Most of the obituaries published today in Singapore typically includes the account of the deceased’s life and information about the upcoming funeral. Sometimes, families may wish to write more than simply a death notice, to remember the life of someone significant to them.
Due to time sensitivity and the stress of death, it is understandable that family members can hardly put together a coherent tribute for the deceased. Some funeral directors in Singapore offer obituary writing services and liaise with local newspaper publishers or post an online obituary in memory of their beloved ones.
But if you wish to craft an obituary of your loved one in a meaningful way, here are some tips to help you.
Include facts into the obituary
Begin with the name, age and place of residence to identify the deceased. You can also include the name of the deceased or even a family nickname, and the date and place of birth and death.
You should also include details of immediate family members such as children and their spouses, grandkids or even great grandkids.
The statement of the fact of death can also be communicated through euphemisms or flowery phrases like ‘passed away’ or ‘after a long struggle with his illness’, as some might find ‘died’ to be too blunt.
Making it personal
Apart from including the facts, you can “narrate the story” of the deceased in a meaningful way. Convey the personality or contributions of the deceased apart from their seemingly “ordinary life”.
To achieve this, ask family members the following questions:
- Ask family members and close friends what some of their best moments with the deceased were.
- What are some significant challenges they faced and overcame?
- Any fond memories that make you smile?
- What is the most prominent thing that they would be remembered for?
Since you’ll be asking these questions soon after their death, be sensitive and empathetic during your interactions.
Go beyond the ordinary
When chatting with the family members, they might share some cliché phrases describing the deceased.
Descriptions such as “his/her smile lit up the room” or “only saw the best in people,” are commonly heard and overused during funerals in Singapore.
Try and avoid these clichés as it might seem impersonal.
Instead, ask questions that would draw specific details to describe the person. For instance, instead of simply saying “he/she was generous to a fault,” elaborate on the exact things they would do. Alternatively, find a story highlighting one prominent positive character about the deceased and creatively blend it into the obituary.
Check for clarity, accuracy and right tonality
To conclude writing the obituary, put yourself in the position of the reader and run through it. Ensure that there are no grammar or spelling issues and that it is easy to read the piece. Check on the accuracy of the facts so it will portray the deceased well, and the tone to reflect the right mood that’s respectful towards the deceased.