Obituary Personal Planning Guide

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We hope you find this service helpful during your time of need and would welcome any comments or suggestions you might have to help us serve our communities better. More than merely a "good-bye" to the deceased, this is a farewell which can, in chronological order, detail the life of the deceased. An obituary also serves to notify the public that an individual has passed away and the funeral service details that are to take place. An obituary's length may be somewhat dictated by the space available in the newspaper where it is to appear.

Your funeral director can help if you have questions about length. Remember: The obituary should appear in print a few days prior to the memorial service. However, it is understandable that in some cases this may not be possible. Naturally, it is important that the full name, along with the location and date of passing, is included so that there is no confusion over whom has died. You may wish to consider placing a photograph with the text.

Usually, a newspaper charges extra if you are thinking of publishing a photograph. If you wish, mention where the deceased resided. This will normally only include the street, city and state. The street number is not normally included for security reasons. In a concise manner, write about the significant events in the life of the deceased.

That’s A Lot Of Information….

This may include the schools he or she attended and any degrees attained. You may also wish to include any of the deceased's significant employment history, military or community service, hobbies or other significant accomplishments or interests of the deceased. It is common to include a list of those who have survived the deceased. The list should include where applicable :.

2. Prepare To Work With A Funeral Director

The surviving relatives listed above may be listed by name. You can choose not to mention others by name, but include them in terms of their relationship to the deceased. In other words, the obituary may mention that the deceased had "five grandchildren; three great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews," etc.

Exceptions to the above rule can be made if, for example, the deceased only had one grandchild or a nephew who was the only person living in the newspaper's distribution area. These exceptions are obviously made on a case-by-case basis. Also, anyone listed as a special friend or companion is not normally included amongst the list of survivors unless the deceased's blood relatives request that it be so. The traditional purpose of the obituary is to list survivors either related through the bloodline or marriage.

At this point, it is appropriate to list the details of the time and location of any funeral services. Such details may include the funeral or memorial service, viewing or visitation hours, and burial when applicable. If you don't know where to start, do read other obituaries to gain an idea of how personal and touching an obituary may be. Do use such terms as "visitation will be from" or "friends may call at the funeral home from". We suggest you don't use the phrase "in lieu of flowers" when memorial donations are to be requested.

Etiquette for the Surviving Family: Planning the Funeral

Instead, we suggest the following wording: "Memorial donations may be made to [name of charity or organization] Do consider sending the obituary to newspapers in other cities e. If you stick with family members, that's one way to limit the number of speakers.

However, the truth is that some friends may have had a closer relationship with the deceased than blood relatives. In that case, you may want to choose one family member and one friend to speak. The risk of having multiple speakers is that they may share the same memories, but from different perspectives.

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It's perfectly okay to ask the speakers what they plan on sharing, to avoid such repetition. Each speaker should share a personal reminiscence about the deceased. This should also avoid unnecessary repetitiveness. If you are asked to deliver a eulogy, consider it an honor. A eulogy should be two to 10 minutes in length. This does not sound like much time when you're attempting to recap a lifetime of love and accomplishment. Keep in mind that you must respect the time of those in attendance, particularly if the funeral is during working hours. In order to keep eulogies within the specified timeframe, ask the speakers to write their eulogy speeches in advance.

Suggest that they practice reading the eulogy, timing it to ensure they don't run too long. A written eulogy also helps avoid rambling and getting off topic or, worse, standing at the pulpit and having one's mind go blank. Remember that a eulogy is a speech that praises the deceased, so avoid any anecdotes that would cast an unfavorable light. While you may be tempted to include them, save any funny but embarrassing anecdotes for private conversations with family and friends after the formal service and burial. Which leads us to There's no reason to avoid using humor.

In fact, a little humor can provide a bit of comic relief, easing the tension that accompanies funerals and death, and also provide real insight into the life of the deceased. If your now-departed Uncle Lou was a fan of off-color jokes, however, save the stand-up routine for after the funeral. You don't want to offend anyone in attendance and, besides, you may be giving the eulogy in a house of worship. While you may think you can handle delivering a eulogy, you never know exactly how you'll feel until you step up to the pulpit and stand in front of the mourners and guests.

Funerals are charged with emotion, and it's natural to have an outpouring of grief. As mentioned above, it's important to practice the eulogy ahead of time. Still, you can never be fully prepared for how you may react once you start to read the eulogy at the service.


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Be sure to bring tissues with you in the event you'll need them. If you do break down, don't be embarrassed. This is to be expected, and applies to both women and men. In fact, a show of emotion simply reveals how much you cherished the person. Simply stop reading and take a few moments to compose yourself.

If you find you can't continue, consider having someone else finish the eulogy for you. You might even want to assign a backup reader beforehand.

Schneider Funeral Directors :: Free Planning Guide

Sometimes, it helps to have a loved one join you on the podium for moral support. Even if that person is not speaking, his or her presence may give you the strength you need to deliver your eulogy. Per the outline above, it's a good idea to mention other family members in your eulogy. This is a must if you're the only family member speaking.

see You can include a few words on each family member's special relationship with the deceased. If those family members will be speaking, be careful that you don't steal their thunder.