How to write an obituary
As we often talk about at Welkin, traditional funerals are a thing of the past. More and more people are opting for celebrations of life in nontraditional settings and seeking modernized urns, which is how I imagine you stumbled upon us. So why should writing and publishing an obituary be any different?
Our friends at Epilogg, have set out to do exactly that – modernizing the way we tell the stories of our loved ones through “a better obituary” and all for free! We sat down with them to better understand the functions of an obituary and discuss the way to give a modern twist to the traditional narrative.
If you’ve read the ‘about us’ section of our site, you know that Welkin was started because of a loss I experienced and the list of todos that followed. As the only next of kin, this was quite the task to take on so I prioritized the tasks that felt mandatory, fit into my budget, and were felt achievable during that time. Needless to say, purchasing an urn and writing an obituary were the two items that were not completed. I could not find the “perfect” urn and writing is something that doesn’t come easy for me and quite honestly, I didn’t know where to start but knew the traditional route was likely too expensive anyway. Today, I am incredibly grateful to have found a resource like Epilogg for making this a task that is now free and simple.
The function of an obituary is pretty simple:
- To inform the public of the death of our loved one
- To honor and commemorate their life lived
The challenging part is how to give the typical, traditional topics a modern twist to to appropriately reflect the life of your loved one.
1. Start the first paragraph with the important details you want everyone to know, the date and name and service information.
2. Next, start building the narrative by talking about the beginning of their life and who they were as a child. Here are some easy thought starters:
- When Ann was a child, she loved…..
- Rick loved to go on vacation. His favorite family vacations were…
- Kermit was Dad’s beloved dog. One of his fondest memories with him was when….
- Jane’s memorable family traits were…
3. A section about their education is an easy follow to their childhood, but be sure to add some creative details such as:
- What they studied in school. Did they later pursue a career in that field or did they pivot?
- Did they like their schools, sports teams etc.?
- Who were their closest friends?
- Did they have any outstanding achievements or superlatives? Were they nominated as homecoming queen, Mr. Congeniality, “Most likely to become President”, or anything else out of the ordinary?
4. Lastly, it’s time to describe the life of your loved one. Think about the things that will make your readers giggle, give a nod of recognition, or simply just give them a smile during a difficult time. The simple stories of life really do make the best obituaries and are a place for your readers to come back time and time again to relive the memories of your loved one.
- Tell us about their family
- What were they most proud of?
- What adventures did they go on?
- What were they most passionate about?
- What was their favorite story to tell?
- What was their favorite recipe to share?
- Tell their love story/stories – everyone loves a good “Notebook” romance
5. To conclude the obituary, you can end with their favorite quote, share some advice that person gave you or maybe there is something special they wanted you to note.
This is your article to share about your loved one so it can be short, long, funny, conversational, formal, whatever you feel perceives your loved one best. If you don’t feel there is anything notable to add in a specific section, just skip it. One of my favorite things about Epilogg is that the article can be as long as you want and you are able to include as many photos as you’d like. You’re not constrained by the limitations of the newspaper but you can always use tidbits from your online obituary to publish in the paper if you’d like it to be included in print as well.
See here for some Epiloggs to inspire you when writing an obituary and you can always reach out to email@example.com for assistance!