Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Obituary & Death Notice

The obituary and death notice are the very first written facts about the death of your husband that you'll most likely deal with.

They both appear in the local newspaper, but did you know they are not the same?

The Death Notice looks sort of like a classified ad. It's in small print, and you must pay for it, usually by the inch of space. It can cost hundreds of dollars. Its for the public record, legalities, geneologies, and stuff like that. It's part of the cost of dying and there's no way around it except to make it as short as possible. The funeral home might include this in their services. Funeral homes might also issue a separate death notice to announce time of calling hours, the funeral or memorial service and the burial, but that's separate from the public death notice.

An obituary might or might not cost any money. It's a newspaper article highlighting a person's accomplishments and contributions to society. An obituary is more like "news," and a newspaper prints these as space allows. Sometimes the funeral plans and a photo are included, sometimes not. Small town newspapers are usually more apt to print everyone's obituary. The front page headlines and the obituaries are (believe it or not) the first things people read most often.

Obituaries and death notices are often a source of confusion, regret, guilt and emotional baggage! Names get spelled wrong, important family members are not mentioned, accomplishments are overlooked . . . . Obituaries and death notices should start with a capital T for Trouble! Next week we'll look at some ways to get over the hurtful missteps of these written documents.


  1. wow, I didn't put anything in the paper. I was not even thinking that was something important to do. I guess I wasn't to concerned what strangers thought about his death since Orlando is a huge area. I suppose I could have written what an awesome man he was and how he loved Jesus. I was to busy planning an awesome memorial party, that was attended by our many Disney cast members friends and family. I guess it is just a matter of what is a priority, there are so many things on your plate at that time, we have to pick and choose what gets our time and attention.

  2. I like your outlook, Linda, and you make a good point about living in a large city. With our ever-moving society, I don't think the newspaper provides the local connection for people like it used to, or like it does in smaller towns. It sounds like everyone who needed to be there was informed and able to attend your husband's memorial, and that's the important thing. Thanks for your insight!


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