How to write an obituary
At its simplest form, an obituary acknowledges the life and death of a person. An obituary can satisfy the urgent need to tell others about the death and provide details for a funeral or memorial service, but it is also an opportunity to creatively highlight the characteristics of a memorable person. Here are some tips on how to write an obituary.
1) Be chronological
Begin with the deceased’s full name, date and place of birth, date and place of death, and age at death. Also note the deceased’s place of residence at the time of death. If you wish, you may indicate the cause of death. Provide a brief summary of the decedent’s life, beginning with birth and progressing. It is not necessary to include every detail, but only key facts and information that help the obituary reader learn more about the deceased and/or determine if they have a personal connection to the deceased.
2) Paint a picture
When you write an obituary, try to go beyond what is expected and highlight what was really special about that person. How many plays was your aunt in and what was her funniest role? What was your uncle’s worst joke, the one he told at every family gathering? Was your loved one known for her shoe collection? His obsession with astrology or his devotion to orchids? Her love of karaoke, but inability to sing well? Think about the attributes that made her lovable and adorable and highlight them.
3) Keep your opinions
The last part is a farewell to the deceased, but also a promise to keep the memory of the deceased alive in the minds of their children, parents, family and friends. Writing an obituary is not a way of expressing an opinion or a personal judgment about the deceased. The purpose of an obituary can go beyond information to eulogy.
Before you give a copy of your loved one’s final obituary, be sure to read it twice, maybe three times. You’re looking for spelling and grammatical errors, but you also want to make sure your facts are clear.
We know that writing an obituary is one of the last things we would want to do. But we can always take advantage of a bad situation and use the bitter moment to make sure we remember our loved one forever.