Traditionally, obituaries are concisely worded farewells. Your run-of-the-mill obituary includes a short list of the close friends and family members the deceased left behind, there are a few sentences summing up their general interests and hobbies, and it's signed off with some manner of releasing the dead to God, or the abyss, depending on religious status.
One of the reasons for this predictable formality is the word-by-word cost of obituaries, which places a monetary pressure to keep it short and sweet. But now, with the popularity of online obituaries and guest books, people have a lot more freedom to say good bye in style, the way a deceased loved one would really want to be remembered.
In a prime example of the internet era of farewells, a recent obituary for an Iowa man went viral for its refreshing and at times cutting honesty.