Skip to main content
¿Qué es un obituario y cómo publicarlo?

What is an obituary and how is it published?

What is an obituary? Definition and meaning

According to the RAE (Real Academia Española), an obituary is the ‘parish book in which the death and burial of someone are recorded’. But it also has other meanings such as the ‘register of the anniversary of death’, ‘necrology’ or ‘necrology section of a newspaper’.

It is perhaps this last meaning of the term obituary that is most familiar to us. It refers to a commentary on a news item about a person who has recently died, providing context and public significance to the life of that person.

An obituary is not the same as a death notice. An obituary seeks to pay tribute to the deceased and is longer, whereas a death notice is limited to reporting as briefly as possible on the death of a person, including, for example, details of the funeral or memorial service.

Step-by-step process for publishing an obituary

Now that we are familiar with what an obituary is and what it means, we will now look at what you need to do in order to publish an obituary. Let's take it step by step.

Gathering essential information

An obituary is a personal and moving text which involves sharing stories and achievements of the deceased person. The aim is to reflect and pay tribute to the life of our loved one, acknowledging their importance.

Before writing the obituary, we should therefore gather as much information as possible about the person which goes beyond their basic details. We should be aiming to look at their life in depth. This will include things like what they did, what their interests were, where they settled and how they left their mark.

Writing and revising

The next step is to write the text, giving it a clear structure with a logical and natural order. Once this has been done, it is essential to revise and edit the text because, as the aim is to publish it so that others can learn about the life of the deceased, it is important that the information is accurate and well written.

Selecting the appropriate media for publication

Once you have your final version of the obituary, you need to decide where you want it to be published. There are several media options available including local press, funeral service websites and specialised online platforms.

When making your decision, you should consider both the cost and the timeframe for publishing the obituary.

Submission and confirmation of publication

Finally, after submitting your obituary to the appropriate media outlet, you need to make sure that your text has been published. Ask for confirmation as to when it will be available for the public to read and follow this up to make sure it is published.

How to write a memorable obituary?

You can now see what an obituary is and its importance when it comes to communicating the special significance of our loved one. That is why choosing the right words is essential if we want to accurately convey what that person meant in life to those who knew them. So how do you write a good obituary? Here are some basic guidelines.

Essential elements to include

In an obituary you must organise your ideas well, choose a clear structure and include information that will help people get to know the deceased person. Therefore, your text should include elements such as:

  • Information about the death (place, date, etc).
  • A brief biography.
  • Details about their life: family, hobbies, achievements, etc.
  • Anecdotes.
  • Quotes that the person used.
  • Your condolences (especially if the family has asked you to write the obituary).

The text should have a logical order and be easy to read so that the ideas are clear.

Tips for writing an effective obituary

To write an obituary that really communicates what you want to express, you need to:

  • Write respectfully and sensitively about the person.
  • Include anecdotes or humorous touches that reflect the personality of the deceased.
  • Include information about their biography, achievements, hobbies or characteristic quotes.

Choose the right tone for the obituary, always considering the family and those who may be interested in reading about the life of the deceased.

Examples of well-written obituaries

There are many examples of obituaries that you can draw on when writing your text. Here are some ideas to help you structure your obituary:

  • Example 1:

"It is with deep sorrow that we bid farewell to Antonia Guerrero, aged 90, who passed away surrounded by her six children. She was a brave, determined and hard-working woman, even though life did not always make it easy for her.

Antonia will be fondly remembered by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her final farewell took place in her hometown, attended by all those neighbours who loved and cared for her. Her good humour will remain with her as a legacy and she will never be forgotten".

  • Example 2:

"Today we say goodbye to José García, a loving father who was always there for his family. He was a kind and devoted man, hardworking and generous, who dedicated his life to helping others. Today we bid him farewell with sadness but in the knowledge that his altruistic spirit will be an example to those who stood by his side. Rest in peace, my friend".