How To Write A Great Obituary.

death and funeral announcement

An obituary is a notice of death that is published in newspapers and other digital platforms, it entails a brief information of a person’s life when they die.

The purpose of an obituary is to:

  1. Acknowledge the passing of your loved one by publicly announcing their death
  2. Give you an opportunity to celebrate the gifts that their life brought to your life
  3. Share parts of their lives that most people might not be aware of
  4. Express the grief of your loss

The task of writing an obituary can be daunting, not only because of the emotional turmoil that you might be going through because of grief. But also,  the fact that you are expected to write a brief life story that will honor the kind of life that your loved one lived.

This article is meant to guide you with examples on how you will be able to write a great obituary that will paint a clear picture of what your loved one was about. Hence, giving people a chance to truly celebrate a life well lived and grieve with you for your loss.

Announce The Death

The first action step that you take is to announce the death of your loved one.

When writing the obituary, ensure that you provide the following details:

  1. Their full names.
  2. A brief description of the deceased.
  3. Their age
  4. Place of death
  5. Date and time they passed on
  6. (If you prefer, you can include) Cause of death.

All of this information can be included in one sentence. For example:

On Saturday, January 11, 2020, Raymond Mboko, loving husband and father of three boys, passed away at the age of 56.

 

death and funeral announcement

When writing the obituary, ensure that you are very selective on the words that you use. If you find it difficult to use words such as died to describe the current state of your loved one. Then consider using words such as passed on or went to be with the Lord or rested in peace.

Death is heavy and changing words to the examples above, it might help you lighten things up and even give the family and friends the grace to accept the reality that your loved one is no longer with us.

Provide a Summary Of The Deceased’s Life

In the obituary, ensure that you provide brief information regarding the life of the deceased.

Chronologically list their life events, starting from birth and then proceed to outline how his life was. Remember to include important information such as marriage and education.

If the deceased made major contributions and accomplishments in his or her lifetime, ensure that they are included in the obituary.

Do not be pressured into detailing every single information down to the last bit. Instead, give people an overview of what the deceased did, that way people can have a clue of what they did with their lives.

 

death and funeral announcement

If there aren’t any great accomplishments that they made towards the society, then consider including tiny little bits that made them special to you. 

This could be things such as:

  • Did they have a peculiar sense of humor that brightened your life
  • Strong eyesight that differentiated all the colors
  • How differently their philosophy of life was and how it impacted how you perceived life 
  • How good were their skills in the kitchen when it involved cooking 
  • Did they sacrificially live their life and this inspired you to live yours fully
  • What was their top priority in life? Was it their kids, spouse or their commitment to their job!

What you are aiming to do is to give people a brief description that will help them paint a picture of the kind of person the deceased was.

Try to get as much meaningful information into very few words: here is another example

Mr. Raymond was born on July 28, 1943, in Nyeri. He received his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Kenyatta University in 2005, and he practiced accounting for 10 years in Nairobi. On May 28, 2009, He married Grace Njeri. They raised two sons, Nick and Joel. 

Be compact and precise with your wording. Try to get as much meaning into as few words as possible.

Make It Personal

The key element of writing a great obituary is getting real by making it personal.

It is essential that you not only include what the deceased loved doing but also the characters that made them special.

Think about the first words that come to your mind when you remember the deceased

  • Are there any stories that determine the qualities that he possesses?
  • What made the deceased happy and excited?
  • What was his passion or hobby?
  • What accomplishment did he make or appreciation was he able to make?
  • What topics did they mostly like to talk about in their conversations? Was it music, art, movies, religion, faith, work ethics, the economic state or family life?

This is a brilliant place for you to share anything as if they would be eager to tell someone about it. At the same time, it will allow you to walk down the memory lane and intentionally remember your loved one.

 

death and funeral announcement

It is important to remember that the newspaper will charge you by the line, words, or inch, depending on the publication that you choose. Thus, it is best preferred that you keep your words short.

Another option to explore is using an app such as Tula that allows you to write your obituary. They do not limit you on the number of words that you get to use. This provides you with a better opportunity to celebrate and remember your loved one with a special and personalized obituary such as this:

Raymond had a passion for arts and drama. He also loved to travel and he combined his two favorite hobbies to create extraordinary art performances across every county. People from different parts of the country would come together to watch breathtaking performances from his team. He was also an avid music lover and a collector of art painting. He was known for his funny jokes, his infectious smile and his kind and humorous spirit 

List Family Members in the Funeral Announcement

It is said that funerals are for the living. The obituary is for living too. In this section, it is important to list both the living and deceased relatives. Start from the ones whom they were closer to with the deceased. This could be the spouse, children, siblings, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. You could also mention their parents’ names and their grandparents. 

