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How to Write an Obituary for a Mother

author image Joshua Duvauchelle
Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.
How to Write an Obituary for a Mother
A bouquet of white roses wrapped in a newspaper. Photo Credit: TongRo Images/TongRo Images/Getty Images

Your mother's obituary announces her death and funeral arrangements to others through local newspapers and other media, but it's much more than just an announcement. It's also a chance for you to celebrate her life and her memory, and to help that memory live on in the reader's mind. Writing an obituary can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming.

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The Announcement

All obituaries start with the announcement that someone has passed away. At a minimum, include your mom's full name, along with any nicknames she might also have been known by, her age and the date, time and location of the death. Some families also include the cause of death, though it is not required. If the newspaper or funeral home accepts images, inserting a photo of your mother can be a nice touch. Choose a photo that shows your mom doing something she loved or was known for, such as gardening.

The Bio

In the second paragraph of your mom's obituary, add biographical information. This commonly includes her birthplace, her birth date and her parent's names.

The Legacy

Since an obituary should be more than just a death announcement, you can then add some personal flavor as you share highlights from your mom's life story. Use as many paragraphs as necessary to share what's on your heart, though keep in mind that some newspapers charge more depending on how long the obituary is. For many children, this is one of the most important parts of the obituary because this is where their mother's life is celebrated and remembered in writing. Make a list of some of your favorite memories of your mother, and add them to the obituary if they help show your mom's accomplishments, personality or values.

The Survivors

As you approach the end of the obituary, add a list of family members who have passed away before your mom, as well as those who have survived her. For example, your new paragraph could start with a statement such as, "She was preceded in death by," followed by the names of immediate family members that have passed away first. Then, include a list of close family members who have been left behind. For example, you could say, "She is survived by," and include a list of her surviving children, such as yourself.

The Memorial and Conclusion

End your mother's obituary with her funeral or memorial service information if you want to publicly invite people. Specifics to include are the date, time and place where your mom's funeral will be held. You might also include where the grave site will be. Stevenson & Sons Funeral Homes in Montana recommends wrapping up this section with a special note of thanks to people or organizations that played an important role in your mom's last few moments, such as the name of her care home or the name of a caregiver.

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