An obituary, typically found on funeral websites or within newspapers, are notices of death that summarize the deceased. Obituaries are made to commemorate the newly deceased, for it allows us to acknowledge the loss we suffered, articulate the pain of that loss, and most importantly, obituaries allow us to express the love and joy the deceased provided us with. Creating an obituary that perfectly encapsulates the essence of the departed is a truly difficult process that requires plenty of thought and care. To help you through this grievous time, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide that will allow you to craft a loving and meaningful obituary for your loved one.
Creating an Obituary
Since an obituary acts as a summation of one’s life, it’s important to convey all the main points with ease and conciseness. It’s also essential to clearly communicate the service times as well as any other important information. Here is a comprehensive guide to help you write the perfect obituary for your loved one:
- Announcing the death: The start of your obituary should announce the passing of your loved one. In this announcement, you will need to provide their name, age, a brief description, and the day of their passing. Usually, this important information can be conveyed in one sentence. For example, you could say: On Saturday, June 11th, 2018, Jane Doe, loving wife, mother, and grandmother, passed away at the age of 82. Relaying the cause of death is entirely up to the family–many tend to keep this information private, however, there’s also quite a few who share these details with the public. Depending on the nature of death, many families find it helpful to state its cause–saving them from having to explain it multiple times to friends and family members who stop to pay their respects.
- Providing a short biography: Writing the short biography of your loved one is probably the most difficult part of the obituary process. While there’s so much you can say about this special person, it needs to be short and concise due to the limiting size of obituaries. In this brief biography, you can include where your loved one was born (you can include their parents if you like), their work history, hobbies, or something uniquely notable. While their background history can remain short, you can very well write a few sentences on the spirit of your loved one–truly paying a memorable tribute to them. For example, you could write: Jane was born on September 12, 1936, in Detroit, Michigan to John and Sally (Smith) Doe. For 30 years, Jane taught elementary school and had a knack for inspiring young minds. In 1963, Jane married Bob Lewis and together, they raised 3 beautiful children. Aside from teaching, Jane had a great passion for painting and drawing. On the weekends, you could always find her sitting outside with a sketchbook and a smile on her face. Her compassionate soul, generosity, and infectious smile will be dearly missed by her friends and family.
- Including the family: Towards the end of the obituary, you will want to state who your loved one preceded in death and who their surviving family is. We know families can be on the larger side, so there isn’t a need to list every member down. Simply stick with immediate family. When writing the family section of the obituary, it’s essential to take your time and make sure you list all the appropriate members. While it may be ok to forget to add a hobby of there’s, it’s very upsetting to family members if you accidentally leave someone out. Here’s how you can structure the family paragraph: Jane was preceded in death by her mother, Sally, and her father, John. She is survived by her husband, Bob, their three children, Karen, Lisa, and Jim, her sister Ann, and many grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
- Funeral information: To end your loved one’s obituary, you will need to provide the time, date, and location of the wake, funeral, and if applicable, the burial. In this blurb, be sure to include any additional information on flowers and donations. You could write: Funeral services will be held on June 15th, 2018 at the Church of St. John at 12 pm. Flowers or donations may be sent to 1234 Main St., Detroit, Michigan.
Before you send in your obituary, be sure you’ve scanned over it a few times to correct any mistakes that may have been made. We understand how difficult a time it is to lose a loved one, and we hope that this step-by-step guide will help ease the burden of writing your loved one’s obituary.