After losing a wife, you may feel lost. Writing an obituary for her—much less a practical and meaningful one—may seem impossible. However, an obituary doesn’t have to be complicated, and it may help you to figure out exactly what an obituary is and why it matters.
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Below, we’ve provided several steps to help you write your wife’s obituary. Even if you’re not confident in your writing skills or are struggling to find the right words to say, you should be able to craft something that will honor her well.
The following has been tailored specifically for a wife’s obituary, and we also provided several examples to help you discuss the roles that your wife likely fulfilled.
Tip: Writing an obituary might be just one of the tasks you're facing for the first time after losing a spouse. For help prioritizing the rest, check out our post-loss checklist.
Steps for Writing a Wife’s Obituary
If you’re someone that appreciates structure, you should find obituaries easier to write than some other types of death announcements or commemorative speeches, for example. You’ll likely find this resource, how to write an obituary, helpful as well.
1. Prioritize facts first
Obituaries are meant to be sharable, public pieces of writing, and serve as a type of death announcement. Keeping this in mind should help the process go a little more smoothly.
And, of course, you shouldn’t write anything that you’re aren’t comfortable with everyone knowing. You can save the more intimate, emotional elements for what you share at the funeral itself, for example.
One of the easiest ways to understand the difference between a eulogy and an obituary is the fact that a eulogy is more narrative and speech-like. An obituary serves as a way to share facts and practical details and honor the deceased person.
Naturally, a great obituary prioritizes a few key facts at the beginning. You should start with basic biographical information, such as:
- Your wife’s full name
- Her date of death
- How old she was
You may also choose to add a brief statement to provide some more context about who your wife was in your family or community. For example: On Tuesday, August 11, 2020, Linda Rogers — a talented teacher and loving wife, mother, and grandmother — passed away at the age of 88.
2. Summarize your wife’s life
Even though obituaries are meant to be factual, there’s still plenty of wiggle room to incorporate details of your wife’s life. In fact, it’s expected. This is especially true if you’re choosing to publish your wife’s obituary on a digital platform. In digital spaces, you aren’t as limited to word count as you would be in print.
This summary can follow a chronological order starting with her birth, or it can flow in the order of importance. Even ordinary details about a fairly ordinary person can exemplify that she was extraordinary to you.
Some elements to consider would be where she grew up, her educational background, her career path, and any notable achievements, awards, or talents. You may also choose to include some of her favorite mantras, sayings, verses, or catchphrases. Here are some examples of funny obituaries you may be interested in.
3. List surviving relatives
It’s expected for obituaries to have a component where surviving relatives (also known as predeceased family members) are listed. This is mainly to help readers verify if they have a connection to your wife or your family, especially if you have common names.
If this sounds complicated or you’re unsure what order to list your remaining relatives in, don’t worry, it’s pretty easy to follow. The standard way to list relatives is as follows:
- Spouse (meaning yourself, of course)
- Extended family
- Friends (optional)
- Pets (optional)
If you’re interested in learning more about this aspect, here’s another resource specifically about obituary etiquette for predeceased family members.
4. Share details about the funeral, memorial, or related services
Obituaries also serve an important purpose to help you share details about your wife’s funeral, memorial, vigil, burial, or any other service people may be interested in attending.
If you’re hoping to have a large turnout at the funeral or memorial, an obituary is a perfect way to get the word out. That being said, you can also choose to list limited information if you’re expecting a smaller crowd.
The details about services you should include are the date and time of the service, the location, any points of contact, as well as a note about your wife’s legacy.
5. Discuss your wife’s legacy
When it comes to your wife’s legacy, this may sound like a complicated concept. While “legacy” means what your wife is leaving behind or how she impacted the world, the “legacy” aspect of obituaries is also a way to demonstrate this.
At the end of your wife’s obituary, you should detail a cause important to your wife or your family. Friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers can see this information and honor your wife’s memory by donating or even volunteering.
This is a common section where you may see the phrase, “in lieu of flowers,” and you may choose to make this request.
Tip: Another way to honor your wife's legacy is with something you carry with you forever. A memorial diamond from Eterneva uses ashes or hair to create a custom, gorgeous diamond you can wear forever.
6. Appoint someone to proofread your work (optional)
Whether you’re feeling confident about the obituary you’ve written for your wife or not, it may help calm some of your nerves to appoint someone to proofread your work. Having a proofreader for any written work — or any speeches, for that matter — is hardly ever a bad idea.
Be sure to choose someone who will provide honest feedback and be sensitive to your feelings during this time. You should also try to choose someone who knew your wife well. He or she may have an additional tidbit to include to make your obituary even more fitting for your wife.
Obituary Samples for a Wife, Mother, and/or Grandmother
To help you get started on your wife’s obituary or finish out the progress you may have already made, here are some samples for a wife, mother, and/or grandmother. Feel free to take the details out of the examples below and simply substitute your own.
Again, it’s expected to add your own flair to make this obituary unique and meaningful to your wife, not anyone else’s.
Example for a wife without children
“June Martin passed away on Sunday, July 26, 2020, at the age of 91. She passed away in her home in Atlanta, Georgia, after a long battle with cancer. June was a loving wife, friend, and talented artist. She is survived by her husband, Arthur, her brother, Steven, her sister, Terry, and her two dogs, Bailey and Charlie.
“She grew up in Atlanta and received her many degrees from SCAD, where she later served as a professor. By her students, friends, and colleagues, she was considered one of the most esteemed multimedia artists of her time and was described as “before her time.” June’s sense of humor and honest way of approaching life is what her loved ones will miss most. Her family is hosting a public celebration of her life and art in SCAD’s east lawn on Sunday, August 9, 2020, at 2 p.m.…”
Example for a wife, mother, or grandmother
“On the evening of Monday, July 27, 2020, Linda Chan passed away at the age of 65. Linda was a beloved wife to her husband, Lee, and mother to two children, Christina and James. She is also survived by her sister, Eleanor, and her best friend, Regina. Linda was a dear friend to many others and strived to be a friend to all.
“The world will be a little duller without her bright smile and giving heart... In lieu of flowers, her family is asking that donations be made to the American Heart Association. Linda was passionate about the organization and served as a director of volunteer outreach for several years…”
Example for a wife, mother, and grandmother
“Maria Lopez passed away Tuesday, July 28, 2020, at the age of 83 at her home in Tucson, Arizona. She will be greatly missed as a talented chef, wife, mother, and grandmother. Maria is survived by her husband Dave, her sons, Eric and Andrew, and her three grandchildren, Marta, Leah, and David.
“She was well-known in her community for providing meals to food-insecure families and hosting open Thanksgiving dinners in the park near her home. She had a long and colorful career in the restaurant industry throughout Arizona, which connected her to her husband of 52 years…”
Facts Are Meaningful, Too
When writing or reviewing your wife’s obituary, you may feel as though it sounds a bit to-the-point. But, obituaries serve an important purpose in sharing these details with people who loved and cared about your wife, too.
Once your wife's obituary is finished, this is something you can store with her records, in a memory box, or even by her urn. A custom urn from Foreverence helps you remember her passions, interests, and what makes her special. When paired with her heartfelt obituary, you've perfectly captured her legacy.
It’s important to solidify your wife’s place in history by sharing these key facts and focusing on what matters. You always have more freedom to create other pieces of writing that capture how special your wife was to you now that you have the obituary to outline the essentials.