How to help your obituary writer

“Words of the Year” are a trending topic every January. Some designate a Word of the Year to guide or focus goals and intentions for the next 365 days. Many spend a great deal of time praying for that word from above to inspire or grow in faith. After years of participating (because you know I love words), I’m a little sad to say I don’t have a word for 2021.

Maybe it was because I wasn’t feeling creative after too many Christmas cookies. 

May God forgive me, but perhaps I wasn’t listening to any heavenly whispers.

Or maybe it was because life happened…. Or should I say death happened?

 It was surreal. I tried to dig my heels into the ground, to be present in this moment when we’d been socially and physically distant since last March, but the earth was too soft. It’s mud season in Kentucky, and my thoughts slipped away and wandered through the familiar hills during my grandmother’s funeral. How odd and how comforting it was to hear a voice from my childhood, the man who baptized me so long ago. I held my little boy and tried to keep us both warm as Reverend Paul Badgett read the simple obituary.

I had been grief-stricken and hurried to write the public notice. 167 words remembering the life of the beautiful, brilliant lady. 167 words… almost exactly two words per year on earth for Nan.

I turned my ear to that trusted voice, the one that readily proclaims God’s goodness and faithfulness. The white casket in front of me and the small, smooth hand that held mine were reminders of sure change. People come and go. Few words are sure to define my life or announce my death someday, and I don’t want them to be anything flippantly chosen. 

My mind stopped roaming and found rest in the Lord. May the Word of God forever be on our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts. May our relationship with the Lord shape how we live and what they say when we’re gone. 

Yes, I miss my grandmother, but I trust this wasn’t the end of her story.

*Feature Photo by Paolo Chiabrando on Unsplash.



Author: Neena

Neena is a Kentucky wife, mother, and beekeeper. Her first novel, THE BIRD AND THE BEES, is a Christian contemporary romance available now. Visit her at