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Pre-Written Obituaries and Celebrity Death

Posted by Douglas Twitchell on Jan 24, 2008
Celebrity death has been in the news quite a bit lately, with both Brad Renfro and Heath Ledger dying in the past week. Two very young actors. I think it's interesting that Associated Press and other news services have pre-written obituaries for a handful of very famous people.
They are mostly well known people who are either quite old or quite ill, and whose lifetime accomplishments are mostly behind them. If the obituary is pre-written, when they die, AP can just write one last paragraph with death details, and then post the whole thing online. Of course, it's not worth the hassle if they have to keep updating it, which is why they only have obituaries on file for a small handful of people.

I think it's interesting that Britney Spears has made that list. Britney is 26 years old. And AP, by pre-writing her obituary, is essentially saying: "All her newsworthy accomplishments are in the past, and we don't expect her to last much longer."

Now that's depressing! If I was her, I think this news would get me to start taking a second look at what my life is all about.

The book of Ecclesiastes says that it's better to go to a funeral than a party, because everyone ends up dead, and while you're still alive you ought to stop and think about it! (That's my paraphrase of Ecclesiastes 7:2)

I think it would behoove all of us to ask ourselves two very simple questions:

1. If someone was going to pre-write my obituary right now, what kinds of things would it say about me?

2. When, someday, my obituary is written for real, what do I hope it will say?

Perhaps asking these questions will help us better understand where we are in life, and where we ought to be.

Where to Go from Here...

Read more: Mortality
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