How to Write an Online Obituary

Colorful stories for modern lives

A beautiful obituary is a final gift to your loved one.

When someone you love dies, it feels unbearable for a while. There’s no getting around it. But writing a fresh, unique obituary makes your grief a tiny bit easier to take. It’s a final gift to your loved one. For ideas, check out this blog or write me: melissa@HowtoWriteanOnlineObit.com. I’d love to help. Below you’ll find info not just on obituaries and obituary templates, but also on grief, hospice care, end-of-life apps, podcasts and other technology, funeral crowdfunding, and more. If you find it useful, please leave a comment or drop me a line.

All my best,

 Melissa Jayne Kinsey's signature

Dealing with Drug Overdose in an Obituary

Dealing with Drug Overdose in an Obituary

Every day, a shattered family posts an obituary for a loved one lost to a drug overdose. Today it’s David Mehring’s family in Ohio. David, 47, was “caught up in the Cleveland drug epidemic and perished from an accidental heroin overdose.” In choosing to disclose David’s cause of death, the Mehring family helps humanize the opioid epidemic.

read more
Ordinary People Frozen in Time

Ordinary People Frozen in Time

A.L. Wix was just ordinary people—one of those regular chaps who schlep through life showing up, working hard, and trying to do right by their families. Here’s an excerpt from Mr. Wix’s obituary, written by George B. Ellis and published 100 years ago today in the Butler Weekly Times and the Bates County Record, in Columbia, Missouri. Just a normal bloke, frozen for all time in the digital ether.

read more
Image Orientation for Online Memorials

Image Orientation for Online Memorials

As you put together a virtual memorial, a gallery or slideshow for an online obituary, a memorial Pinterest board, a family tree, or any other memorial or genealogy project, image optimization is important. One aspect of image optimization is image orientation. If...

read more
Do Obituary Templates Shortchange the Dead?

Do Obituary Templates Shortchange the Dead?

If the idea of filling in a few factoids is a lot more appealing to you than the prospect of starting an obituary from scratch, you’re in good company: According to Google Trends, the search term “obituary template” is way more popular than “obituary writing.” If your loved one had a generic personality and lived a cookie-cutter life, by all means—use a boilerplate template. It’ll capture your loved one’s uniqueness with all the joy of a 1040 form, minus the refund.

read more
Toss the Template and Tell the Story

Toss the Template and Tell the Story

The narrative arc of a person's life naturally moves from cradle to grave. We're born, go to school, attend college or learn a trade. Most of us get married. Most of us get divorced. Most of us have children. Some join the military or open a business or change the...

read more

Selfies: Today’s Kodak Moment

Last spring I jumped at a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit Paris. Ticking all the Travelocity boxes, I tromped off to the Louvre one morning to see the Mona Lisa. Passing through corridor after corridor of imposing canvases and statuary, I finally reached the Mona...

read more
Sexism and Stroganoff

Sexism and Stroganoff

The 2013 New York Times obituary for Yvonne Brill, a rocket scientist, infamously opened with a description of her her housewifely charms: ”She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three...

read more
Want to get started right away? If you’re thinking about using an obituary template, I hope you’ll reconsider. Here’s why. Instead, check out the blog entries on this page, watch a video or two, and download your free Quick-Start Guide to Obituary Writing

For ideas and lots of examples from the best obituaries, get your copy of How to Write an Online Obituary or download just the core chapters. These chapters give you advice on where to begin, what to include, how to come up with a quick draft, and how to turn it into a tribute people will share and remember. Click Learn More for details.

“The author writes in a colorful, cajoling prose that keeps things light…A thorough, accessible obit-creation manual.” 

Kirkus Reviews

Click the arrows to browse the video gallery.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Click the arrows to browse the video gallery.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Click the arrows to browse the video gallery.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Click the arrows to browse the video gallery.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Click the arrows to browse the video gallery.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Click the arrows to browse the video gallery.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel!