Losing a loved one is one of the most heart-wrenching experiences anyone can go through. However, losing a mother is an entirely different level of grief. It’s something most of us never get to prepare for, purely because we sort of believe our moms will live forever. In the end, though, everyone dies, and before you know it or even realize it, you’re googling how to write an obituary for your mother.
Grief easily encompasses us when our mother dies. It feels like we cannot breathe, think clearly, or even begin to fathom how we will ever live without her. Nevertheless, arrangements have to be made, and you still have to plan the funeral. On top of that, you are the one who has to figure out how to write an obituary for your mother without breaking into tears with each line.
To help you go through this grieving stage a bit easier, we’ve decided to outline what exactly an obituary is, what it should contain, and how you can write one that will celebrate your mother’s life instead of focusing on the pain and grief only. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have an idea of how to pay your last respects to the woman who meant so much to you — and how to move on with your life.
How to write an obituary for your mother: what does an obituary stand for?
For an in-depth guide on writing an obituary for your Mother Click Below.
Unlike a simple death notice, writing an obituary entails more words and more feelings. An obituary is, by all accounts, an announcement that we can send to the local newspapers to notify others of the death of a loved one. It is a piece of writing that may not have the same artistic value books have. However, what it does contain is a whole lot of love.
How to write an obituary for your mother: what should we include?
Before learning how to write an obituary for your mother, it’s important to figure out a few simple technical details. You have to know all the crucial parts to mention, as well as get all your facts straight. Your mother deserves to be remembered properly, that’s certain. But you cannot achieve that by writing an obituary at the last minute or by misspelling some of the names.
The basic parts of an obituary
The announcement of the death
Of course, one of the most important parts of writing an obituary is getting all the information regarding the death out of the way first. Therefore, the first part is a simple announcement of the death of a loved one.
Still, there are a few parts you need to be mindful of here as well. For instance, you cannot just write, “My mother, Vicky Harrison, died on Saturday in her sleep.” You have to elaborate a bit, and ensure that you’re using third person narrative throughout the entire obituary. Furthermore, you have to write your mother’s full name, any nicknames she was known for, the time and place of death, as well as her age and where she was from.
“Vicky Harrison, 79, from Atlanta, Georgia, died peacefully in her sleep on May 20, 2019, at her family home in Atlanta, surrounded by her friends and loved ones.”
If we don’t want to mention how our mother died, we don’t have to. That is a rather touchy subject for some. It may even evoke feelings of extreme pain and sadness. However, it can also be quite liberating to know someone died peacefully in their sleep.
Once the death is announced, we can then say who our mother was predeceased by, if any family members died before her.
A short biography
After the announcement of the death, the next part you’ll have to deal with if you want to know how to write an obituary for your mother is her biography.
Now, this won’t be a full biography, as most newspapers won’t be able to print it if it’s two pages long. It has to be short and sweet, yet full of value and information for both the readers and the family members.
Again, we have to keep up with the third person narrative here. We must never make the obituary about us. It has to focus solely on the deceased loved one and their achievements.
The logical way of writing an obituary is to start with early childhood and slowly go from there. For example, we will first mention where our mother grew up, which schools she attended, and what she did for a living.
The legacy left behind
One of the most important parts you’ll come across while figuring out how to write an obituary for your mother is the legacy part. This section will talk about what she has left behind, as well as what she achieved in her life.
Here, you can let your creative juices flow and give in to your feelings. If your mother had any special hobbies, was a member of certain clubs or was the best homemaker in the world — you can use all of that. Paint a picture of how glorious your mother was, how thoughtful she always tried to be, and how you are now the best version of yourself because of her. Aim to celebrate her life rather than make everyone weep. Choose to speak in a lively tone, as that will help others realize your mother is in a better place now.
Survivors of the loved one
This section can start with a list of those who died before our mother. To separate these two pieces of information a bit, we decided to include that at the beginning. Either way, know that there isn’t a real formula for how to write an obituary for your mother. Following a logical sequence is always desirable, of course, but you can make it your own.
In this part of the obituary, you can list those who your mother has left behind. Start with the immediate family and go from there. If there are many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, though, it might be a good idea not to list them all by name. It would take up too much space.
Funeral and memorial information
One of the last parts of the obituary is the section where you will say where the funeral will be held, give information about the memorial service, and where the gravesite will be. Remember to put the right date and time, as those who read the newspapers may want to come as well.
Thank you notes
Although optional, the section where we thank, for example, our mother’s caregiver or her retirement home adds a nice touch to the obituary. We should always remember those who have made our mother’s last moments meaningful and peaceful. Mentioning them is what she would have wanted, so don’t be afraid to express gratitude here.
Now, as mentioned, the legacy part of the obituary is the section where you can make sure everyone remembers your mother for the woman that she was. Therefore, you can make it your own and write about anything and everything you’d like.
When you google how to write an obituary for your mother, you’ll come across templates that offer just the basic ideas for that section. Instead of those, why not try some of the ones we’ve picked out? We are certain these would make your mother proud of you, and each would be a nice way to paint a beautiful picture of how interesting and full of life she was.
If our parents had a wonderful love story that was the very essence of their relationship, we could use that to write a beautiful legacy section. We can mention how loved our mother was and how much she loved both our father and all her children.
Furthermore, there’s no reason not to add a few interesting details and anecdotes here and there. After all, an obituary is much more than a simple announcement of one’s death. It should help people realize what a loss that is for the whole world, not just the immediate family and our mother’s beloved community.
Hobbies and interests
One of the most interesting legacy sections is the one that reflects on our mother’s character, hobbies, and interests. What we do in our spare time tends to reveal who we are. Therefore, if our mother loved pottery, it’s a great idea to say how she first got into it and what it meant for her. Likewise, if she was an avid gardener, we can talk about how flowers were her other children; how she devoted her life to helping something grow from the ground with all her knowledge, skills and love.
Meaningful examples of the loved one’s virtues
Every mother out there has a few virtues that show the very essence of her being. Whether it was her natural calmness or the way she listened to people, it would be a nice touch if we could focus on such virtues. That way, anyone who reads the obituary will have a greater understanding of what our mother meant to us and the world. They will know how great of a woman she was, what her best qualities were, and why this is a loss no one will ever forget.
Finally, some people are often driven by passions and activities they love taking part in. Therefore, if our mother was an avid supporter of women’s rights, we ought to mention that. After all, it was certainly one of her most defining traits. Likewise, if she loved animals and was a fervent vegan who knew how much animals suffered at the hands of men, we can give her a proper homage by mentioning how she fought for that cause.
1. Research well
Of course, when our mother dies, we will be stricken by grief most of the time. It will be hard not to think about her passing, which means writing anything substantial will prove to be tricky. Because of that, we ought to first gather our thoughts by doing our research.
Now, most of the things we’ve mentioned will be common knowledge by the time you start writing the obituary. However, it doesn’t hurt to find out more about your mother’s life. Talk to family members and friends to gain a better insight into who your mother was.
It might come as a shock to hear how many things your mother might have never mentioned, as she didn’t deem them all that important. Nevertheless, they are crucial for the obituary as they speak of her character and traits.
Additionally, get all your facts straight regarding the funeral and memorial service. You need to know the exact dates, as well as when the service will start. Use your computer to write the obituary and create a separate document where you can draft it. Write out everything you must mention and go from there.
2. Decide on the length of the obituary
Now, of course, most of us would love to let our creative juices flow and write the best obituary ever. However, there is a limit, and it mostly depends on how much money we can set aside for the obituary. What’s more, certain publications release many articles each day, so they might not have enough space for a lengthy obituary.
Because of that, aim to be as concise as possible, but don’t leave out important details or botch the obituary. You still want to tell a wonderful story about your mother’s life!
3. Start with the announcement and try to keep it as simple as possible
There is no need to embellish the technical details — you want everyone to be on the same page regarding the most pertinent information. Therefore, aim to announce the death in the simplest way possible, without too many adjectives or additions. Once you get to the legacy section, you can let go a bit and say what’s really on your mind.
