Losing a loved one is a tragedy. Unfortunately, it’s also a part of life that all of us must deal with at some stage. While we might not live forever, a well-written obituary ensures that the memories of our loved ones will.
Obituaries serve as a touching way of letting others know about their passing, expressing your pain and remembering the joy their presence brought. Moreover, remembering their legacy through an obituary can help you cope with the grief of losing somebody close to you.
Writing an obituary is different from writing an email or letter.
It’s a task that requires tact, grace, and dignity.
Not many of us ever have a need to write like this - it’s not unreasonable to struggle with the task, especially with a loss so fresh in your mind.
To help get started, start by looking at obituary examples for pointers.
This will give you an idea of what format or style is currently circulated and how you can personalise yours.
An obituary is more than just a statement or a “goodbye”.
It also serves as a celebration of the life they led as well as their family, achievements, and passions.
All of this begins by stating the facts.
Your announcement identifies all the crucial details about the deceased, and can be communicated in a number of different ways.
Some prefer euphemisms and poetic language, whereas others are more matter-of-fact.
Whichever approach you take will depend on what you feel comfortable with.
Write down basic information about the deceased such as:
Date of birth
Date of passing
Age at passing
Place of residence
Double check dates and places and make sure that spelling is correct. You can also add a bit of character with personal information such as:
Names of children and grandchildren
Hobbies and achievements of note
They say a funeral is for the living.
Similarly, so are obituaries.
A good obituary does more than inform. It memorialises and pays tribute to the deceased, their contributions, hobbies, and life.
Each life is unique. That’s what this part of the obituary is for - give a brief biography about your loved one’s life, including:
Major life events
Contributions and causes
Profession or trade
The lives they touched
Family and friends
Funny habits or quirks
Remember, it’s all about memorialising your loved ones.
There’s no rule saying what can and can’t be included - include whatever you and your fellow mourners feel is relevant or are comfortable with sharing.
It’s important to note that good obituaries don’t inundate the reader with trivial details.
Instead, well-written obituaries paint a picture of what the person was like to be around, and the impact they had on those around them.
Don’t be afraid to abridge, or use a habit or phrase they were fond of to sum up their personality.
Once all the details are complete, be sure to include any information about memorials, viewings, wakes, and other services.
You might like to consider adding the following:
Name of the funeral home and contact number
Place of service
Date and time of visitation
Any special program for the deceased
Officiant Name (if applicable)
Once you’ve listed all those information, you can start forming them into more meaningful sentences.
Decide if you want a concise or elaborate message. Once again, what’s considered appropriate to publicly share is really up to you and your fellow mourners.
For a more personalised obituary, add a special message at the bottom. This can include anecdotes, thank you notes, words of encouragement, and prayer.
This is another place where you can communicate the deceased’s unique personality.
Consider including poems, quotes and special thoughts to make your obituary truly reflect your dearly departed.
And if you’re planning a public service, this is the perfect spot to make special requests.
While this last section is optional, it can be a great way of fitting in anything that wouldn’t fit elsewhere or injecting a bit of the deceased’s unique personality.
Whether you are writing an obituary for and their role in the family. Whether they are a grandparent, parent, sibling or friend. Each hold a special part in our heart and you can use a similar format to write their obituary with a personal touch. Consider the following:
Write an Obituary for your Grandmother - Often the caring, nurturing soul who can often act us our second mother. Consider her role as a grandmother, mother, wife and friend.
Write an Obituary for your Grandfather - Grandad no doubt has many interesting life stories. Find out what they are to help make his obituary even more personal.