Knowing where to start is always the hardest part of telling a loved one’s story. Sharing a loved one’s legacy can be difficult, but it also can be very therapeutic. By sharing your loved one’s story through a meaningful tribute, you can remember and honor your loved one.
We encourage you to share your loved one’s legacy with family members and friends by reflecting positively on the life of your loved one and honoring them.
Through Pathways of HopeSM Grief Counseling Centers, the bereavement counseling professionals of Ohio’s Hospice encourage those who are writing a tribute to their loved one to reflect on the memories they have of their loved ones and continue Celebrating Life’s Stories.
How to Write a Tribute:
- Gather photos of your loved one.
- Gather information from family and friends that celebrate the story of your loved one.
- Make a list of passions, hobbies, jobs, volunteer opportunities, and past times of your loved one.
- Let your loved one’s personality shine and begin writing the tribute. In many cases, the funeral home or local newspaper can assist with the development of the tribute or obituary.
How to Begin Writing a Tribute
“The work of remembering and honoring is part of the healing process and can be very therapeutic,” said Lisa Balster, director of patient and family support services at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. “It can be healing to talk through happy, sad and difficult memories together while accomplishing the tasks to prepare a loved one’s funeral service or write their tribute or obituary.”
Maria Johnson, manager of patient and family support services at Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio, encourages people to begin by reflecting on their loved one. “When beginning the process of writing an obituary, reflecting on the loved one’s life, their personality, what they loved, and what was important to them can be helpful in finding what to say,” she said. “In many cases, the funeral home can be an asset in composing a tribute or obituary. The funeral home can submit it to newspapers for families.”
How to Decide What Details to Include
Many people struggle with which details to include in a tribute to their loved one. You’ll want to include the following information:
- Your loved one’s name and photo.
- The date they passed and their age.
- Family members.
- A brief description about your loved one.
- Your loved one’s accomplishments.
- Funeral or memorial information.
- Information about flowers or donations.
While it can be overwhelming to decide which family members to include in a tribute to your loved one, Angela Timpson, bereavement counseling professional at Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County, reminds families to honor their family member in this special way. It is the last time to publicly do so.
Honor Your Loved One
Balster recommends capturing and honoring the spirit of your loved one by remembering their best attributes, the best of their character, and the best of their actions while they were alive.
“Choosing to speak and write about accomplishments, experiences, dreams and what they most cared about are ways to honor and remember the person,” Balster said. “It is good to think about what would like to be remembered for. In that light, it is so helpful to actually discuss these things while we are still here together.”
Remember, there is not a right way or a wrong way to write a tribute to your loved one. Rather, the tribute should reflect your loved one and what they loved. By Celebrating Life’s Stories, you can share the legacy of your loved one with your friends and family members.
Submitting a Tribute
Once your loved one’s tribute is written, there are several ways to share it with the community. Sharing a tribute or obituary online is a quick way to distribute the news to a wide audience. However, a social media post is fleeting so having a permanent tribute in a printed newspaper or funeral home website is beneficial.
To submit to the funeral home, ask the funeral home director what they will need. This typically includes a photo of your loved one and the tribute you have written so they can publish it on their website with details of memorial services.
Submitting the tribute to your local newspaper or community site helps to share the news with everyone who knew your loved one. Cost varies by location and length, but the newspaper’s website will share details on cost and details needed.
Learn More About Grief Support Services
For additional grief support, Pathways of Hope℠ services are available to the friends and family of all Ohio’s Hospice patients, as well as anyone in the communities Ohio’s Hospice serves. or more information, please visit Pathways of Hope by clicking here.