subsequent works.  The resultant comparisons with previous literary giants had many pundits saying, “Shakespeare…who?”
  • That same first novel was chosen Oprah’s Book Club’s Top Pick Of All Time, which led to her deep and lasting friendship with Oprah, who will deliver her eulogy.
  • Ran with the bulls at PamplonarunningofthebullspegShe started out behind the bulls, but quickly passed them.

Those who knew Peg said she didn’t look a day over 45 35, with her smooth,  wrinkle/stray hair/liver spot-free face and still va-va-voom, hot body, which was totally all natural and had nothing to do with cosmetic surgery, no matter what some spiteful, old cats might say.

Space limitations prevent us from listing the whole roster of grieving family members and friends who survive her.

Rest in peace, Peg-o-Leg, gone much too soon at the age of ______.


A recent photo of the dearly departed.

You’ll want to have a really good head shot ready to go along with the obituary.  Maybe go to one of those glamour photo places, but don’t get anything too slutty.  Remember this is for posterity.  Make sure your hairdo and glasses aren’t too trendy, or the photo may look dated in just a few years.  If you pop off at 90 and your picture shows a 17-year-old with a beehive hairdo and cat’s-eye glasses, people might suspect it wasn’t taken recently.

Don’t be tempted to substitute a celebrity photo for one of you.  No matter how much you thought you looked like Elizabeth Taylor when you were alive, people probably won’t believe that a picture of her as Maggie in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is you.

One more thing…I sense a little skepticism about the accomplishments listed in my obituary.  While it may be true that I haven’t actually done one or two of the items on that list yet, keep in mind that this won’t be published for many, MANY years to come.

I’m sure I’ll get around to doing all of that stuff before I kick the bucket.

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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105 Responses to When Writing Your Obituary, Honesty Is The Best Policy…Honest-ish, Anyway

  1. bigsheepcommunications says:

    I await your soon-to-be awe inspiring accomplishments and hope you’ll send me an autographed first edition copy of your upcoming best seller 😀


  2. Alas, poor Peg. We practically knew ye well.

    (Hilarious post and great new header picture — unless it’s not so new. I’m stuck in the real world and it won’t let me out.)


  3. mistyslaws says:

    Wow, what a cheery subject for such a love infused day.

    Then again, the origin of the day did involve beatings, stoning and beheading, so maybe it is entirely apropos afterall! 😉

    This is a great post, Peg. Truly deserving to be Pegly Pressed!


  4. Omigosh! Write mine! Write mine! I’m feeling particularly stressed, and it would be a comfort to know that matters are in capable hands. Please mention that, at one time, my boobs were incredibly perky.


  5. Val says:

    Very funny post, Peg. (Geddit? Post-Peg?) So, how long did you say you’ve got in which to achieve all the that?
    Mine would probably be “Wittered off this mortal coil.”


    • pegoleg says:

      Is wittering anything like shuffling? I figure I’ve got another good 30 years or so. I’m putting off the ballet stuff for 20 or so – just to give me time to take a few lessons.


  6. Love it! I need to get to work on mine. 🙂


  7. Go Jules Go says:

    First of all, love your header. That alone deserves to be Pegly Pressed. Also thanks for being so nice to me in high school. It’s really cool that we could get together again and cure cancer.

    I just realized I’m talking to a dead person.


  8. Margie says:

    Long term objectives, goal setting and obit all in one document. I can see why Oprah would be impressed!


  9. joehoover says:

    This is a great one! And they should rename it Pegly Pressed anyway, I’ll sign the petition


  10. Do you mind if I ‘borrow’ a few of your accomplishments?
    To feel a bit better about my previous go-around (after they’ve developed the technology to thaw me out from my cryogenic stasis)?! No seriously… I know a guy… he’s gonna’ put me right next to the frozen peas.


  11. Al says:

    Or, if you can only afford a small tombstone try this:

    Here lies Peg so wise.
    She came, she saw
    She hyperbolized!


  12. Very proud to have known…I mean to know you, Pegs…I mean Liz…I mean…What the heck do I mean? Death is a very confusing time, especially for those who are still alive (even the person who supposedly died). Sigh. RIP even if it’s only a nap.


  13. *giggles* Delightful romp
    Want to know exactly which boat kit you got and which aisle it’s on in Hobby Lobby. (If I hurry that would make the perfect valentine gift!)


  14. Elyse says:

    This idea is contest-worthy, Peg. Hilarious!


