*Local obituary of an older woman records her involvement with the senior citizen's program along with names of her survivors only. Did this woman do nothing in her earlier years? Was the writer of her obit familiar with her latter years only?
Shouldn't obituaries, even with cost restraints regarding length, include something about the person's life? Was she a member of the Ruth Bible Class? Did her recipe for duck a la banana die with her? Was she a reader or knitter or great with little children?
*What's all this with "special friends"? If the deceased lived with Denise for 15 years, wouldn't "companion" be more exact? A recent local obit listed the young man's girlfriend as "Tiffany" with no surname. In years to come, will survivors wonder which Tiffany?
Obits are supposed to be a final historical record of the person's life. Where was she born? Where did she die? Who preceded her in death? Who were her people? What did she do? etc. etc. The local paper will not say how the person died. I respect the privacy of those who died while cleaning gutters standing on a paint can holding a live electrical wire and eating a Hot Pocket microwaved pepperoni "sandwich" at midnight in the rain but a tad of information may be helpful to survivors.
Write your own obituary and keep it updated (like served the Riverside Church as Pastor) so survivors will know what you want included.
Tom Long has a good audio lecture at the Calvin Institute of Worship about re-thinking Christian funerals. He mentioned some of these things at the Fest o' Homies this summer.