Considerations when placing your loved one’s obituary
Who might want to read, share, or even refer back to your loved one’s obituary in the future?
What are the widely-read newspapers in the places where your loved one grew up, where they retired, or where they lived most of their life?
Was your loved one involved with any religious, academic, or civic institutions or organizations that might want to share their obituary?
Do you want to call these places yourself or rely on your funeral home to do so?
After a loved one has passed, you may be in search of places to share your thoughtfully written obituary, so that the person’s various communities can be invited to share in honoring their memory.
Traditionally, we think of obituaries as appearing in local newspapers, but the days of everyone receiving a newspaper at their front door are in the past. This might leave you wondering where and how to publish your remembrance—and trying to research this can feel like an added burden in a time of grief.
The internet, while it may seem informal, provides access to a wide range of places to memorialize the departed, many of which will allow the obituary to stay online in perpetuity.
Finding locations for the obituary
When deciding where to place the obituary, consider who might want to read it, share it, and even refer back to it in the future. At this stage, it might be helpful to reflect on who your loved one might have been important to outside their circle of immediate friends and family. This could include people from their past or folks they’ve lost touch with over the years.
Even though physical newspapers may not be so popular anymore, you should consider publishing an obituary in a local paper, particularly for family and friends who read the newspaper in print. In addition, most local news outlets have websites where they publish obituaries online.
You’ll want to share the obituary in the newspaper where your loved one lived most recently, as well as potentially the newspapers where they grew up, where they retired, or where they lived most of their life. You might also consider areas where there are large concentrations of family members.
You may be able to take care of the whole process online by going to the news outlet’s website and finding its portal for placing an obituary. This usually requires you to create a login or an account, choose which newspapers you’d like it to appear in (if the news outlet runs multiple papers), and select the size and style. Then you can upload the text and a photo, if you wish, and schedule the dates it will run. There might also be a choice for it to be in print and/or online, so you can decide how you’ll share it.
The price of placing the obituary depends largely on the newspaper, length, and other elements like color photos and whether a funeral home is placing the request. Keep in mind that these are usually priced by word or by line, so you might want to use a shorter version that covers the most important elements, balancing the level of detail with the relative cost. Most likely, the obituary will run for a few days and there will be a deadline to resubmit it for the following week.
Note that many newspapers will require a death certificate, and they may ask for contact information for the funeral home you are working with. Families often choose to let the funeral home take care of the whole process for them, and you should consider if this option is right for you. If you decide to do it yourself, be prepared to give this contact info or explain why you are not using a funeral home.
Institutions and organizations
Chances are your loved one touched many people in their life, whether through school, religious institutions, hobby groups, clubs, or civic activities. Sending out an obituary through such organizations can reach these people, while providing an opportunity to share a view of how their communities impacted the person’s life. It’s a meaningful way to express collective grief and reach those with whom you family might not have direct contact.
Your loved one will always live on in your memories; this tribute to them is just one piece of how you will honor them forever.
When submitting an obituary to these kinds of organizations, you’ll want to tailor it to touch on the departed’s connection to that community and highlight any notable relationships or titles. School alumni organizations almost always have a publication that runs obituaries for free, so that’s a good place to start.
From there, you can make a list of other groups with newsletters or regular publications that might feature obituaries. If you aren’t sure, connect with a representative from the organization who can help point you in the right direction.
Internet obituary websites
There are many websites where you can place your full-length obituary, and then provide the link to friends and family who might want to share it with others. Websites such as Ever Loved and Forever Missed allow you to create a basic memorial page for free to remember your loved one, an online remembrance that will live on forever. Often, these types of websites will allow you to upgrade their services for a fee to add more photos, videos, and even music.
Online obituaries are a nice way to memorialize someone, allowing you to customize, add on, and share the material how you’d like. They also provide an opportunity for friends and family to reflect on their grief and experience anywhere you can share a link, like social media or email.
Try not to allow the question of where to place the obituary weigh heavily on you in this time of grief. Ask your relatives for any ideas or additions to your list of places, and set a realistic expectation for what you can spend. Remember, your loved one will always live on in your memories; this tribute to them is just one piece of how you will honor them forever.
You may be eligible for free bereavement support. Empathy can help with everything from funeral planning to estate administration, with step-by-step guidance and real-time expert support. Many people get free premium access to Empathy as a benefit with their life insurance claim. We partner with New York Life, Guardian Life Insurance Company, Bestow, Lemonade, and other leading carriers. When you make your life insurance claim, talk to your representative about whether Empathy is a benefit they offer.
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