Writing an obituary for the first time can be very intimidating.
After all, it’s impossible to sum up someone’s entire life in less than 200 words. Where do you even begin?
Over 2.5 million people die in the U.S. every year. While we continue to grieve, someone must inform the deceased’s friends and family about their passing.
Read on to find out how you can write an obituary that truly honors your loved one.
What to Do Before Writing
If you plan to publish your obituary in the paper, contact the newspaper before you begin writing. They can provide you with some samples and a style guide. You want to make sure they can publish your obituary at least two days before the services.
Next, start collecting facts about your loved one. Get in touch with close family members for ideas, and have them double check your facts too. Also, try to find a recent picture of the deceased, preferably one where they’re smiling.
Writing a Standard Obituary
Once you’ve gathered all the information you need, it’s time to put it all together. Try using the following template when writing your obituary.
The first section should focus on helping friends and family recognize the deceased. Think about including the following facts:
- Full name (including nicknames)
- Date of passing
- Cause of death
While the cause of death is sometimes mentioned, it’s entirely optional. You can write “died peacefully” or “passed away unexpectedly” instead.
Significant Life Events
When writing about their life, always start with their birth. Discuss when and where they were born, and mention their parents by name.
Following this, talk about their education. If the deceased served in the armed forces, include that as well. Then discuss all of their biggest life accomplishments.
Info About Survivors and Predeceased
List immediate family members who either survived or predeceased your loved one. These include any of the following family members:
Details of the Services
You want to wrap it up with details related to the funeral, memorial service, burial or visitations. Include the date, time, location, and address of any services. Also, let people know where people can direct their condolences and donations.
Sharing Your Obituary Online
Publishing your obituary in a newspaper is a good start. However, you should think about sharing it online as well.
First, check to see if any local funeral homes or mortuary and cremation services publish online obituaries. Then contact them to make arrangements.
Once your obituary goes live on their website, you can copy the link and post it on your Facebook. You can do the same on Twitter. Ideally, you want to choose a social media platform that most of the deceased’s friends and family use.
If you don’t have a social media account, you can also share your obituary via email. Since the average person looks at their email 15 times a day, it’s often the safest route. Title your email properly, and include the link to the online obituary in the body of the email.
In some cases, you can share the link to the obituary straight from the website. Just look for the share buttons on the page.
Final Thoughts on How to Write an Obituary
If you ever get stuck while writing, read other obituaries for inspiration. You’ll find plenty of templates on the Internet or you can even check your local paper.
After you write an obituary, try to get feedback from close family members. They may be able to help you improve it.
Feel free to contact us if you want to share an obituary online.
As a private and family-owned funeral provider, Mile High Mortuary & Cremation Service offers traditional funeral and cremation services with over 30 years experience in assisting families during their time of need.