When losing a dear one, probably the last thing on your mind is choosing a type of memorial. All you want is to let everyone know as hard as possible, because it is hard enough to cope with the loss, you don’t need people annoying you with details that perhaps you don’t want to talk about. However, you should know that there are three types of memorials you can write: death notice, obituary, and tribute. The first two are useful for recording the basic information of names and dates, being fairly straightforward and easy to complete. The tribute usually requires a bit more time and emotion because it includes your personal reflections on the person who died. Below you can read more information about each type of memorial.
The Death Notice
As creepy as it sounds, the purpose of the death notice is to publish basic information about the who, when and where of an individual’s passing. Think of it as a historical record that gives a descendant enough information to know she has tracked down the obituary of an ancestor. This is the simplest type of memorial. You can post a death notice first and then replace it with a full obituary later.
The format of a death notice is pretty simple: one paragraph, which includes date of death, city of residence, name, and age; name of late/surviving spouse and children. If it is a recent death, name of funeral home can be included.
The purpose of an obituary is to summarize the life of someone who has passed away. It starts with the same basic information you include in a death notice, but it goes on to add details about the deceased one’s hometown, jobs, family members, personal interest, and preferred activities. Details like these can stimulate the memories of friends and relatives who can later add their own thoughts to the obituary and tribute.
Traditionally, the style of an obituary is straightforward, because it only records the basic information. However, it is not necessary to wrote in a formal style. You should feel free to add your own adjectives and adverbs, such as “beloved”, “darling”, caring”, “giving” and so on.
The purpose of a tribute is to talk about the life of someone who died by including personal reflections, opinions and emotions about them. To better understand a tribute, imagine that you have been asked to speak at a memorial service. What would you say about the person? That’s exactly what you would want to put in a tribute, as well. If you have already written an obituary, or at least a death notice, feel free to omit the details of dates, numbers and places. Simply devote your writing to your memories of the person.
The content of what you say is completely up to you. Just remember that the tribute will be read by family members, friends, and other people, so you should focus on the best qualities of the person, on what you saw and experienced. You should be as personal in your writing as you were in your relationship with the deceased.
If your imagination does not serve you at the moment, here are some examples on how to write a tribute. You can tell an anecdote or short story about the person, which can be either serious or humorous, but must show the personality and character of the one you are writing about. You can also describe a trait, paint a picture of the person, describe physical characteristics, remember the person’s habits and catch phrases. Whatever comes to mind that describes the loved one, either inside or out.
It’s not easy to keep alive the memory of a loved one who has passed away. We all want to hold on to all that made them special to us, the wonderful things they did, the way they had of saying things, and why, when they died, we had tears in our eyes. And it’s not just for our sakes that we want to remember them, but also for the sake of their family and friends, and perhaps grandchildren not yet born. After all, that’s what memorials are for.