Once upon a time, everything was perfect: hanging out, fooling around, eating out, and laughing along to the silliest jokes; there was always something new to do with the person you love. For all the days, months, and years spent together, you begin to realize that this is exactly how life should be. But as days turn to nights, everything is bound to come an end.
Death. It’s silent, peaceful even, yet it can take away everything you’ve ever known in a mere second.
Writing an obituary is the last thing you’ll ever expect to do in your lifetime, as the thought of losing someone has always felt superficial. Death is inevitable, but as human as we are, we like to believe that people stay with us forever. We aren’t granted the privilege to know when and how people leave this earth, but it’s bound to happen when we least expect it.
There is a huge difference between writing a eulogy and writing a obituary. A eulogy is something very intimate and personal, in which it is often given by loved ones during the actual day of the funeral. On the other hand, an obituary is an announcement of one’s passing, which may be written by someone dear to the deceased, or maybe even a journalist or a funeral director, depending on the family’s request. Obituaries are used to disseminate information through different avenues, such as newspapers and web postings, in which details about the person, funeral location, services, and other significant information are listed.
Obituaries are more informative compared to the average eulogy; however, especially in this contemporary times, obituaries are a lot less gloomy and more creative than they were in the past. While it might seem difficult to compose an obituary that can effectively serve its purpose, it’s important to let your words flow naturally to set the right mood and tone to your writing.
There are many ways to write an obituary. And while we all have our own preferences on how it should be carried out, here are a few personal obituary examples that can help get you started:
1. Although an obituary is meant to be sincere and personal, it doesn’t always have to be gloomy and sad in nature. Since you are writing a personal obituary for someone who may have lived a meaningful life, then you might as well be bold and honest about it.
For some, using witty expressions and humorous scenarios that reflect the deceased in a way that people remember him or her for is a great way to lighten the mood at such a difficult time. Let’s take this for example: “He always wanted to star in a zombie apocalypse movie, I guess he finally got his wish.” or “She is weird, but lovely and scary all at once. She always wondered what it would be like to lie in a coffin. Well, now she knows how it feels like, that is, if feelings still exist in the after life.” You can be as creative as you want with your words, but make sure you don’t go as far as making something sound a litte too insensitive.
2. Just because you’re writing an obituary doesn’t mean you need to emphasize the whole concept of death in your writing. Instead, try highlighting the positive qualities and characteristics of a person. By doing so, you are able to divert one’s attention to the more positive aspects of the situation at hand. For instance, “The walking happy pill. The sunshine. The eye candy. The rainbow. The girl who once added colors to our pale skies has joined our Almighty Father on January 30, 2017 after her long, yet courageous battle with cancer. ”
You may even add irony to your piece, along with a few sweet words to honor the deceased similar to this example: “The Drama Queen, the best friend who can also be your worst enemy, the unicorn, the real epitome of beauty, and ultimately the best thing that has ever happened to John, is now a star that shines above us during our darkest nights”
3. Contrary to the writing technique above, you also have the option of emphasizing death and its ‘benefits’ to add humor to your obituary. For example, “He no longer has to care about car debts, insurances, and society’s standards. He no longer has to prepare for a possible Zombie Apocalypse, where we all end up dying from an infectious disease. He doesn’t have to wake up and leave bed to face the people he doesn’t like. Instead, he’ll be walking down a golden brick road toward his huge, golden mansion, while we all continue to live our lives in this cruel, messed up world.”
Another way to write a good obituary is to tackle timely issues such as, “Shoutout to all the corrupt politicians with too many broken promises, my beloved will no longer have to put her hard-earned money in your pockets. She doesn’t have to hear and see you ruin the place she used to call home. Knowing all these, my heart is at ease.”
4. Adding random quotes or requests given by the deceased is another way to keep the obituary personal.
“‘Let’s pull an all-nighter next weekend at my place’ as he used to say. We always came to visit him even if he didn’t want us there.”
“Spend time alone, or spend time around the people you love; do whatever it takes to help you go through the most difficult times in your life, because this is something Anna wanted for us.”
“’Sleep tight’ – as she would always say. I hope she sleeps well, too.”
5. Provide significant details about the person. Most, if not all, obituaries revolve around basic information, such as the individual’s date of birth, cause of death, and a brief family background. An obituary that includes additional details about a person, whether it’s about their personality or likes and dislikes, is more ideal than the standard type of obituary because of how it captures who a person is. For example, “She spent her time advocating for what she believes in. She fought for animal rights, often travelling across different states to bring awareness. She is a firm believer of humanity, and that we will always find small acts of kindness in this world. She is Barbarda Koffen, 85, a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, and a wife..”
6. Keep it traditional. There’s no harm in keeping it simple. Some people prefer obituaries that are informative, yet direct to the point. For instance, “On the eve of January 30, 2015, Jennifer Lee, 48, peacefully joined our Creator after a brief illness. She is survived by her husband, Kristoff Lee, and two daughters, Cassandra and Rachel.”
7. Make it inspirational. For example, “She had lived a wonderful and happy life, she built shelters for abodoned animals, and made it a point to inpire others to do the same. Now that she is no longer with us, let us continue her legacy in honor of the life she lived.”
Or you may even take a Bible verse or a quote from a famous author to inspire readers.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. – Philippians 1:21”
8. Describe the person physically. There is no other way to know a deceased person other than knowing that person through the people who had shared a life with. Obituaries are expensive per line or words can cause you a lot. You have to state the funeral details along the person’s description or information. The description may include the person’s hobby, passion, choices or perhaps: physically.
This doesn’t have to be long, you just need a few description that is something that you want others to know about him and remember about him. For example “She is short with a big heart that could lighten up any gloomy day. She got a button nose which we loved the most. She loves singing (but a bad singer) and dancing. She prefers orange over pink. She is…” or “She has a bright blue eyes. She is a beautiful blonde, a great mom and a wonderful person.”
9. You may want to try Euphemism. Euphemism is an act of using alternative words to describe something in a most indirect and gentle way of dropping some bad news, or something that is not very pleasant to hear. Nevertheless, the goal is to let you know something but in the most sensitive and considerate way.
There are different words to alter dead in a sentence, words like: gone, passed away, went to south, 6 feet under the ground, late, deceased, lifeless, now living w/ God, at peace, or perished. Choose the most understandable word you could use to come up an idea of announcing death in the most gentle way.
For example, “Her life was well lived, and earth is a cruel place to be. Now that she is residing in God’s kingdom, let us offer prayers and comfort to her family and friends at..” or your can use “He was a good captain, a firm follower of Polaris the north star, now he had decided to follow a different direction to the south. Rest in peace our dear captain…” Then add the important details about the funeral.
1. Always remember to put the correct details in your obituary, such as the date, time, and address of the funeral or memorial service.
2. Proofread your obituary. Double-check each line and watch out for grammar or spelling errors, especially when dealing with names. In some cases, a misspelled name can be seen as an insult to loved ones.
3. Provide active contact details for others to reach you.
4. If you plan on letting a journalist do the writing instead, make sure you canvass for different newspaper publications before you commit to one. Obituaries may be short, but they can be quite costly as well.
Gone are the days where obituaries were merely used to provide notice. These days, obituaries are written more creatively and uniquely than they were before. Apart from the individual’s general information, an obituary may consist of personal details that shed light on one’s time spent here on earth. After all, it’s not about how good you present a person using flowery words and the like, but it’s about being genuine and sincere with your writing.