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How to Write an Obituary

Obituary of Robert William Thomson, Scottish e...

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How to Write an Obituary

To sit down and write an obituary can seem like a pretty daunting task . . . it’s certainly not something which we do very often (hopefully) and so nobody ever really gets used to it . . . except perhaps the funeral directors. Funeral directors and mortuaries will often help you to write the obituary, if you just give them the basic details they’ll put it all together for you, although really, once you’ve gathered all of the information which you would like to include in an obituary, the putting it together bit isn’t difficult at all.

Making yourself sit down and gather up the information is probably the hardest part of it, although, once you get started you just might find the whole experience quite therapeutic. An obituary, like a funeral, is a celebration of a life and writing one really is quite an honor you know. It’s your final chance to show your loved one favorably, and maybe tell some little known information about the deceased and their life.

How to Write an Obituary

Like with anything else in life which you aren’t sure about, the best way to write an obituary is one step at a time. Well, one sentence at a time anyway. You’ll have probably read hundreds of other obituaries online or in newspapers, and if you look at them a little more carefully you’ll realize that there is a very definite pattern to follow, starting off with details about the death and the funeral arrangements before often going on to details about the deceased and any surviving family.

  1. Start off the first sentence with the full name of the deceased, where they lived (not the whole address, just the town or city will do), when they died, where they died and even maybe why they died (after a long illness / tragic accident) etc.
  2. You might want to follow this with a few details about the parents of the deceased, and where the deceased was born.
  3. Maybe a chronological account of the life of the deceased can follow, education, accomplishments etc.
  4. Next you might want to talk about the surviving family members, although you might to choose to include this at #2.
  5. Then you need to give details about the time, date and place of the funeral including any wake or memorial details. This is also a good place to mention about whether flowers or memorial donations should be sent. “Donations in lieu of floral tributes to ****** Charity” for example.

Writing Your Own Obituary

Some people might even choose to write their own obituaries (before they die of course). This way you’ll know exactly what they’ll be saying about you! It will save your loved ones a little time and effort, but then again as I’ve already said, you could also be taking quite a therapeutic experience away from them. It’s really up to you.

Additional information Obituaries: How Do I Write An Obituary – 10 Step Checklist is here.

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