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Writing an obituary is one of the most intimate steps in beginning the grieving process. Though it is very possible to craft an obit that is very basic and formal, listing only the very limited details of the person’s life and family, many people today want something more significant and special. This is your best opportunity to share who your loved one was and what they offered to the world. Making them more personal, though, can be challenging. How can you sum up someone’s life in a few sentences? These tips can help.

List the Basics First

The first few lines of an obituary should be factual. This allows the reader to identify the person. Did they know them? Who is impacted by this loss? Include the person’s name, age, and then list family members starting with spouses, children and then followed by parents, siblings, grandchildren and so on. You can also include any service information here or at the very bottom.

Create a Paragraph About the Individual

In the next few lines, describe the person. Remain factual, but you can add personality. For example, list what he or she was passionate about, what fueled their life or brought them joy, and what they brought to the world that was unique or inspirational. Work with a few people to craft this section to ensure your thoughts are accurate.

Include Some History

When writing an obituary, you may have more space to provide some history. If the individual attended college, started a company, worked within a charity, was important in a church, or was otherwise accomplished, include that here. You may wish to talk about their accomplishments or how they overcome challenges.

Adding Humor

You’ve loved this person. You knew them well. If and when it is appropriate, adding a line or two that is humorous can be acceptable. The only time it is, though, is when your loved one would have appreciated it. This is no place to tell jokes, but if the individual was known for a special trait, a small note to that can be acceptable.

You don’t have to learn the craft of writing an obituary on your own. It is possible to get support from a variety of services including HealGrief.org. Once crafted, you’ll want to use your obit in the newspaper, but also online. This way, people from around the world who knew your love one can easily respond and learn more about any remembrance services available. They can also smile and remember the loved one’s life along with you.

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