Obituary Writing 101

Writing an obituary for someone, or even for yourself, is no easy matter. An obituary is a unique work of art because it is not even once in a lifetime, it is once in what comes after that lifetime. The trend is that people only die one time, and therefore, they only get one obituary. So if you don’t write a good one the first time around, there’s no second chance to write another one. If you are here to learn more about writing an obituary, we are both sorry for your loss, and happy to help write a good obituary. After all, even though it is taking place in a Daytona Beach funeral home, you will still have an audience listening to you recite it.


   The first thing to remember is that a funeral is filled with enough sorrow and melancholy without you adding to it. Edgar Allen Poe might have been a legendary writer, but keep the gothic tragedy lines at home. Instead, try and go for uplifting. Fill the obituary with happy memories and funny little tidbits to lift the spirits of the people attending. Did the recently deceased say something that stuck with you, or does something that you told your friends about years after? These are perfect things to include in the obituary. Below is a list of items that can be added to any obituary to help improve the mood a little, and write a rememberable obituary.


  • Helpful Advice they gave you.
  • Funny moments.
  • Moments they helped you through.
  • Lessons learned by their example.


   It is also important to remember that the obituary is about the person who has passed away. The obituary is not about you, nor is it a chance for you to show off your writing skills. Some of us tend to do this without even thinking about it. We want to fill our work with fancy romantic lines like “She was the flower in the midst of Spring, forever in blossom against the backdrop of Summer rains, now forever in a field of brilliant stars”, and while these lines are beautiful, they can take focus away from the main subject of the obituary when used in bulk. You want beautiful, but you also want simplicity to the lines. Keep in mind, the people attending the funeral are not going to be in the clearest state of mind. Giving them grade A Shakespearean poetry is just as likely to bore or confuse them as it is to uplift them.


On the same topic, maybe we were a little too vague when we said the obituary is not about you. In a way, a small part of it is about you. If you are asked to write an obituary, it is usually because you knew the person, and therefore it is okay to get a little personal with it as well. It is okay to let it show that you miss the person, and cared for them. Don’t be afraid to comment on memories specific to the two of you.


Another important thing to remember is it’s okay to get emotional when reading it. We can have a tendency to try and hide our emotions around others. This is one of those rare times that you can place your emotions in clear sight of your friends and family. In fact, it is generally considered to have negative effects, holding in emotions instead of express them.


While you handle the obituary, let us handle the rest. Dale Woodward Funeral Homes will handle the occasion with care, respect, and understanding. We have been serving the Volusia County area for years, from New Smyrna Beach to Ormond Beach, making sure loved ones receive a proper funeral service



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