Writing an obituary is a little different from writing a death notice. A death notice simply announces the passing of an individual. An obituary does more than this, by bringing together personal details, touching stories and obituary prayers or messages. Thus creating something that reflects the true character of the departed loved one.
So, how do you do this? How do you write an obituary that really captures the essence of the person who has passed on? Take a look at our guide to help inform your writing and allow you to put together something touching and beautiful.
An obituary is generally just a passage of writing, perhaps accompanied by an image of the departed loved one. You won't need to carry out any special design work or apply any visual or aesthetic techniques when you create the obituary, but it's still helpful to have a basic structure in mind when you write. Below is a simple template to follow.
Open the obituary with the name of the deceased, their date of birth, their date of death and their location of death, as well as any other personal details you want to include relating to your departed loved one. This will help you to clearly communicate who you are talking about and what has happened. It also helps to create a sense of time and place for readers.
Next, include information relating to the departed loved one's life. Try to capture some of their personality and their sense of self in this section. For instance, include information on their personal passions and pastimes, as well as their career.
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Who was special to your loved one during their lifetime? Who did they leave behind when they passed on? In this section of the obituary, you can include all the pertinent family information relating to the deceased. This should include anyone who might have predeceased your loved one and anyone who survives them to this day.
You can add further personality, spirituality and individuality to your obituary writing by including poems and messages in this section. If your loved one was spiritual in life, this is a good place to include obituary prayers and other religious messages. Remember to balance both the spiritual and the personal side of things; in other words, choose a prayer that is suitable for a recently departed loved one, but where possible, choose a prayer or a verse that was a personal favorite of your friend or family member. This balance may sometimes be difficult to strike, so spend some time researching and finding out more about the prayers and verses that meant the most to the deceased.
Finally, you'll need to include practical information about the funeral service. Make sure to let the readers know where the service will be, what time it will be taking place, and any other details they'll need to be aware of. If you are having a private ceremony, you may decide not to include this part in your obituary passage.
The obituary serves two basic purposes. It tells people about the sad passing of the deceased, and it celebrates their life and their personality. In other words, you need to make sure that you are including all of the practical details about their age and about their memorial service while also enriching the text with personal stories and pieces of information. By following this simple format you may find it less stressful having to write a difficult piece in such a difficult time.