When you’ve lost a loved one, a crucial part of the process is writing an obituary. An obituary announces that someone has passed — but it can also be a crucial part of the healing process and can serve as a lifelong tribute.
“People don’t always consider it this way, but an obituary acts as a keepsake,” says Maggie Kent, co-owner of Croxford Funeral Home & Crematory in Great Falls. “I have my father’s obituary laminated, and it hangs in my hallway and I get to walk by it every day and see his picture. A laminated obituary is inexpensive, but it means a lot and lasts forever.”
Here are six tips for how to write a successful obituary.
- Include all the major details.
“An obituary will always have what’s considered a news portion, literally just announcing the death with the name, age, and date,” Kent explains. Though some people choose not to include the cause of death, Kent believes including it can be a good way to let members of their community understand what happened. Also, be sure to include their full, complete name to eradicate any confusion, especially if their name is common.
- Provide information about memorial services.
Provide full details about any services, visitations, or other ways you’re honoring the person. And if there are no services, it’s important to say too.
- List all the loved ones left behind.
Mention everyone survived by the deceased. “This encourages the people who know those people to reach out to them,” Kent says. “You might realize you know someone who just suffered a loss or you might not have known they were related to this deceased person.”
- Prepare for the expense.
People rarely realize they have to pay to have an obituary printed, which can be “shocking, disappointing, and heartbreaking if it’s going to break the bank,” Kent mentions. She often encourages clients to print a small, concise obituary in the newspaper and then direct people to a fuller obituary on a funeral home website or on social media.
- Include something special and personal.
Besides their occupation and hobbies, try to include their favorite quote or poem, something they were always known to say, or a message written directly to that person from a loved one. Remember: this is an announcement of their death, but also a great way to honor their life.
- Work together and ask for your help when you need it.
“Really try to include other loved ones in the writing process. It can be a healing process for everyone, and you might come up with a really well-rounded obituary” Kent offers, which may not be top of mind for those charged with writing it. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help from the funeral home. It can be a stressful and emotionally difficult task — getting an outside person’s input can be invaluable. Croxford Funeral Home & Crematory help all their clients with the obituary writing process, and they’re happy to do it because it helps them get to know the families they’re serving and put those personal touches on the service.
Croxford Funeral Home & Crematory creates personalized services to best honor your loved ones. Their staff members are the leading funeral experts in the Great Falls area. For more information, call (406) 453-0315 or visit them online.
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