4. Provide a biographical sketch
Follow a logical sequence and make sure you have all the information regarding your mother’s childhood, school years, etc. Don’t botch the names of the schools, as it will be quite noticeable and make you feel horrible. Additionally, aim to show how much she achieved in her life by listing things she was most proud of.
5. Write what your mother was all about
This part is the value section of the obituary. It is where we can draw a picture of what our mother was like and why it matters for everyone to know that she died.
The legacy section should contain not just facts but also our reflections. Of course, we have to maintain a third person narrative. But, that doesn’t mean we cannot show our feelings as well.
6. List the surviving family members in birth order
As mentioned, this is where we can start listing the surviving family members. As a general rule of thumb, the immediate family comes first. Therefore, we should first list our father if he’s alive, as well as our brothers and sisters. Then, we can follow that with a list of the closest family members who will miss our mother dearly.
7. Provide information on the funeral and memorial service
Someone might open the newspapers, see that our mother died and decide they want to pay their last respects. Perhaps they knew her way back in the day, and suddenly, all the great memories of her have started to flood in.
Thus, it’s of the utmost importance to make sure this part of the obituary is entirely correct. Remember to spell everything perfectly and double-check your facts. This part will serve as a guideline for those who wish to attend the service and bid a last farewell.
8. If you have someone to thank, now is the time
If we also have someone to thank, like a hospice she was in before her death or even her caregivers and doctors, this is where we can do it.
Keep it short but sweet, but don’t forget to show your gratitude. These people were the ones who your mother mostly spent time with during her last days. Some of them knew her medical history by heart, while others helped her get dressed in the morning. In the end, they are not your family — but they still tried to make her life a bit better at some point.
Also, if you decide to create an online guestbook, you can write here the website where people can go to leave their condolences. That part is optional, but it is still a nice touch and a great way to keep the memory of your mother alive, somewhere in the online world.
How to write an obituary for your mother: tips for making the writing process a bit easier
Before we leave you to your writing agenda, here are a few tips you should keep in mind while crafting the obituary. Though most of them might seem a bit obvious, in times of grief, anything is possible. Everyone makes mistakes, but not all of them notice them in time.
Leave all the personal feuds aside
One of the things we should avoid while writing obituaries for our loved ones is the anger or resentment we feel towards other family members. Now is not the time to open old wounds or spark new disagreements. Everyone is grieving in their way, but we won’t get anywhere if we decide to leave a family member out of the obituary on purpose. We must include everyone our mother cared for, as that is what she would have wanted.
Watch out for common errors — remember to proofread, edit and revise the obituary
Some people are just not that great at writing or know the importance of editing. Therefore, they might forget to read what they’ve written, leaving behind a myriad of errors that could stain the memory of their mother and perhaps even make some family members chuckle.
So, to avoid that, it’s important to reread the obituary and make small edits. Sometimes, certain sentences sound better when we simplify them. Others, however, might need a few more words, as we might have missed the entire point. Either way, before sending the obituary to be published, we have to proofread for common spelling and punctuation errors. Then, we ought to edit, revise, and proofread again for good measure.
Try to be lively — don’t dwell on the pain too much
Though pain and grief will keep flooding us as we’re writing the obituary, we have to try not to make everyone depressed. Yes, your mother died — but she’s in a much better place, right? She’s not suffering anymore, and whatever comes after death, she’s a lot happier there. So, keep that in mind while writing — don’t dwell on your pain too much. Instead, celebrate the life your mother lived and pay your last respects as best as you can.
Learning how to write an obituary for your mother is one of those things you probably never imagined you would have to do one day. It always felt so far away, like there would never be a need for it.
Alas, everyone passes at some point. If our mother dies, the only thing we can do is tell people how great of a woman she was. We ought to tell a story about how she helped us become who we are now, and how lost we’ll be without her advice, thoughts, and opinions.
Writing an obituary for your mother will be hard, there’s no doubt about it. But, remember that wherever she is, she is most certainly proud of you and what you’re doing for her. Just keep that in mind, and the obituary will be the best piece of writing you’ve ever produced.