Different Ways To Personalize An Obituary

By: Ian Elliott
Thursday, February 25, 2016

When it comes to writing an obituary, most people are too distracted by other responsibilities to focus on writing something that is both good and respectful to the deceased and their family.  Most people write a simple statement of the facts of the birth, death and funeral arrangements, rather than an in­depth overview of the deceased’s life and accomplishments.

Picking a picture

When you are posting the obituary, you may wish to include a picture of the deceased.  If you have chosen this option, pick a favourite picture of the deceased at their best.  For example, if they were a fan of a particular team, try to find an appropriate picture to reflect that.  Once you’ve selected your picture, be sure to include a reference to it in the text of the obituary.

Writing the obituary

When it comes time to put pen to paper, besides including “born, died, & survived by” format.  Try to include something that the deceased loved, like a particular hobby or skill they had.   To offer an example, when writing the obituary say something like “Bill’s yard and garden were meticulously maintained. Whenever you visited with Bill you were sure to find him in the yard.”  “He was always there for his family, helping where he could, taking his grandchildren to the play ground on weekends.” By driving home his incredible love of his family, gardening and caring for his lawn, the writer reminds the mourners of the good times with Bill, and possibly alleviates the grief, even if it’s only for a moment.

Collect stories

People are strange creatures.  We rarely, if ever, show our complete selves to those around us.  Everyone sees us differently.  By asking around the family and close friends, you can find different stories about the deceased, stories you may not have known.  Perhaps they helped their grandchild learn how to ride a bike, or made amazing waffles every Saturday morning.  As the one writing the obituary, you should ask around for good stories or facts about the deceased that you could use or share with other mourners.  By sharing happy memories, you can help relieve the grief, and offer comfort.  When you’re gathering information from other family members and friends, be sure you ask their permission before using any of the information they provide in the obituary.  Not everyone wants their personal stories shared on a public stage, especially when they are mourning.

Don’t put something into the obituary that would upset the decedent if they were living or surviving family members.

 

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