Traditionally, families placed obituaries in newspapers where the deceased resided. However, nowadays, more and more families are opting for creating their loved one’s obituaries online. These virtual sanctuaries offer the means to easily share obituaries with others as well as allow people, no matter where they are in the world, to leave their condolence messages and memories of the deceased.
If you are dealing with a funeral home or using an online service to take care of the obituary, make sure you inquire about the pricing beforehand; while some services are very affordable, others can be very expensive. Note also that as obituaries are public information, they may appear on third-party websites. This should not be viewed as a bad thing; in today’s technology age and where people have family members spread out around the world, people often turn to search engines and social media to find out if someone has died. The reason? Funeral homes and newspapers are local; they cannot possible have the global reach of online aggregators. These third-party websites are not infringing on any copyright laws or looking to “steal” an obituary from a loved one. Rather, they are offering obituary databases and information so that people never miss the passing of someone they know ever again.
A typical online obituary has five segments: the announcement of the death, a biographical section, information on survivors, scheduled programs or ceremonies, and contributions.
The announcement of death is the opener and gives basic information about who the person was. It includes the full name as well as date of birth and death. Depending on your preferences, you may choose to either give details about the cause and circumstances of death or not.
The next section is the part detailing their biography. It should include significant events in their life such as the place of birth, educational background, details about their marital life. You may also include their hobbies, special interests, and membership of any organizations (civic, fraternal, religious etc.). Give details about their most endearing qualities and significant contributions to those around them.
The next paragraph gives information about surviving family members and relatives, starting with the closest relations first and then expanding to include other people. Immediate family members are usually listed by name while others need not be listed by name but may be referenced together in terms of their relationship with the deceased. You may also choose to include names of other close relatives who may have preceded them in death.
The part of the online obituary that comes next should contain information about funeral arrangements and any special services or ceremonies scheduled to hold. The times, full dates and venues of these events must be stated clearly as well as the particular ceremony that is going to take place. These may be visitations, a memorial and/or funeral service and the internment, as applicable. However, if the events are private ceremonies, then it should be indicated.
The final portion or paragraph of the online obituary is the part that contains any special messages or requests the family of the deceased may have. For example, if you would prefer guests to make a donation to a particular charity that the deceased supported instead of sending flowers, then you can include it in this part. Be sure to mention the charity or society by name and how the donations can be made. On the other hand, if the family prefers monetary contributions to help with funeral arrangements and services, you can also mention it here. The family may also decide to include a poem or prayer that the deceased loved here or sometimes a message of thanksgiving to the staff of the hospital who cared for the deceased in his last hours. This section contains anything that may not fit into the other parts.
Finally, you may decide to include a photograph so that other people may recognize the individual among the other online obituaries that are published.
While writing an online obituary for a loved one can be a difficult, it is nevertheless a part of the grieving process. Think of the online obituary as a tribute to a person who has passed that lasts long after the funeral service or life celebration.