Different Ways to Personalize an Obituary

By: Myles O'Riordan
Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Writing an obituary for a loved one can be a difficult and emotional affair, and many people struggle to put their feelings to paper. For many of us, attempting to faithfully represent a deceased loved one is a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Below are four tips to help you write an obituary which represents and memorializes the life that your loved one lived:

Listen to family stories

Your families will be able to provide the best insight into how their loved one would want to be remembered, so be sure to ask for their thoughts. Be sure to discuss more than just the details of their birth and who they are survived by; try to really delve into who the deceased was as a person and try to capture the emotions that your families share with you when you write the obituary.

Share personal stories

A well-written obituary will tell the story of the life lived. By sharing personal stories, the obituary paints a picture of who the deceased was, and should bring up personal memories for those surviving them. By telling a story in the obituary, you are also able to tell other people about the deceased, and to show them different sides of their personality.

When talking to family members about the obituary, ask them what their favourite memories are of the deceased, and how they would like those memories presented.

Don’t shy away from weird stories

People are unique and bizarre creatures, so when you’re writing an obituary and asking for stories, be sure to ask for stories that family members may not think about sharing. For example, maybe their loved one adored working on old, vintage muscle cars, or made the best banana pancakes on Sunday mornings. Try to discover things that not everyone will know about the deceased.

Don’t be afraid to use humour

Death is a difficult thing for people to accept and come to terms with, but part of accepting death is also celebrating life, and there’s no better way to do it than through an obituary which Includes a funny story or memory which will make the reader smile. When putting together material for the obituary, ask the family for funny stories and silly memories, and ask permission to include them in the obituary. Many people take the approach that there should be a celebration of life, as well as a reflection and mourning period, so it’s always helpful to ask permission to include a charming, heartwarming story.

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