How to Write an Obituary for Your Sister + Examples

Updated

You’ve come to the right place. We cover most, if not all, elements of an obituary so you can write a meaningful obituary for your sister. If you don’t know where to start, we’re going to walk you through some of the major elements and then offer a few examples.

Jump ahead to these sections:

Gather with friends and family during these days of great sorrow. A warm hug, some shared stories, and the support of loved ones will help. Take a few cues from them if you get stuck writing or don’t know how much to put in a listing. 

What Should You Include in an Obituary for a Sister?

In addition to such things as a name, age, geographic location, and more, you can also add some elements that reflect on your sister’s personality, such as the use of quotes.

Quotes about life and philosophy

“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart." – Roy T. Bennet

If your sister was one of the lucky ones, she embraced every moment of change with an open mind. Failures became opportunities. Setbacks were times to regroup. And, in no way would she ever let the “status quo” dictate her life.

"It's a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack." – Germany Kent

Dedication to yourself and your mental health gets you here. If your sister lived by this mantra, you'd know it because she lived a life of gratitude, not regret.

"We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking." – Santosh Kalwar

Many times, we suffer the same ills of our forefathers. Perhaps your sister was different and carved her journey from a new set of standards. 

Quotes with humor

“I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal." – Jane Austen

Maybe your sister didn't attain the level of a misanthrope, but she could have been known for just a general disdain of people outside of her circle.

"I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.” – Robin Williams

Indeed, a true statement. And it's perfect for that sister who was perfectly okay spending her days within her thoughts, books, and work as opposed to the cacophony of people.

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." – e. e. cummings

Was your sister always happy? Did she love to laugh, throwing her head back in the most abundantly joyful way? Then this quote is perfect for her.

Quotes about religion or spirituality

"I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?" – John Lennon

Some sisters are effervescent, filled with spirit, ceaseless energy, and a desire to know everything about life, love, and happiness. Those same people generally accept reality for what it is and leave doors open for what it could become.

"Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

With so many lessons, there's little time to furnish them all. Emerson's meaning is generous to that time limit, suggesting that you enjoy what’s loudest, what’s most important to you.

"And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." – Anaïs Nin

We can stay in the shadows of other opinions, demands, or perfectly curated holes. Or you can rise and blossom. A sister with this quality shattered ceilings, traveled every distance and fought for her place at the table.

"And when your soul, the flame, the spark, meets with the divine fuel that is so pure and so strong, it results in immense enlightenment: the enlightenment of God. Light upon light, Noorun Alaa Noor." – Zain Hashmi

Suppose your sister’s life was a long, spiritual journey. Choose this quote.

Quotes from movies, books, and music

"A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible." – Neo, The Matrix

Some sisters are boundless and unencumbered by the rules put on them. Neo’s quote is for that sister.

"Don't want nobody next to me / I just want a ticket outta town / A look around / And a safe touch down." – Erykah Badu

In context, the song is about liberation from many things. Interpret it for your sister in a way that says that her rebirth was formidable.

"Sometimes good came out of hurt, compensation came out of pain. He gave with one hand, and He took with the other." – Lalita Tademy

If your sister saw life in more ways than its gift of pain, this quote might work best.

Steps for Writing an Obituary for Your Sister

Let's get started on how to write an obituary for a sister by including a few elements. Whether or not you use all of them is up to you. 

Name and nickname

Start with a full name and a nickname. These are the essential attributes of an obituary. One, the full name offers a record to identify your sister. The full name use also offers complete clarity, so people aren't confused about someone with a similar name.

Using a nickname works for those who were on friendly terms with your sister but who may not have known she had a formal birth name. 

Age

Insert your sister's age into the obituary as its key in helping others identify her while serving as another record of her life. Her age also highlights her lifetime on this earth. People can recognize that she lived through significant historical events and more.

Location of residence

Adding a location of residence matters for those who knew your sister when she was in her formative years. This allows them to either stop by with condolences or reach out to a funeral home to offer flowers, cards, or support at the time of funeral service.

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Life summary

Next, life summaries can be as short or long as is necessary. Include only the things that are necessary to explain her journey and timeline, too. Too often, people include things they'll regret later, so consider what you'd like to read not only in the coming weeks but also in the coming years.

A favorite quote

Insert a favorite quote in your sister's obituary. This can be anything from philosophy and religion to humor or something from a favorite book or song.

The purpose of a quote is to offer a look into her life but not give away the details.

Surviving family

Listing surviving family members is commonplace in obituaries. It'll offer readers the connections and links necessary when offering condolences. 

