Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Writing their life story important in local newspapers

It’s something nobody likes to think about. Writing an obituary for a loved one is probably the least desirable thing to do, especially in a time of grieving.

For years your local community newspaper has published obituaries detailing the lives of people who have passed on. They often accompany a photo of the family’s choice to go with the written word. For the sake of full disclosure, our newspaper charges families to print obituaries, though it’s a very small percentage of overall revenue for the paper.

People may question the importance of an obituary or may not feel up to the task of writing one in the midst of everything going on. However, my experience has been that many do not realize how important and actually beneficial an obituary can be to the family.

First of all, it helps to acknowledge the loss. Because the first stage of grief is denial, acknowledging the death in writing an obituary can be a first step towards acceptance and healing.

Obituaries also allow you to express the pain you are feeling. Psychologists often talk about the therapeutic benefits of writing. Expressing yourself in writing gives you the time to think through your feelings.

They also give you the opportunity to reminisce and celebrate their life. You look back on the life of your loved one, from birth until their passing, at everything they accomplished, what they celebrated, your favorite memories together and the lives they touched. It also enlists the aid of the community. When dealing with death, your family will need support.

While you may know about all the things I’ve outlined to this point, here’s one very important fact that people forget about: the obituary adds a page to your family’s history. I’ve seen it happen recently in the deaths of some people around the area. We had a case in particular where a family decided to not run the obituary in our newspaper because the funeral service was going to take place before our publication would come out.

It may not seem important now, but an obituary is vital to maintaining your family’s history. Genealogists and people looking to research their family history depend on obituaries to learn about family members that have passed, their children, spouses, parents, dates and places of birth, as well as the type of people they were. By not writing an obituary and having it placed in the local newspaper, you may be depriving future generations from ever getting to know their ancestor.

I can’t tell you how many times I have had family members come into our newspaper office over the years wanting to look through our old bound books of past newspapers. The reason? So they can look up obituaries for family history. I am always thrilled when they find the information they are looking for. It’s just another reason why we publish a community newspaper.

However, our newspaper is only as good as the information we receive. You can help by publishing obituaries of your loved ones in the local newspaper. You may not care now, but think of it in this way. You will be doing a huge favor for a family member 50 or 100 years or even longer from now.  

Before you decide to forgo writing an obituary for your loved one, carefully consider the benefits it can provide to the family. It is one way to remember your loved one and to ensure their memory is carried on to future generations.

While I don’t wish anyone dies, I hope family members will go in hot pursuit of publishing obituaries in the local newspaper when the need arises.


See full story in this week’s print edition or subscribe online. Please subscribe here or current subscribers can login here.

Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944


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