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How to Write a Touching and Meaningful Obituary

Published: January 16, 2023
by Grieco Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc.

For West Grove, PA funeral home directors, an obituary should be more than just a chronologically accurate list of facts about a person’s life. It must also capture who they were and why we should remember them.

But if you are tasked with writing an obituary for a friend or relative, it can feel like an impossible task. What do you write about? How much information do you include? Will your words even capture who this person was?

The difficulty in writing an obituary stems from the fact that most people have never done so. However, with these helpful tips, writing one becomes much easier than you think.

What to Include in an Obituary

In the broadest terms, an obituary should include the facts about a person’s life. However, we don’t read obituaries to look up facts. We read them because we want to know who this person was and how they impacted the world.

Standard facts to include are:

Birth and Death Dates - must contain the dates of the person’s birth and death. Include the specific dates rather than “born in 1940” or “died in 2018.”

Education and career accomplishments - include their primary career and any side jobs or hobbies/passions that were important to them.

Family life - spouse, partner, children, and relatives.

The real challenge is weaving these facts into a compelling narrative about the person. A good place to start is to ask yourself, “What do I want this obituary to convey?” There are no steadfast rules on what to include in an obituary. It is a very subjective piece of writing that can be shaped by the feelings and desires of the person writing it.

Be honest and real

An obituary is not a place for you to try to paint an overly rosy picture of this person’s life. It should be an honest, realistic portrayal of who this person was and what their life meant to others.

It is a chance for you to be genuine and honest about the struggles this person faced, their successes, and the mistakes they made along the way.

This doesn’t mean you have to share the person’s dirty linen. Instead, focus on their humanity and their impact on the lives around them.

Be a storyteller, not a historian

For additional questions, reach out to us. Our staff is on hand to answer them, along with other funeral planning assistance you need from a funeral home in West Grove, PA.

Your goal is not to give a detailed history of this person’s life. You want to tell a story about who this person was, what they meant to you, and their impact on those around them.

Make this person come alive for your reader. Let them feel as though they know this person. You want them to feel their presence and imagine what it was like to know them.

Find the story behind the facts

To tell a beautiful story, find the story behind those facts you’ve gathered rather than listing your loved one’s accomplishments and dates.

What made this achievement important to your loved one? What obstacles did they overcome to achieve this goal? What does a date or milestone mean to your loved one?

Do these, along with sharing the funeral information, and you’ve written a touching and meaningful obituary your loved one deserves.

For additional questions, reach out to us. Our staff is on hand to answer them, along with other funeral planning assistance you need from a funeral home in West Grove, PA.

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