  15. This really isn’t a time for modesty. Come on now, SELL yourself.


  16. Libertarian, Freedom-Loving-Woman says:

    Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard I almost cried!! And at work, no less!! This may be your best work yet (and you can include my high praise in your obituary). Thanks for making my Valentine’s Day oh-so-lovely!! 🙂 The Libster


  17. Dana says:

    New goal in life: to be Pegly Pressed. Ending world hunger can wait!


  18. I’d be honored to have such an accomplished person write my obituary. In fact, I’d hire you to write mine for me. It doesn’t matter that we’ve never met and that you know nothing about me. I completely trust you will write a stellar and accurate recounting of my life and accomplishments. Also, I’m fairly certain that if you haven’t already written 78 best selling novels, it will happen very soon.


  19. Tar-Buns says:

    “They also had some other kids.” HA!!!! I almost spewed on the monitor at that one.
    Lovely post, great list of accomplishments – those already achieved, and those to come.
    If I ever write another post, I, too, would LOVE to be Peggly-Pressed. 🙂


  20. It always kind of cracks me up wqhen I see a beautiful 17 year old in the obit photo and then read that the person who passed was 92. Yes, I look at the obits – I have my reasons….now i’ll look a little closer.


  21. Oh my. Oh MY. Peg, you’ve outdone yourself here. This post was masterful! I am sitting here, giggling like crazy. I had to read it twice. It was so good I even banged out this comment with my arthritic hands on my iPad with the tiny keyboard.. See? this is how much I love this post. This should be FP.

    But I only have one question: we’re all gonna die? since when? Why was I not informed of this?


    • Oh! And the new banner! Holy hell. It is brilliant. I’m still laughing at it. Can you make one up for me?


    • pegoleg says:

      And I love YOU so much I’m banging this out on my tiny Thinkpad keyboard where I have to have my hands basically squished together at a 90 degree angle at the wrists. I know these little things are cooool, but give me the old, full -size, comfy dinosaur ANY day.
      Do you like the banner? I wasn’t sure, but I happened to be casually strolling through the recommended humor blogs page, no biggie, and saw my blog and said “Oh, I forgot I was here…on the WordPress Recommended Humor Blog Page! What a surprise! But since I am here, let me see how the old blog looks. Hmmmm, very serene, cerebral, lovely header picture…doesn’t exactly scream funny, though. Doesn’t even whisper it.” So I changed it.
      Hope your arthritic claws and sore back are getting better, Darliggle Giggle.


  22. dorannrule says:

    The best obit I have ever read! I shall try to match it…. especially the part about “her smooth, wrinkle/stray hair/liver spot-free face and still va-va-voom, hot body, which was totally all natural and had nothing to do with cosmetic surgery, no matter what some spiteful, old cats might say.” I may plagiarize that.


  23. List of X says:

    “Today, choruses of seraphim and cherubim sang as Heaven welcomed home beloved wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, sister-in-law, cousin, great aunt, second cousin, daughter-in-law, mentor, teacher, idol, practically a model, trusted agent and friend, Peg-o-Leg.”
    This paragraph is missing “…grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great grandmother, etc.”


  24. Sandy Sue says:

    “Peg grew daily in beauty, wisdom and accomplishment.” Methinks the pennings of Miss Jane Austen hath influenced our friend who visions wandering the Elysian Fields.


  25. Well honestly, I would expect you would be on the front page; above the fold. You will have more than enough room. Carry on. I will need a copy of the best seller for my library, so I can say I knew you when…I can be a mourner at the funeral, one of those that throw themselves on the casket and wail. Then give interviews.


  26. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    I think my obit will just be a link to my blog.


  27. winsomebella says:

    I see a pegly-pressed in this post’s future :-). Well-done!


  28. Mary K. says:

    I laughed till I died! Thank you for writing your obit-it will give me something to read for you at your funeral! I christen you honorary grandma to Sydney and any other grandkids we have.


  29. Lenore Diane says:

    The header is hilarious, as is your obituary. Oh, I do hope I am invited. We will have so much fun. (While being sad, of course.) I snorted when I read, “…the true joy and absolute delight of her parents. They also had some other kids.” Being in large family, I get it. For the record, my Mom and Dad like me the best.


  30. pattisj says:

    Wow, you did a fantastic job, you should add “professional obituary writer” to your repertoire. Can I get you to do mine, before fame hits and your prices increase?


  31. Great obit! I couldn’t bring myself to “Like” this post though. I hope you never die!


  32. lnedelescu says:

    Peg, are you kidding me? Is this the stuff that gets pressed? Have we all lost it?


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