After the death of a loved one it is common for people to wish to make some sort of announcement or commemoration. Although the obituaries pages in newspapers have become associated with famous or well-known people, there is no reason why they can’t still be used to mark the death of a member of the general public; indeed, that was their original purpose.
CostNewspapers can charge a lot of money for obituaries, and so you should investigate exactly what it will cost before you begin writing. Generally papers charge either by the word or by the line and so, if money is an issue, brevity may be the key to a successful obituary.
In either case, writing the passage can be a long and difficult process. It is natural, of course, to wish to do the individual justice in just a few sentences, but you should consider what the purpose of your obituary is. If it is simply to notify potentially interested parties of the death, and the time and location of the memorial service, then a couple of lines will do. If, on the other hand, it is meant as a mark of commemoration, then a little more space may be required.
There are certain elements that it is recommended be included in an obituary. The first is, of course, the name of the deceased individual, and their date of birth and death. After this some people choose to include where the individual died, and perhaps in what circumstances. This is generally followed by a sentence describing their lineage; who they were preceded by in death (for example spouse or parents), and who they are survived by (generally children, grandchildren or surviving spouse).
If you are intending the obituary primarily as a commemoration, then this may be followed by a brief outline of the major events of their life. This might include marriage; the birth of children; career achievements; or other notable occurrences. This can be a good way of summing up the good in an individual’s life, particularly if they had filled it well.
VisitingObituaries are generally ended with details of where visitors should go and at what time. If the body is lying in an open-casket state then you might wish to give details of where and when visitors may pay their respects, if at all. After this you might wish to outline when and where the interment and service will occur, and whether or not visitors should contact someone before turning up. Finally, an increasingly common occurrence is a request for donations to be made to a charity in the place of flowers.
While an obituary can be a fitting way to mark someone’s life, and an effective way of informing people of a death, the prevalence of identity theft as a crime in recent years has led many experts to advise against their writing.
There have been numerous cases of fraudsters scanning the obituary pages and then taking on credit cards or loans in the names of deceased individuals. You should be wary of this and, if you still intend on placing an obituary, you should keep track of any correspondence addressed to the deceased individual from a bank or other financial institution.