Tips for writing an obituary

Coping with the death of a loved one is never easy. Even those comforted by the acknowledgment that a recently deceased friend or family member lived a full life may still struggle with the sense of loss that comes with the passing of a loved one.

Coping with the death of a loved one is never easy. Even those comforted by the acknowledgment that a recently deceased friend or family member lived a full life may still struggle with the sense of loss that comes with the passing of a loved one.

Upon the passing of a loved one, an individual is often tasked with writing an obituary. Some people may find writing an obituary is cathartic, providing an opportunity to tell a loved one’s life story and indicate how unique the deceased was. Because writing an obituary is not something people are asked to do every day, it’s understandable if many men and women don’t know where to begin. Obituaries do not necessarily have to follow a formula, but the following tips can help people compose an obituary that conveys who their deceased loved one was and how much this person meant to friends and family.

Contact your local newspaper

Some newspapers may have obituary guidelines that govern things like writing style and obituary length. Before writing an obituary, contact your local newspaper to determine if they have any such rules in place. Some newspapers may only publish obituaries written by their own staff members.

Do not feel obliged to include cause of death

While acquaintances who first learn of a person’s death via an obituary may be curious about cause of death, loved ones of the deceased do not have to include such information if they are uncomfortable doing so. Many obituaries never include such information, so readers likely won’t expect it. Those who are comfortable including such information in the obituary may find it helps them avoid having to answer numerous inquiries about the loved one’s demise at the ensuing visitation and funeral services.

While writing your own obituary might seem morbid, the opposite is actually the case. Writing your obituary can focus the mind on what is important in your life and help you redirect your energies if you aren’t on the right path. Obituaries these days tend to be a bit more personal than in the past. People may confess that they struggled with addiction or other serious problems, and they may share opinions or express words of wisdom from the deathbed. Thinking about and writing your own obituary will force you to be clearer about what is important to you. So consider writing yours. Don’t just include the dry biographical facts, but be sure to write about your life’s work and what it meant to you. You may think that your life’s work is trivial or humble, but did it give you the opportunity to help and serve others? And what did you feel passionately about outside of work, and why?Were you devoted to your family and friends, and if so, how? And how, in the final analysis, do you want to be remembered? These are questions that are too important to be left to the end of life and the sooner we think about them,the more likely we are to have an obituary that tells a life story worth reading about.

Christopher Simon

Include some biographical information

Obituaries are typically more than simple announcements of death. Some simple biological information can shed light on who the deceased was and his or her personal and professional accomplishments. Avoid getting too detailed, as newspapers may not accept obituaries that are very lengthy. But biographical information like full name, place of birth, family (i.e., spouse, children, grandchildren, etc.), military service, place of employment, charity work, and hobbies can give readers an accurate idea of the life your loved one lived.

Include donation information

Well-wishers who read the obituary may want to send flowers or make donations to express their condolences. Include the family preference regarding flowers or donations in the obituary. When requesting donations be made to the deceased’s favorite charity, include the charity’s full name and contact information or a website in the obituary.

Include visitation and funeral information

Be sure to include the day, location and visitation hours for viewings. If the funeral will be public, include the day and time of the funeral as well.

Have the obituary ready one to two days before the services are scheduled.

Publishing the obituary a couple of days in advance of visitation hours gives loved ones of the deceased time to arrange to visit and pay their respects.

Article compliments of Metro Creative. TF17C573

About the Author

Author: Steve Patterson

A Christian Blogger that enjoys blogging about the Bible, Theology, God, Jesus Christ, Christian Music, Family, Cats, Odd Holidays, sewing and much more. I have been blogging since 2004, however, I have been blogging on Courageous Christian Father since 2012. I enjoy listening to Christian Music. I am married with 1 daughter, 2 step-sons and a step daughter.

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