How to Write an Obituary for Someone Who Committed Suicide

by Contributor

Having the task of writing an obituary for a loved one who has committed suicide is probably one of the most difficult challenges you can face in life. The writing of an obituary often is done by the funeral home, but you also can write one yourself for the local paper and the funeral program.

Consider beginning the obituary with a simple statement such as "John Doe passed away at his home on May 1, 2011." You can leave out the location, if need be. This is all that is needed to be stated.

Decide whether mentioning the death as a suicide might be worthwhile. This should be something you discuss with other family members. While it is acceptable to not mention the cause of death, you also might want to discuss whether mentioning it briefly might help the loved ones of future victims and raise awareness of an issue that often is much more prevalent than most people might think.

Include certain information that is standard in an obituary. List the date and place of birth and parents. Include schools, employment, military service, achievements, marriages, children, other immediate surviving family members, and those immediate family members who have proceeded him in death. You also need to include the funeral date.

Stay focused on the positive aspects of the person's life. A paragraph about accomplishments, interests, or special attributes always is appropriate. This could include mention of the suicide in a brief way, such as "John will always be remembered for his courage during difficult times, and even though he took his life we know he is at rest (without pain) now."

Consider suggesting a donation to a suicide prevention group, hot line, or the like. This will leave a positive legacy for the loved one.

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