When we attend homegoing celebrations or memorial services it is common practice to be presented with a program, the basics of which include service information, the order of service, at least one picture, and an obituary. While some programs are more ornate and extensive than others, to most the obituary is both the most important and most interesting part.
You may have heard of the funeral poem entitled “The Dash.” It explains that when a person passes away their tombstone will show their life span with date of birth, a dash, and a date of death. While the dates are clear, the dash between the dates reveals nothing. The poem goes on to say that the dash represents how one has spent his or her life from beginning to end. It’s in the obituary that the dash details are told. You’ll read about the most meaningful moments to him or her during their formative years, in their family life, through their closest friendships, and regular fellowships.
In short, obituaries are an intimate look at the life of the person to whom you are bidding farewell. They revive memories, and can move and motivate family and friends.
Additionally, obituaries may be useful from a practical standpoint. They can be used as legal documents confirming origins and relations; helping you to build that family tree.