Susan Soper's Blog (66)

Dealing With Death Can Prove So Innovative

Just when we think we’ve seen or heard it all about death these days, there is more to learn, to love and to laugh at about the way people are impacted and/or reacting to life’s final moments. Funerals are lightening up, obituaries are good…

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Added by Susan Soper on October 16, 2014 at 2:34pm — No Comments

Dressing for Your Own Funeral

The fashion shows recently rolled out in New York, London and Milan reminded me of a fashion show of an entirely different sort I attended last year in Montana. It was during a week of seminars and workshops on aging issues, and I was invited to present ObitKit: A Guide…

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Added by Susan Soper on October 10, 2014 at 9:49am — 3 Comments

Wow! That's in an Obituary Notice?!

Most people know what basic information to include in a good obituary: birth and death dates, cause of death, education, career, passions and hobbies, personality traits, unusual skills or interests.

But there is so much more to a person’s full life that will make people remember reading about them. Those are the gems that are unpredictable, quirky, astonishing – the things you might have liked talking about to…

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Added by Susan Soper on September 5, 2014 at 2:21pm — No Comments

Obituaries, Reunions and Alumni Magazines

As parents are sending their students off to school these days, many might also be preparing for their own high school and college reunions this fall. They are happy times to reunite, remember, celebrate old friendships and forge new ones.

On a more…

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Added by Susan Soper on September 3, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Classes About Death Lend Meaning to Life

In yet another example of how death is creeping more and more into our collective conversations – openly, candidly and practically – a number of college level courses are being offered on the topic. And not just for future morticians! Philosophical, forward thinking and cathartic, even, here…

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Added by Susan Soper on July 30, 2014 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

When a Former Spouse Dies

I recently received an email from a friend with a link to an obituary. As an obit writer with a deep-but- not-dark interest in both people – dead and alive – and death (until it happens to me), I get these emails all the time. Many of them I’ve written about on a variety of legacy.com pages.

This one however, was unique to me: It was about a former husband of mine who had just died in Houston.…

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Added by Susan Soper on July 15, 2014 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

Dads' Words of Wisdom Never Die

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about or even quote some of my dad’s best advice:

  • If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours: A sure-fire way to engage with loved ones or…
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Added by Susan Soper on June 13, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Stories on the Gravesites

The media coverage of Memorial Day was, as always, filled with poignant images of loved ones and friends visiting grave sites of veterans who gave their lives for our country. It is always moving to see them salute, place flowers, tidy the sites, pray, smooth…

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Added by Susan Soper on June 4, 2014 at 11:30am — No Comments

Travel Histories Often Shared in Obituaries

The end of school, graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, June wedding honeymoons and family vacations all signal the beginning of our traditional summer travel season. There is fun in the planning and prep as well as the journey and the final…

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Added by Susan Soper on May 19, 2014 at 10:28am — No Comments

Hats off to Mickey Easterling for Her Flamboyant Funeral

Clothes are often mentioned in obituaries – as in “clothes horse,” “favorite dress,” “designed and sewed beautifully,” “fashion driven,” etc. – but rarely does the word “hat” appear in the very first sentence.

The Nola.com/The Times-Picayune obit…

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Added by Susan Soper on May 2, 2014 at 1:30pm — No Comments

A Lively Book About Death

A variation of the question Kate Sweeney most often gets goes something like this: “What’s a nice girl like you doing writing a book about death?”

Sweeney, a young Atlanta author and public radio producer, has just come out with a book…

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Added by Susan Soper on April 25, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Selfies on the Obituary Page

A couple of recent obituaries have received widespread notice online and in the media. One, for an actor, was so low-key it was almost unrecognizable; the other was so quirky its subject was unmistakable.

What they shared in common was they were both first-person obits.

That’s not so unusual these days as people are taking charge of their end-of-life activities…

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Added by Susan Soper on April 1, 2014 at 1:14pm — No Comments

Be My Valentine: Love and Romance in Obituaries

Among the survivors, obituaries usually mention the spouse, whether the “devoted wife,” “adoring husband,” “the loyal husband” or the “love of his/her life.” Occasionally, though, careful obituary readers will find poignant “valentines” or little love stories almost buried in the…

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Added by Susan Soper on February 11, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments

Obituaries 2.0: Today's Death Notices Sometimes Take Nontraditional Approaches

The new year brings a clean slate and with that comes a new outlook on how to fill that slate. As with everything in our fast-moving, quick-change world, anything related to death, dying, obituaries and grieving is up for updates, nontraditional approaches and ways…

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Added by Susan Soper on January 31, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Writing an Obituary With Help From Ralph Waldo Emerson

Each New Year many of us start thinking about resolutions: Lose weight and gain insight, spend less and save more, clean closets or drawers (I did that last year, well more than 100 of them – they add up!), work less – or maybe more, exercise your body or your rights.

Increasingly joining that list is the resolve to write down – or at least talk about – end-of-life wishes and to leave directives for friends…

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Added by Susan Soper on January 3, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Expressions of Gratitude in Obituaries

Over the past year, there have been an inordinate number of people on my radar – neither family nor very close friends, but certainly in my life – who will not be at their Thanksgiving tables this year. I suspect that’s true of many others. The empty chairs serve as reminders of the beloved souls – young, old, healthy,…

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Added by Susan Soper on November 28, 2013 at 9:00am — No Comments

Obituary Photos: Young or Old, They All Have Value

As an avid obituary writer and reader, it always surprises me when I miss someone in the local paper I knew but never saw the obit. Two that stunned me when I finally heard the news were easy to miss: no photo!

 

One friend was a kinesiology expert I had consulted for years, so I was shocked…

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Added by Susan Soper on November 8, 2013 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Death Notices Find Long Life Online

People have come up with all kinds of ways to attain their 15 minutes of fame. But many who have a spotlight on them these days don’t even know it. They’re the ones whose death notices, written by themselves or family members, are “going viral.”



According to the online Urban Dictionary, “… a link goes viral…

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Added by Susan Soper on October 11, 2013 at 2:36pm — No Comments

The Tweet Side of Death

It’s been a couple of weeks since NPR host Scott Simon sat at his mother’s death bed and tweeted her final journey from the ICU of a Chicago hospital to the great beyond. Yet there continues to be much discussion about the wisdom, respect, privacy, taste of those dozens of updates with his 1.3 million followers knowing her last and intimate life details – and Simon’s expressions of gratitude for her life, grief for her…

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Added by Susan Soper on August 12, 2013 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Featuring Fun in Obituaries

Over the past 15 years, I have been a dedicated reader of obituaries. I would say a voracious reader but that doesn’t sound quite right! During that time, I have watched them evolve in many interesting and unpredictable ways.

 

Oh, they still include the basics – born on, lived in, learned at, worked for and left behind – but there is much more to celebrate about lives these days: traveled to, cooked for, partied with, danced to, loved, collected and…

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Added by Susan Soper on July 30, 2013 at 1:00pm — No Comments

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