Local author helps clients get the last word in

"I think a good obituary, you read it and that day is different for you because of something you read about that person” explains Robin.

LEELANAU COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) - Sitting around a Leelanau County kitchen table, Robin Carden is working to craft someone’s last words. With each click of a keystroke on her laptop, the legacy of someone starts to take shape. This is what Robin does. She a professional obituary writer, and founder of The Last Word Obituary Writing Service.

"I think a good obituary, you read it and that day is different for you because of something you read about that person” explains Robin. Not all obituaries do that. It doesn’t mean they are bad, it’s just not what everyone wants as their final expression of their legacy. Robin says, "An obituary often tell us what a person did, but it doesn't tell us who a person is, was, or what was important."

That is where Robin comes in. People reach out to her for help, often in writing their own obituary. She says some of her clients want to shape how they are remembered. Others simply view it as an act of kindness, taking care of getting an obituary ready so that their children don’t have to do it while grieving a death.

Robin’s sits down with her clients and the first question she asks each of them is for three or four words that would describe how they want to be remembered. Robin says, "so they might say successful, funny, faithful, kind, being a good mother, so I take from their choices of those words, sort of the essence of where we are going, then I have them tell me their story."

She listens to them and helps them express not only what they did in their life, but who they were. "I try to sort of figure out the essence of how they want to be remembered is, and then try to shape a narrative using an economy of words" explains Robin.

It takes a special person to help someone else write their own legacy. It's not an easy task, and it's a topic most of us don't want to think about. But Robin’s background makes her uniquely qualified to do so. "In 18 years of ministry I have become quite acquainted with death, dying, and grief. I see what families go through, so it's an extension of ministry to provide this service to people ahead of time" says Robin.

Here is the twist that many people don’t expect. If you think an obituary is something you write when you are done living, Robin would disagree. She says the time that people spend with her creating their last words and reflecting on their legacy can have a profound impact on the days and years they have before their last words ever get published. Robin says, "I don't think it’s a dreary sort of thing to do because I think when we think about we want to be remembered, we are more intentional about how we are living."

To learn more about Robin Carden and The Last Word Obituary Writing Service click here.

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