How to Write an Obituary
What's involved in writing a good obituary? That's really the first thing you have to think about when sitting down to write one for a spouse, other family members, or a close friend. Exactly what factual information should it include and how can you find a balance between dry facts and engaging storytelling? We have the answers to those questions and hope you will find this information about how to write an obituary helpful.
What's the Difference between an Obituary and a Death Notice?
The obituary is a longer, more detailed look at the life of the deceased and the death notice is merely a compilation of relevant facts. The obituary also includes those essential details but it expands on them to provide a more complete look at the deceased's life experiences.
The first of the details would, of course, be their name. If she was a married woman, you'll want to include her maiden name and if he or she was commonly known by a nickname, you may want to add that as well.
Other essential details to include when writing either a death notice or an obituary are:
- Their age upon death
- A list of the surviving relatives
- The date of death
- The location (city/state) where they died
- Details about the funeral service: date, time, place
- Full name
- Date of death
- Where the person lived
We think it benefits the families we serve when we remind them of the simple truth: in writing an obituary for your loved one, you have the opportunity to serve future generations – not only of your immediate family but of the society as a whole. You are, in effect, recording history on an individual scale. It's a humbling yet inspiring thought; at least we think so.
It's very easy to find examples of obituaries that are worthy of attention. There are interesting obituaries for everyday folks that inspire us; maybe even make us cry or laugh. Obituaries which, when we're done reading them, we say to ourselves, "I wish I'd had a chance to get to know that person." Obituaries are scattered in cyberspace, acting as digital records of a life, a time, and a place; and recently, some very funny obituaries have been written.
Will writing our own obituaries become a trend? Maybe. We know many more people are writing their own obituaries today as it's often given as an assignment in certain college and university courses.
How you document your loved one's life story is up to you. With that said, we recommend that in addition to the facts of a death notice listed above, the enhanced death notice, known as an obituary, could also include these details:
- Parents' names
- Information about the spouse and children
- Church affiliations
- Job or career information
- Personal and professional accomplishments
- Personal character and interests
- Influence on his or her community
It's now time to push the facts aside. Sit back and think about the anecdotes and memories you could share to shed some light on your loved one's character and personal interests. Bring factual details into play whenever you can to help the reader clearly see who your loved one was, how they lived, what they did, who and what they loved. The more rich in detail, the more memorable the obituary becomes.
Double Check Spelling and Grammar
Before you give a copy of the final draft of your loved one's obituary, be sure to read it through twice or even three times. You're looking for errors in spelling and grammar but you also want to make sure your facts are straight.
Don't Hesitate to Call Us
We would be happy to offer some suggestions if you're stuck. Call us at 978-263-5333 to discover how we can help you to shine a brighter spotlight on their life.