An obituary is a touching way to announce the death of a loved one and celebrate their life’s accomplishments. However, many family members find it difficult to write an obituary, especially if grief is creating writer’s block. Here are some tips that can help make the process smooth and ensure that your loved one’s memory is celebrated.
Set the Tone
There are many things to do when a loved one passes away and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Pre-planning the funeral details can help alleviate some of the stress associated with loss. Grief support resources can help family members understand and process emotions.
Before you sit down to write the obituary, take time to set the tone. Do your best to remove any distractions, light your favorite candle if you’d like, and spend some time in meditation or prayer before you begin. This can help create space for meaningful reflection rather than checking off an item on the to-do list. Typing the obituary helps prevent any mistakes during posting, but many people choose to write the first draft by hand.
Start With the Basics
An obituary typically starts by listing the basic information about the deceased, such as when they were born, the date they passed, and any other relevant biographical information (Where did they live? Where did they go to school? What was their career like?).
Include a list of surviving family members, as well as any notable predeceased family members. You don’t need to include the entire family tree, but these people should be listed by name:
- Their spouse/partner
- Any children or step-children—along with their spouse/partner’s names in brackets, if applicable
- Siblings, including half- and step-siblings
- Grandchildren and great-grandchildren
- Surviving in-laws, if relevant
If you’d like to highlight any additional family members, you can group them together by relationship—such as “five nieces, and two nephews.” People with very large families may choose to do this for grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well.
You may also want to include any notable information, such as the date of the service, a memorial donation fund, or anything else you’d like the public to know.
Add Some of Their Personality
Personality quirks are often what make your loved one who they are, so don’t be afraid to showcase that in their obituary. Make it personal by sharing their passions and hobbies. Don’t just focus on what they did in their life, talk about what their life was like, too. Be mindful of the length, however—many newspaper publications charge by the word. You may want to have a formal announcement for the paper and a more personal obituary for the funeral service.
Don’t Forget to Proofread
As with any important writing, don’t forget to proofread! Have someone else look it over, or run it through an online spelling and grammar program such as Grammarly.
At Found and Sons Funeral Chapel and Cremation Services, our goal is to help you navigate the end of your loved one’s life. We strive to make it a time of reflection, appreciation, and celebration, so that we may help you honor and preserve your loved one’s memory. Visit our website to learn more about our services or call (800) 207-3530 today.