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biographies

Old Jun 21st 2020, 10:58 pm
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My wife and I began as Australian expats and ended up as British expats when the UK gave citizenship to all its colonials in 2003. She and I met in 1964 at a hostel in Greece, travelled together for eight months, married in Canada in '67, shifted around the world for the next 11 years, and lived in this Caribbean island for the next 42 years.

She died last August, having composed and typed her own obituary, which I reproduced in the program of her Memorial Service. I think it was an excellent idea, and am currently trying to write my own obit. It's heavy going, so I'm starting this thread as a discussion platform. What should I put in, or leave out?

What do you reckon? All advice gratefully received!

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Old Jun 22nd 2020, 4:39 pm
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Default Re: biographies

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
My wife and I began as Australian expats and ended up as British expats when the UK gave citizenship to all its colonials in 2003. She and I met in 1964 at a hostel in Greece, travelled together for eight months, married in Canada in '67, shifted around the world for the next 11 years, and lived in this Caribbean island for the next 42 years.

She died last August, having composed and typed her own obituary, which I reproduced in the program of her Memorial Service. I think it was an excellent idea, and am currently trying to write my own obit. It's heavy going, so I'm starting this thread as a discussion platform. What should I put in, or leave out?

What do you reckon? All advice gratefully received!
An obituary should be a word picture of who you are.
Try to weave the story of how you got from where you started to where you are, the key decisions and the happenstances that changed the course of life.
Think about the contribution you have made to others or to society in general.
Write the things that are important to you and those that were important to you.... because we change.

Then put it away for some time and then come back to it..... read it and see if you still think it sums up your life.

Repeat.
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Old Jun 23rd 2020, 12:17 am
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Default Re: biographies

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
My wife and I began as Australian expats and ended up as British expats when the UK gave citizenship to all its colonials in 2003. She and I met in 1964 at a hostel in Greece, travelled together for eight months, married in Canada in '67, shifted around the world for the next 11 years, and lived in this Caribbean island for the next 42 years.

She died last August, having composed and typed her own obituary, which I reproduced in the program of her Memorial Service. I think it was an excellent idea, and am currently trying to write my own obit. It's heavy going, so I'm starting this thread as a discussion platform. What should I put in, or leave out?

What do you reckon? All advice gratefully received!

My good friend did this for herself. The one memorable thing about it was the gentle humour she wove through it. Her opening line was light - 'It is better with two said Pooh' - which directly referenced her love for her husband.

I would agree that you draft it, write it , put it away and come back to it many times.

You need to find your little key to open the well from within Gordon. Once you find that it will simply flow from you . You know this I think as you write so well.

Not everything needs to be in a chronological order. It just needs to give the essence of who you are .
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Old Jun 23rd 2020, 2:31 am
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Originally Posted by BEVS View Post
FWIW. I feel your obit should be stand alone. A new piece as it were.
OK, thanks. I value your opinion. All the same... My wife's obit was about 1200 words, and I had to add another 300 of my own for basic stuff she'd missed out. 1500 words divided by 80, that's an average of 20 words per year of her life. That's where I'm having a problem, keeping it so short. "I have travelled to over 90 countries", is how she summed up her lifetime of travel; I'd want to do at least 20 words per country, on that topic alone!
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Old Jun 23rd 2020, 2:40 am
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You might want to check your "journal".... or the link to it, because it shows an error of "NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID" to me....

If you make any piece too long, you make it less likely to be read or listened to - less is more.
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Old Jun 23rd 2020, 2:54 am
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Default Re: biographies

Originally Posted by macliam View Post
You might want to check your "journal".... or the link to it, because it shows an error of "NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID" to me....

If you make any piece too long, you make it less likely to be read or listened to - less is more.
Thanks, Mac. Well, that takes care of that problem! I've changed my Profile to add an s to the http. It hasn't registered yet, so I guess it takes a couple of days for the change to be made. You're right about the "less is more", but at a funeral or memorial service, maybe not: people don't mind something to read, either there or when they get home.
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Old Jul 1st 2020, 10:50 pm
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Default Re: biographies

Originally Posted by macliam View Post
If you make any piece too long, you make it less likely to be read or listened to - less is more.
Yes, up to a point. I didn't release my wife's obit to the local newspapers or anything; it was printed only in the program for her Memorial Service, so the attendees would have all taken a copy home to read at leisure. You know how it is. So what I have to do first, I guess, is to ask my son what he's going to do with it (my obit). I'll get onto that this evening.

Thanks for your advice.
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Old Jul 2nd 2020, 12:21 am
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Default Re: biographies

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
Yes, up to a point. I didn't release my wife's obit to the local newspapers or anything; it was printed only in the program for her Memorial Service, so the attendees would have all taken a copy home to read at leisure. You know how it is. So what I have to do first, I guess, is to ask my son what he's going to do with it (my obit). I'll get onto that this evening.

Thanks for your advice.
My father was born in 1921, in Limerick, to an ex-WW1 soldier who went on to become a senior NCO in the Free State Army, in a unit that "chased" IRA flying columns and which seems to have no recorded history. His was the Limerick of "Angela's Ashes", which is why he seethed at the lies Frank McCourt told.... they even went to the same school (but McCourt was much younger) He lived through the early days of an independent Ireland, my grandfather worked at the huge Ardnacrusha hydro station which brought electricity to half of the country. He studied electrics and early electronics, did the PA at the first of the "Rose of Tralee" festivals with an equally young Michael O'Hehir and was then "forced" to emigrate into the world of "No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish" aged under 21. A few months later, he found himself digging out the victims of the Bath blitz (voluntarily) and working at the Air Stations around Bath and converting the Bath stone quarries into underground factories (Royal Enfield moved there). When I was born, he was away in South Shields, earning a fortune skeleton wiring the big dock cranes on the docks.... crawling out to the end of the jib of a "dead" crane, 130 feet in the air. I was brought up on stories of my Grandfather's actions and his own experiences. I don't know how many times we discussed documenting all his memories.....

And then he was gone - and I have to recall what I heard, knowing that things change in your memory.

Don't worry about the final use, just get your memories down.
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