However, offering the names of surviving family information can be a bit tricky these days. Increasingly, we're to be mindful of groups that like to scam survivors or people with bad intentions.

Donations

Finally, add a donation. Often, families will suggest donations to replace floral and food gifts. The agencies and recipients likely connect through such things as volunteerism, passion, or even an illness without a cure.

Example Obituaries for a Sister

Now that you know which elements can be included and which ones are important, look at these sample obituary templates to copy, paste, and edit. It's okay to be as explicit or as vague as you would like.

Example obituary for an older sister

Mariah "Marnie" Anne Marshall, 1991–2021

Today, our hearts are broken as we all mourn the loss of our beloved older sister, Marnie. Her bright light and big heart left us too soon, but we will remember her warmth, love, and generosity. 

Marnie taught us all some fundamental lessons while she made her short journey through life. Of which, the most memorable was to develop a sense of impenetrable gratitude. She would say, “It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”

We will miss our big sister, as will those she impacted throughout her life, from friends and family to the work she did with Pasado’s Safe Haven. Marnie's passions involved caring for those animals, and they are sure to miss her morning songs through the valley.

Our family will be holding a private ceremony and a public celebration of her life. To join, please contact the Mayer Funeral Home for details. We also request that in place of flowers, you donate to Pasado's in her name. 

Example obituary for a younger sister

Sarah Rae Downs, 2000–2021

"A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible.” – Neo, The Matrix

Sarah’s life was tragically short. Throughout most of her life, she struggled with a disease she often conquered. The oldest of five, she often mothered us all – a necessary position in a home without one.

Until the end, Sarah was nothing if not joyful. We will all greatly miss her smile and adventuresome spirit. But now, we are grateful that she knows what it's like to be genuinely unbound without disease, pain, or treatment. 

No funeral or services will be held at this time. If you would like to donate, please contribute to Children's Hospital.

Example obituary for a twin sister

Toni Andrea "Andy" Bowers tragically died in a head-on motor vehicle collision on Saturday, November 6, 2021. 

Andy is survived by her partner (Sam), daughter (Sierra), parents (Scott and Cynthia), twin sister (Michaela), and her beloved doodle (Gracie).  

At this time, the family requests their privacy. 

Example obituary for a sister-in-law

Julie Bradshaw, d. August 2021

Our dearest Julie passed away at Green Hospital from complications with pneumonia. Julie was much more than our sister-in-law. She readily became family after meeting our brother, Mike, in high school. Although Mike passed on years ago, Julie never left our hearts or our side.

We are so grateful for the time, laughter, and love we've shared with Julie. We warmly invite her family and friends to celebrate her life this Saturday, August 14, at 2:00 p.m. at Disciples Hall. Bring a smile and a story. All are welcome.

Where Can You Post or Submit an Obituary for a Sister?

Here are a few online memorial site options that are available for posting or submitting an obituary for your sister. Choose what works for you and your family.

Newspaper

The local or hometown newspaper is the most commonly utilized location for obituaries. It's the most traditional location, too. Plus, by posting in a newspaper, you're likely to distribute the information to more people in your community over a short time. 

Local, small-town newspapers nominally charge for a short write-up and a photo. When you contact the editor, check out the newspaper guidelines, whether or not they share with an online memorial site, and the length of time the obituary will be available.

Online memorial website

Online memorial websites are available on a few, varied pay scales such as:

  • Free for a short run
  • Nominal, one-time fee for up to six months
  • Reasonable, one-time fee for a year
  • Larger, one-time fee for lifetime

What's suitable for your family looks different for all families, so just choose what works best for your loved ones and their needs.

Social media pages

Social media pages vary, too. In some cases, such as Instagram, you'll create a post with a picture and a short story. The word count will restrict you, but timeframes won't. Unfortunately, the post will just get buried in your history over time.

In other cases, like on Facebook, you'll create a story. Again, you can use a picture or series of them and write a memorial post to accompany it. Many people will have the opportunity to comment, share stories and photos, or give their condolences. The benefit of a Facebook posting is that you can pin the story to the top of your profile to avoid getting lost in your history.

Personal website

You can easily create a personal website and for free. Several hosts offer this service, but you'll have to be a bit creative. Luckily, some of these sites also support an automatic website generator. 

All you'll have to do is choose a topic, theme, and color scheme, and the rest is relatively self-explanatory.

Saying Goodbye to Your Sister

Next, take a look at how to write a eulogy for your sister. The elements and structure differ from an obituary. Instead of writing about her cause of death, you’ll share the wonderful story of her life.

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