Writing an obituary for a loved one can feel overwhelming. An obituary is akin to a eulogy, with the difference is the former is printed in newspapers or posted online while the latter is often spoken at funerals. They both pay homage to the deceased to honor the life that once was and to say a poignant goodbye.
If you’re tasked to write the obituary, it can be difficult to find the right words. It’s daunting to assess what important details you want to include while you are mourning and dealing with grief. Besides, how can you fully encapsulate the person’s whole life and do justice to their legacy in just a few short paragraphs?
Bear in mind that an obituary should include but not be limited to your loved one’s name, age, funeral arrangements, name of relatives, etc. It may also include other details that will perfectly capture your loved one’s essence and allow other people to know about his or her unique life story. If you need help in writing an obituary, the following are 4 steps that may guide you and help make your writing process less difficult.
Include your loved one’s basic details
One of the ways that a community gets informed of someone’s death is through obituaries. Aside from informing the community of the death, obituaries also outline funeral arrangements and find donation opportunities for those who wish to dole out financial assistance. Most obituaries include basic details of the deceased such as:
- Full Name
- Residence Address
- Date and Place of Birth
- Date and Place of Death
- List of Names of the Surviving Family Members
You may start writing your obituary by writing a sentence or two regarding his or her death. If the family of the deceased allows, you may choose to mention the cause of death. Many people who were once acquainted with the deceased would like to find out why they passed away. It’s a normal human instinct to want to know why a family member or friend is no longer of this world.
Summarize your loved one’s life
The basic details are important in writing obituaries. However, directly stating these details in preparing the obituary could seem too clinical or lacking in empathy. Besides, a trite obituary could bore the readers, so they’ll feel less inclined to finish reading the whole piece.
One way to write a more meaningful and memorable obituary is by weaving the important basic facts of the deceased into a compelling and meaningful story. You may even write a story from your loved one’s childhood days to share how he or she grew up. Giving a summary of the life of your loved one is another way to honor their life.
Some people prefer writing obituaries in a straightforward manner but many people also prepare more meaningful and heartfelt obituaries. They weave their loved one’s basic details into beautiful words with accompanying tribute poems and poems about lost loved ones.
There are also cases where the deceased may have written his or her obituary already so the surviving family members should be faithful and stick with the obituary that’s already been made. Remember that it’s very important to honor the wishes of the deceased so that they can rest in peace.
Highlight your loved one’s hobbies, interests, and accomplishments
Write and highlight your loved one’s hobbies, interests, and accomplishments to get the true essence of your loved one. When writing, focus on the positive things of their life and write about the details you remember that made the deceased special. In writing an obituary, your memories and other people’s stories will be very helpful in enhancing the details.
To give you more ideas in writing, the following tips might help:
- List your loved one’s notable accomplishments
- Write in a quiet area for better personal reflection
- Reminisce and look through old photos of your loved one
- Speak about your loved one to your close family and friends
- Visit the place your loved one frequently visited
Carefully craft your loved one’s life story with a funeral director
Funeral directors that you trust can have many resources that will be useful for your writing process. They can support, guide, and give you advice since they are experts in the field. They can also direct you on where to have the obituaries published. If you still find it difficult to write an obituary, there are many services online that offer help in crafting meaningful obituaries.
Writing an obituary for a loved one can be overwhelming and difficult to do. To make it easier for your loved ones, you can preplan your funeral by writing your own obituary since many of the details can already be gathered in advance. This is an option if you wish to have control of your end-of-life services and alleviate the burden of your future loved ones. After all, death is an inevitable part of life. It’s not a matter of if but when it happens. That’s why for many adults, advanced death care planning is something they consider to protect their families.