Obituaries have traditionally been used by families to let the community know about their loved one’s passing. An obituary recognizes the impact that person had on their community, their ties to the community, and the family members that are left behind. It also informs anyone who might want to attend the funeral of the schedules and dates for any services being held.
While the practice might seem a little outdated for those who don’t typically read the newspaper, the rise of the online obituary has allowed families to continue honoring their family members with a much wider and more immediate reach.
Writing an obituary can be a little bewildering if you’ve never done it before, so we have compiled a few items and details that you might want to consider during the process.
Important Aspects to Remember When Writing an Obituary
Keep these questions in mind when writing your loved one’s obituary, and see how they are applicable to the person about whom you are writing.
- “What would make my loved one feel honored if they were reading this?”
Above all, your priority is to honor the loved one that has passed, so this idea should be constantly at the forefront of your mind as you write.
An obituary is, in essence, a complement that is being shared publicly, after a person is gone. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the person for whom the obituary is being written, and imagine how you would feel reading the text.
- “What are the most beautiful things about my loved one that I’d like to share with the world?”
We are all unique and wonderful individuals, and your loved one is no exception. Don’t be afraid to share the little details that made them the person who you and the community loved.
- “Are there any details that they would specifically prefer to have kept private?”
Almost everyone has personal facts or anecdotes about their loved ones that would be better kept in the family than shared publicly.
If your friend or family member would have felt uncomfortable with their story being told to a complete stranger, it is probably an item best to be left out of the obituary.
Meaningful Details to Include
Remember to include these details in the obituary, for both sentimental and logistical reasons.
- Close Relatives
This is typically limited to nuclear families and grandchildren, depending on space and age.
- Important Achievements
Important achievements can range from military service to community honors—anything that made your loved one particularly proud and highlighted their personalities and careers.
- Meaningful/Characteristic Expressions
Was there anything that your loved one said regularly that impacts your decisions today, or that really describes their personality? This would be a heartwarming detail to include.
- Any Funeral Information or Last Requests
Part of an obituary’s main goal is to inform members of the community as to when and where they can attend the memorial service of your loved one. Make sure to include this information in a clear way.
In addition, your loved one might have been associated with or passionate about a charity. They might like for mourners to send donations in lieu of flowers—this practice has become increasingly popular in recent years. Include the information that will make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
Honoring and Commemorating Through Words
Obituaries, whether in physical newspapers or in digital publications, are here to stay. They are an important part of the grieving process both on the individual and the community level.
We here at Montgomery & Steward would be honored to answer any questions you might have in regards to writing obituaries, and we would be happy to give you advice from our many years of experience in order to craft the perfect, heartwarming piece for your loved one.