“Write Something Worth Reading or Do Something Worth Writing”
Writing an obituary can be a daunting responsibility and pose certain challenges when attempting to perfectly capture what made a loved one special and honor their remarkable life. The individuals solely charged with completing this task might feel overwhelmed or require guidance with getting started, which is why we are here to offer support. While writing about someone’s life might seem like a lot, the process can become more manageable when done with sincere heart, adequate time and thought, and proofread by a supportive person before publishing.
Here at Greenlawn Funeral Home, our care team understands that an obituary written by a family member or close friend represents what that person meant to you, their passion for life, and all that will be greatly missed. To better support those selected for this task, we’ve put together some tips for writing an inspiring, heartfelt, and informative obituary when thinking about your loved one.
The primary goal of an obituary is to honor the person who died and share information about their life with the reader. Gathering biographical info is key, as you’ll want to include details about your loved one’s life and death. Please take note of their hobbies, major accomplishments, and anything else memorable you know about them. You might also choose to personalize their obituary by mentioning family members, close friends, or specific locations by name.
Consult with friends and family.
Before you begin the bulk of the writing, ask friends and family how they would describe your loved one. Talk to them about any special memories or interesting stories. These can be favorite childhood games or major life events in your loved one’s adulthood. Be considerate when sharing funny anecdotes, and ensure that it’s something that would be okay to tell. Is it trying to force humor, or does it add depth, personality, and good memories to the overall tone? A great way to safeguard your writing is to share with a trusted family member or friend to double-check details and dates and give general assurance.
Try writing in the present tense first.
This approach can make you feel more connected to your loved one and help them to continue to live on through memories, stories, and your written word. You can always switch to the past tense in a later obituary draft. During the arrangement process, each family’s funeral director will discuss the details of the obituary and help match the family’s desires to resources. Some families might want to spend an extra portion talking with a funeral director about their loved one and have them create a draft to be approved by the family. Others might feel that they want to oversee the writing process and only receive guidance about certain templates or examples that can be found online.
Include details about the service.
At the end of the obituary, be sure to include relevant details about any upcoming funeral service, memorial, visitation, or burial. In addition, any guidance for others who want to express their condolences and how they might do so. Is there a fund or charity set up in their name? Will the family be accepting flowers or cards from others? Where can people share their memories or pictures to share what that person meant to them? Adding this type of information to the obituary helps decrease confusion and allows others to show their support in a respectful, appreciated, and considerate manner that matches the family’s desires during an emotionally taxing time.