Writing an Obituary

A common assumption is that an obituary is merely a death notice. While that might be the case for newspaper submissions, funeral homes generally include full obituaries on their websites and on memorial folders for no additional cost. Therefore, writing an obituary is also a precious chance to express a loved one’s legacy and share parts of their life story from the very beginning to the very end. If you are looking to create a well-written, meaningful obituary, here are a few pieces of advice that will help guide you through the process.

Consider Organization

Jumping around with facts and descriptions makes it too hard for the reader to follow. Chronological order is almost always going to be your best option for arranging events and accomplishments. You might also want to follow up the timeline approach with a paragraph that emphasizes the nature of this person’s character and what they will be remembered for.

Use Personal Details and Examples

Individuality can be achieved in an obituary by offering specific details rather than a generic overview. Don’t simply list where your loved one lived and worked over the course of their life. Consider what made this person unique. Give an example or offer a quick anecdote to help illustrate descriptions.

Know That It’s OK to Be Funny

Or reserved. Or sarcastic. Or boastful. Or whatever you feel would be fitting for your loved one. The tone and style of the obituary should match the personality of its leading subject.

Have Someone Else Proofread It

Reading and rereading your work is great, but you will also want someone else’s input. You might even want two people to help you out, such as someone else who was close to the one who passed and someone who is more removed from the situation. Besides catching things like minor punctuation and spelling errors, ask them for their overall impressions, too. The funeral provider you are working with can also help ensure the obituary is as good as it can be before you submit it for publication.

Keep Perspective

Writing an obituary is no simple feat. Feeling like you’ve done your best to pay tribute to a loved one is the main goal. Overall, if you are given the important opportunity of writing an obituary for someone you knew and loved, try to remember the essential focus: an obituary is actually about life.

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