Writing an Obituary

Tips for Writing an Obituary

When you are preparing for your own obituary in advance, or for that of a loved one that you have recently lost there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure it is a well written and informative piece.  The obituary as most people are aware is the public notice usually posted in the local or national news paper to let others who might know the deceased that he or she has in fact passed away.  Since many people will gauge the fullness and success of one’s life by the number of people that person knew, it can be very important to reach out to as many people as you can to let them know, the obituary does that for you.

A well written obituary will include the persons full name (including middle names), as well as their birthday and the day of their death.  This notice should be looked at as if it is an advertisement of sorts, the obituary is selling the fact that this individual was a good person loved by their family.  Normally you will see information about that persons loved ones including children, grand children, siblings, and any surviving parents.  This is not the place to add in information about any bad relationships or unfavorable memories such as divorces, or other falling outs that this person might have under his or her belt.

When writing an obituary for yourself you need to be prepared for the fact that someone will likely have to make some edits to that information when the time comes. Normally during a prearrangement the funeral director will only ask for pertinent details for your obituary.  You will likely be asked for information regarding your birthday, your full legal name and maiden name if you are married.  They will often clear with you what family members you wish to mention in your service or obituary but all of the details are normally held off until the occasion arises.  Since your situation can change from the time you plan your funeral to the time you actually pass away, you might have more children, some else might pass away, or marital status may change etc, it is important to be open to allowing someone else work on your obituary and last minute details.

The main theme for an obituary is that you are advertising that a well loved individual has passed away, generally the way they passed away  is listed as well, peacefully in bed, or in an accident etc.  The list of loved ones that they have left behind and their parents (even if they are already passed on).  The listing of family members is a dual purpose thing.  Listing family members who are still alive and mourning lets others know who they should speak to at the funeral, as well as who to address sympathy expressions to.  It also helps people to figure out if this was the same person they remembered, maybe they were good friends with a sibling, or a parent.  Having that information ensures that people can connect the dots and determine whether or not this is in fact the person they remember.

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