Writing an obituary about a loved one can be difficult, but it also can be very therapeutic. It is a way to remember loved ones and honor their lives. By Celebrating Life’s Stories®, those who are grieving can reflect positively on the lives of their loved ones and honor them by sharing their loved one’s legacy with family members and friends.
Through Pathways of Hope℠ Grief Counseling Centers, the bereavement counseling professionals of Ohio’s Hospice and its affiliates encourage those who are writing an obituary to reflect on the memories they have of their loved ones and continue Celebrating Life’s Stories.
How to write an obituary:
- 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 obituary. In many cases, the funeral home or local newspaper can assist with the development of the obituary.
How to Begin Writing an Obituary
“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 obituary.”
Maria Johnson, manager of patient and family support services at Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio, said that 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.
In many cases, the funeral home can be an asset in composing an obituary and submit to newspapers for families.
How to Decide What Details to Include
“It’s good to have which people you want mentioned in the obituary and think through what you want to point out in it, though most people find that hard to do,” said Susan Good, bereavement counseling professional at Ohio’s Community Mercy Hospice.
While it can be overwhelming to decide which family members to include in an obituary, Angela Timpson, bereavement counseling professional at Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County, reminds families to honor their family member in this special, last time to publicly do so.
“We can capture and honor the spirit of the deceased 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 wrong way to write an obituary. Rather, writing an obituary 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 an Obituary
Once the obituary is written, there are several ways to share it with the community.
Sharing an obituary online is a quick way to distribute the news and remembrance 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 obituary you have written so they can publish it on their website with details of memorial services.
Submitting the obituary 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 Pathways of Hope
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. For more information, please visit: https://www.ohioshospice.org/pathwaysofhope/