Honoring a Loved One | Online Obituaries July 17, 2016

Woman sitting on a hotel bed typing on her laptop.

A traditional obituary serves to identify and communicate to the community the passing of your loved one and to announce a celebration of their life by way of a visitation and/or funeral. Nowadays, alongside a traditional obituary, when working with Willwerscheid Funeral, you will have the opportunity to create a longer, more personalized piece that can be published on our website as a free service. This gives you the freedom and space to write a truly touching and genuine obituary without having to shorten it due to space or money. Because this can be a trying time for all those preparing to say goodbye, we have put together some helpful reminders and tips when preparing an online obituary.

An Announcement of One’s Passing
Traditionally, an obituary begins with the loved one’s name, age, and residence, along with the time and place of death. This identifying statement and announcement can be communicated in many ways. ‘Passed away’, ‘went to be with the Lord’, and ‘surrounded by his/her family’, are all common variations. 

Because many people nowadays read obituaries online, when a family is writing an obituary, they wonder whether to give out the cause of death. This is something most close friends and family are curious about. It is the family’s decision and choice to list the cause of death and is not a requirement. It is important to keep in mind, however, that if the circumstances of death were sudden, announcing the cause of death, either in the obituary, or in some other manner may keep you from having to explain what happened over and over to every friend and neighbor.

A Biographical Journey
An obituary is a biographical journey recounting of the most important events, qualities, contributions and connections in a person’s life. Each life is unique, but the most important milestones to include are the date and place of birth, parent’s names including mother’s maiden name, date and place of marriage, birth name of spouse, education, work, and military service. 

It is often meaningful to mention significant contributions and recognitions. For those individuals who were involved in many service and social organizations, places of employment, hobbies, or places of residence, specific examples can illustrate and bring life to an obituary whether it is a quirky habit, a favorite recipe or a touching expression of love. Did her sense of humor brighten your life, did he always make time for the kid’s games? Did she make guests feel welcome? Paint their picture in the obituary with these details.

Photos are a pleasant reminder of the person we miss, and a useful way for readers to recognize our loved one among all the other obituaries. It is wonderful to be reminded of how long and full a life was, but if online readers do not recognize someone in their photo because it is dated or from earlier in their life, they may not read the obituary. If you desire to include a photo from years ago, it might be a good idea to pair it with a recent shot as well to provide an identity to the loved one.

Surviving Family Members, Funeral Service Information and Special Messages
It is said that the obituary is the lasting connection between the loved one who has passed and the living that are honoring their life. One of the most substantial parts to include in the online obituary is the listing of survivors and those who preceded your loved one in death. This is a section that benefits greatly from many family members contributing ideas and helping write the online obituary. 

Typically, in obituaries, survivors are listed first, starting with the closest relations: spouse, children, grandchildren, great and great-great grandchildren, parents, and siblings. If any of these relations are nonexistent or have died, skip and move to the next relation. Nieces, nephews in-laws, and cousins are usually left out, or simply numbered unless they were close to the deceased. Grandchildren and greats are often numbered too, and if you not sure you have all the names, use a number or say ‘many grandchildren’ to avoid leaving anyone out. List relatives with their first name, spouse’s first name in parenthesis, then surname. If the spouse’s surname is different, or the couple is not married, include the partner’s surname in the parenthesis along with their first name.

It may also be helpful to list the funeral service information in the online obituary. This is a good place to provide the schedule, so all that choose to attend know what to expect. The specific order of the visitation, service times and burial should be listed. This should include the full date, time, and place of burial or interment. Families should take into consideration listing one or more charities to which you’d like donations made. You can even include the web address for the charity to make it easier for people to make donations. At the conclusion of the obituary, a special message, a short prayer or a poem can be listed. These messages are optional but can leave a lasting effect on the reader. They are also a last tribute for the deceased.

Capturing the life a loved one in an obituary can be challenging, but we are hoping with these tips, it can be an easier process for those in a difficult time. What makes the difference in any obituary is the loving participation of the family. Willwerscheid is here to assist and help anyone writing an obituary for their loved ones. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call. Our desire is to help you share the story of your loved one’s life in a meaningful way.

Post a comment