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Seven Tips for Writing an Obituary

An obituary is an article that reports on the death of a person along with a beautiful account of their life and personal information such as family, work, and life accomplishments. When a loved one dies, an obituary is likely one of the last items on your mind. Writing an obituary, however, can be a therapeutic part of grieving. In this blog, we discuss seven tips for writing the perfect obituary.

Create a List

An easy way to get the writing process started is to first make a list of things you want to mention. This list might include children and family, favorite hobbies and food, or notable characteristics of the deceased. Think of your list as a rough draft. It does not have to be in any particular order. Your initial list is a place to quickly jot down your thoughts and find essential items to mention within the obituary.

Gather Important Details

After making a list of items for the obituary, then begin to outline essential information that readers need to know, including:

  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Photo
  • Funeral Date and Time
  • Service Location 
  • Important Life Events
  • Surviving Family Members 
  • Predeceased Family Members

Write in Present Tense

Once you have created your first couple of lists, combine important details and personal anecdotes into your first draft. Writing in the present rather than past tense makes writing much easier and can help you feel connected with your loved one. This stage of the obituary process can be very therapeutic and allows you to honor your departed loved one’s memories.

Research Templates and Obituaries

Writer’s block happens to the best of us and can be especially prevalent during a time of stress and grief. If you are struggling to turn your list of details into a complete obituary, take a moment to find obituaries that resonate with you. Utilize these obituaries as inspiration and a template to help ease stress and make the writing process go more smoothly. Gerst offers a free downloadable obituary template for all our guests and visitors. You can also find additional free obituary templates online.

Make It Personal 

An obituary should be a reflection of the person it is about. Adding short stories, favorite hobbies, books, vacations, and even pets helps to let your loved one’s personality shine. 

Take Your Time

Writing an obituary should feel like something other than a race to the finish. It is okay to take your time and return to the writing process when you feel ready. Also, ask for help from other family members if you need extra details, advice, or writing and proofreading assistance. 

Proofread Before Publishing

One final note before you hit send – take time to proofread! An obituary is meant to be a loving memorial to your loved one, and you want readers to focus their attention on this person instead of grammatical or spelling errors. 

Writing an obituary can be complicated. Reliving memories of a recently deceased loved one is challenging, but it can also help with grief and provide comfort for friends and family. The team at Gerst is happy to assist you with writing a perfect obituary that properly honors your loved one. Contact us for assistance or with additional questions today!