Considering how big the family might have grown over the years, It is advisable to quantify the numbers of the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren,that way you avoid missing on mentioning everyone related to the deceased.

 

death and funeral announcement

Most of the newspapers obituaries follow a particular standard such as this: Raymond, beloved son of… the loving father of… attentive grandfather of.. and they forget to list the preceded and survivors that the deceased leaves behind

Consider this example:

Raymond was preceded in death by his father Arthur and his mother Beryl. He is survived by his wife Grace, his two children Nick and Joel, his brother Steven and several cousins, nieces and a nephew

When your loved one passes on, the family is normally in confusion there for you might forget to mention some of the important relatives because you are preoccupied with grief.

Share Details Of The Funeral

Inform the people of the time, date and location of the funeral service.

 

Mention the place where people can drop their charitable donations, financial family support, flowers and other special arrangements that the family will be accepting.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, January 17th, 2020 at All saints of Cathedral on West-lands at 11: 00 am. Flowers or donations may be sent to the parish priest in west-lands, Nairobi.

Final Piece

Put it all together, and you’ve got a complete obituary.

On Saturday, January 11, 2020, Raymond Mboko, loving husband and father of three boys, passed away at the age of 56. Mr. Raymond was born on July 28, 1943, in Nyeri. He received his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Kenyatta University in 2005, and he practiced accounting for 10 years in Nairobi. On May 28, 2009, He married Grace Njeri. They raised two sons, Nick and Joel. 

Raymond had a passion for arts and drama. He also loved to travel and he combined his two favorite hobbies to create extraordinary art performances across every county. People from different parts of the country would come together to watch breathtaking performances from his team. He was also an avid music lover and a collector of art painting. He was known for his funny jokes, his infectious smile and his kind and humorous spirit.

Raymond was preceded in death by his father Arthur and his mother Beryl. He is survived by his wife Grace, his two children Nick and Joel, his brother Steven and several cousins, nieces and a nephew

A funeral service will be held on Friday, January 17th, 2020 at All saints of Cathedral on West-lands at 11: 00 am. Flowers or donations may be sent to the parish priest in west-lands, Nairobi.

Share Their Favorite Photo

If you are publishing your obituary using a newspaper, then it is certain that you will pay more to have the photo of your loved one in it. Using photos in obituaries is a pleasant way for us to remember the people we miss.

Make sure that you use a recent photo of your loved one, that way friends and relatives will be able to recognize the deceased face easily when reading the magazine.

 

Review For Mistake

Once you are done writing the obituary, the next step is to check, check and check again to make sure that there are no mistakes or things that might be left out.

Make sure that you spell the deceased names correctly, the same thing applies to any family member who might have been mentioned in the obituary.

If you are satisfied with the final write up that you have down, request a friend to review and give you feedback on the things you need to improve on, add or omit.

Considering the fact obituaries are composed when one is processing grief. This makes it hard for one to write with a clear mind.

When you are sure that the obituary is as good as it can be, send it off for publication.

Publishing The Obituary

Before you start writing your obituary, make sure that you selected the publication that you will be using, this could be a new paper print or the digital versions.

Confirm with them the requirements for the obituary, and the amount they charge for a specific length of words and if there are any extra costs with the adding of photos in the obituary.

You could also review the different obituary that has been done in the past with the publication, that you can have an idea on the formats they use, that way you will be able to tailor your obituary, so that it’s not too long, or too short that doesn’t comply to the standards of the newspaper publication.

If you are intending to publish it on social media, then it’s clear that the length of your obituary does not matter, you can go ahead and write everything that you desire regarding your loved one. 

The bad thing about social media is that after a few days more trendy news will come up and your obituary will be swallowed up in the billions of content that are produced by the different social users.

Alternative method.

The best option will be to use an application such as Tula App. It not only allows you to publish your obituary, it also allows you to store photos of your loved one and gives everyone to send their condolences that are stored in one place.

The best part is that when you are celebrating your loved one anniversary, you can always go back and have a recollection of memories of everything that happened. The friends that supported you, and read through the messages that people sent.

 

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