An obituary is meant to convey details of any funeral and memorial services. An obituary serves as a means to convey information about a loved one’s death, as well as announce significant information about a funeral or visitation service. Most immediately, an obituary serves to acknowledge and convey the death of a loved one to a community, as well as announce information regarding visitation, services, funerals, and memorials.
The obituary also serves to notify that the person has passed and provide information about any services scheduled. An obituary can help those within a family and others learn more about one of their members, about themselves, and about the community at large. Reaching out to friends and family in your immediate area can help inform you what goes into the obituary.
Other people, like extended family members or close friends, may be listed in an obituary, too, if you believe that your loved one would want to include others. You may also want to choose a family member or a friend who would be helpful during the writing of an obituary. As family members, you will want to make sure to memorialize the deceased or name someone who should write an obituary.
An obituary will usually include surviving loved ones of a deceased person, and people who predeceased the loved one. Most obituaries start with the announcement of the death, including the deceased’s name, age, and residence. Some obituaries include a cause of death, especially valuable when the subject lost his or her life suddenly and at a young age.
Many obituaries are just a regurgitation of names and dates, but the best ones leave us feeling like we knew the subject. When you read one of my obituaries, you feel like you personally knew the subject – even if you never had the opportunity to meet him or her. My files include obituaries showing just how uninteresting some people can be, with nothing more than the basics like a list of names, dates of death, and funeral arrangements.
I have one for someone who lived to the age of 96, but whose obituary contains just 69 words (including funeral dates and times, and requests for donations); and another for someone who lived to the age of 86, and his obituary is just 82 words. It is a wonderful treat to look at the old photos, and be reminded of all of life’s happenings prior to old age and death, but unless friends can identify the man in the photos, it is likely that they will not read the obituary. Photos increase the price of the obituary but can be a nice reminder of someone we have lost, and they are a helpful way for readers to identify our loved ones in the middle of all the other obituaries.
An obituary does more than share the date of birth and death, it typically includes at least one photograph of the individual, as well as highlights about his or her achievements or even his or her personality. More than just a simple death notice, the obituary is a place where we document the life story of our loved ones so that they can live forever. In addition to an announcement of a death, the obituary also tells a person’s life story.