It's very easy to find examples of obituaries that are worthy of attention. There are interesting obituaries for everyday folks that inspire us; maybe even make us cry or laugh. Obituaries which, when we're done reading them, we say to ourselves, "I wish I'd had a chance to get to know that person." Obituaries are scattered in cyberspace, acting as digital records of a life, a time, and a place; and recently, some very funny obituaries have been written.
Will writing our own obituaries become a trend? Maybe. We know many more people are writing their own obituaries today as it's often given as an assignment in certain college and university courses.
How you document your loved one's life story is up to you. With that said, we recommend that in addition to the facts of a death notice listed above, the enhanced death notice, known as an obituary, could also include these details:
- Parents' names
- Information about the spouse and children
- Church affiliations
- Job or career information
- Personal and professional accomplishments
- Personal character and interests
- Influence on his or her community
It's now time to push the facts aside. Sit back and think about the anecdotes and memories you could share to shed some light on your loved one's character and personal interests. Bring factual details into play whenever you can to help the reader clearly see who your loved one was, how they lived, what they did, who and what they loved. The more rich in detail, the more memorable the obituary becomes.
Double Check Spelling and Grammar. Before you give a copy of the final draft of your loved one's obituary, be sure to read it through twice or even three times or better, have a friend or relative proof read it for you. You're looking for errors in spelling and grammar but you also want to make sure your facts are straight.
Request to receive a proof from the newspaper before your obituary is printed if you're worried about mistakes. You probably don't have the time or energy to worry about it at this point, but if you're concerned about errors, ask if you can see a proof before it goes to press. Most newspapers won't allow you to look at a final copy, but if you put up a big enough fuss, many papers, especially small-town papers, will honor your request (we did). You may have to come into the newspaper office or have a copy faxed to you.
Submit the obituary to other newspapers. If there are other towns where your loved one lived and had a number of family or friends, you may want to submit the obit to those newspapers. Just check those newspapers' guidelines and modify the style of the obit as necessary.
Check the obit when it prints in the paper. If there are errors, call your newspaper to let them know. Again, if you put up enough of a fuss, they should reprint it the next day for free.
Chiarella, Tom, "How to Give a Eulogy"
Ianzito, Christina, "How to Write a Eulogy"