Publisher’s Note: Obituaries in The Gabber Newspaper, and why you should write yours now.
Lately, we’ve had some deaths in our family: Three parents in as many months. It’s gotten to the point where friends admit they hesitate to ask “What’s new?” and I can’t blame them. None of our parents wanted an obituary at all, in any paper. We respected their wishes, but last week another death had me wondering: Would we have been the best people to write them if they had wanted them?
In a word: No.
Those of us who have lived here for a minute knew a wonderful woman, Margo Scannell. When one of her friends, Andrea, told me Margo had died, I felt a sense of loss, not so much for me — although I adored Margo — but for Gulfport. Our community lost a tireless volunteer and cheerleader. For many years, Margo had a hand in everything. Plus, she was smart and funny and sweet and fun and had a sly sense of humor.
And yet, her initial obituary contained little about her tremendous efforts to promote and support Gulfport. That’s a lot of life to leave out of someone’s epilogue. It’s not the fault of Margo’s family, who initially wrote the obituary; they wrote what they knew of Margo’s life. But that sparked a series of emails between Andrea and The Gabber Newspaper: Could we help fill in the Gulfport portion of Margo’s obituary, because it would be a shame not to commemorate that part of her life, too?
We put her in touch with people who worked with Margo at the Chamber, so Margo’s obituary includes more of what mattered to Margo, as well as what her family and friends want the world to remember. But Andrea’s words stuck with me:
“One thing I have learned from Margo’s passing is that everyone should write their own obit so that it includes all that the person thinks is important.”
Thinking about your death… that’s fun, isn’t it? But Andrea has a point. You know what matters to you more than anyone else. What do you want people to know about your life?
Write Your Own Obituary?
Andrea was 100% right. We should all write our own obituaries. So, in keeping with that, we’re offering anyone the chance to do just that: Pre-submit your obituary and we’ll hold it until it’s time. You can pay now, or instruct someone else to pay for it later — but either way, make sure they know you’ve made this arrangement. It’ll be easier on them, and you’ll get remembered exactly as you would like.
One last thing about obituaries…
Many people don’t realize obituaries can get expensive. The daily paper in the area charges $12/line, plus extra for a photo, plus extra to list the obituary at legacy.com (which doesn’t cost anything to do, by the way). I find this predatory and cruel, because they’re preying on people when they’re emotionally vulnerable.
We don’t intend to profit from death in our community. We charge only enough to cover our print costs; our rates don’t include staff time or profit.
It’s your story. Take time to tell it now.