Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How to write a child's obituary

An obituary is meant to be a celebration of a life and one last chance to highlight a person's accomplishments. This, of course, is not possible when a child has passed away. There are no accomplishments to celebrate, only the heartbreaking pain of a precious child that has been taken away far too soon. Your child's obituary should honour and and celebrate their life and inform the community of your heartbreaking loss.

Below I have put together some things to help you write an obituary for your child. If you are finding it overwhelming, most funeral directors provide an obituary writing service. However they will still require most of the information from you.

Contact your local newspaper and request the costs involved for placing an obituary. Ask how many words or lines are included, if you can include a photo and any other restrictions.

Begin the obituary with your child's name and date of death. Some words you may like to use include; "passed away," "left this world," "left footprints on our hearts", "playing with the angels", or "earned his/her angel wings", "bud on Earth, to bloom in Heaven". They are much kinder terms and more appropriate for a small child than "died". Some families like to include phrases like, "forever loved", "beloved child of" or "much wanted baby".

Decide what other information you want to include. Do you want to mention when your child passed away, why your child passed away, or where they passed away. This is a very personal decision. Talk about your child, the time you spent with them, how your child looked. Let people know that you will always think of your child, and that they shouldn't be afraid to mention their name.

Include family member's in your child's obituary that will live on, to honour and remember your child's life. Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other close family member's. You may also want to include any family member's that have passed away before your child. Some common phrases you can use include "preceded by", or "Joining Heaven with".

Include details regarding the funeral or memorial service. Date, time, location, and any special requests. You may request people attending wear a particular colour "We kindly request all attending the funeral to wear blue in memory of our sweet boy". You may also like to nominate a charity if you would prefer to receive donations in lieu of funeral flowers, or to have donations made in his/her memory. This is especially important if your child died of an illness or congenital abnormality and you want to help other children with the same condition or support an organisation that has provided you with support following your loss.


  1. Whilst this is a heartbreaking post Bec and I have a tear in my eye as I read it, the fact that you are providing *practical*, sensitive and honest advice to families is a wonderful and very giving thing for you to do.

    Thank you for writing it.

  2. Thanks Kate, all this information is stuff I have written and added to our website. Im going to start sharing it more on my blog over the coming weeks.