Writing An Obituary For Mother

A Complete How-To Guide To Honoring Mom

Writing an obituary can feel like a daunting task. You are creating and putting out into the world a sweeping and eternal statement about your loved one. How on earth can you sum up someone’s life into a short passage? What do you include and what do you leave out? How do you convey that person’s importance in words at all?

We are here to help you answer these and any other questions that may be swirling around in your mind as you sit down to try and tackle this difficult task—a task that can become increasingly tough when the person you are writing an obituary for is someone as close to you as your mother. Here’s a detailed look at what topics we will cover in this article:

  • Why are obituaries about a mother important?
  • Important Tips When Writing an Obituary for Mothers
  • What kind of information should you include in an obituary for a mother?
  • Tips for Proofreading and Editing the Obituary
  • Where should you publish your mother’s obituary?
  • FAQs
  • Conclusion

Why Are Obituaries About A Mother Important?

Obituaries serve many purposes. It is a way for a person’s memory and legacy to live on eternally, and a way to express their life to the people who loved them, as well as family members who perhaps never got the chance to meet them. Obituaries also provide some closure and solace to those who loved the deceased. 

Mothers hold great legacies in our lives, and even though this can be one of the most heartbreaking obituaries to write, it is an important one, and one that will live in people’s minds and hearts forever. 


In our lives, there are few people—if any—who will be significant figures in the same way that our parents are. They have known us our entire lives; we are a part of them, and they are a part of us. We have likely spent all of our childhood and much more time after that with them. Writing a meaningful mother obituary is important because she held a significant position in your life.


As with anyone who passes away, your mother has left behind loved ones: siblings, friends, a partner, or grandchildren for example. Remembering your mother also serves to help those she left behind and to offer them a last statement of her life. When a parent dies, they leave behind a whole life full of people whom they loved and who will miss them, so writing an obituary articulates some of the surviving people’s emotions. 


It is impossible to know the duties and sacrifices of a mother unless you are one. Once you and your siblings came into the world, being a mother became her number one job, and you were the priority. We can never fully understand the things our mothers have done and been for us. Even though we cannot completely repay her for caring and nurturing us, writing a beautiful obituary for your mother is one way you can honor her memory.


One of the best ways to honor anyone once they have passed is by writing an obituary that is moving and heartfelt. Honoring a deceased mother can be difficult, but taking your time and crafting a well-written obituary is a great place to start. 

Writing an obituary is not the only way to accomplish this. You can also consider looking at cremation jewelry honoring your mother or jewelry made from your mother’s ashes. Our website has a wide selection of keepsakes and jewelry that help people remember and cherish their loved ones long after they have passed. 

Important Tips When Writing an Obituary for Mothers

If you have no idea where to start when tasked with writing a maternal obituary, we have compiled a short list of things to keep in mind and strategies to make this difficult feat a little bit easier. It is understandable if you are feeling overwhelmed or worried about cultivating the perfect obituary for your mom, but take a deep breath, remember her love, and simply start by writing from the heart.


This tip is nice if you have never written an obituary before. If you genuinely have no idea how to write an obituary for your mother, obituary templates for mothers can be extremely helpful. You may not need one if you have experience or if you prefer to do it on your own, but if you are having trouble generating ideas or if you are stressed about what to include, do not worry; there are many resources out there, and you can find online obituary templates with an easy search. 


If you are still struggling, or if a template is simply not enough to generate ideas, you can look up examples of well-written obituaries. In these, you may spot some of the best obituary phrases for a mother obituary. Take your time going over examples of touching obituaries and see if they spark any ideas for you about your mother. Make sure, if you are inspired by an example, to make it your own and to ensure that it is paying tribute to your mom. 


Maybe the templates and examples did not help you get started. Maybe you are weighed down by the pressure and you are worried about creating the perfect obituary for your mother. Just start! Sit down and pretend that you are writing a story about your mother, or a letter to someone else describing her and her life. You can even try to record yourself talking about her. Do not set any restrictions or parameters for this exercise. Simply brainstorming will get you in the right headspace and you may come up with some meaningful phrases you want to include in your maternal obituary. This will give you at least a starting point when you want to begin working on a first draft.


It is important for you to know any specific requirements you need to abide by before you start writing the obituary. The format, word count, and other requests will vary from place to place depending on where you decide to publish the obituary. Reach out to the website or newspaper you are planning on publishing your maternal obituary, take note of all the requirements, and then begin the process; this way, you will not have to go back and make any changes if a newspaper or website cannot accommodate your submission.


Using third-person narration, the obituary will read as if it is from an outside source; this means that you should avoid words like “I”, “we”, “our”, and “us”. Instead, write about your mother and her life as if you are a storyteller. This keeps your own voice removed and allows your mother’s life and legacy to be the star of the obituary. It also allows anyone who reads the obituary to feel connected, even if they were not specifically close to you.


Before you sit down and start writing, make sure you have all the information you need. Keep in mind that you may not know everything there is to know about your mother’s life, especially her life before you were born. Even having the things you want to include in point-form notes so you can see it all at once could be a good idea; this way, you can organize the obituary clearly and structure it how you think best. It will save you time and frustration if you lay out all of your information beforehand and then start writing when you have everything lined up and plotted out in a logical sequence. 


As you bring together all of the information you need and contemplate your mother’s life, reflect on who she was, what she did, and how she made people feel. This is the time when you should put aside your personal opinion; obviously, your perspective on her as a mother is significant, but not everybody reading the obituary is in the same position as you. At this stage, you should seek to understand a full image of your mother’s legacy so that you can paint an accurate portrait of her life. If she constantly made people laugh, consider adding in a light-hearted joke or even a funny anecdote; if she had a way of making people feel loved, try your best to emulate that feeling in her obituary. Part of memorializing your mother is capturing her true essence.


Writing an obituary for your mother is hard, and to make this process a little bit easier for you, we recommend recruiting help from the other people who knew your mother best, like your siblings, her siblings, a partner, or a best friend. They will likely provide valuable insight that you did not know, and they may have a meaningful way to articulate something you have been struggling with. 

On top of relieving some of the pressure, including other loved ones in the process of writing a heartfelt obituary for your mother allows them to be a part of the experience of reflecting and admiring the life of the woman they have loved and lost. It becomes a group task and can be a wonderful way for people to bond and deal with their grief together. 


Being given the demanding task of writing a meaningful mom obituary, one of the things you can do to set yourself up for success is to take into consideration your writing environment. Make sure you are in a place that facilitates reflection and creativity, or somewhere that you feel at ease; you are already dealing with a handful of tough emotions, so being distracted or uncomfortable where you are will not make this project any easier. 

Also, ensure that you are in the right mindset. Consider tackling this task somewhere you feel close to your mother. You can even have some of her things around you or you can keep a piece of jewelry with you while you write, like cremation jewelry honoring your mom or thumbprint jewelry honoring your mom. If you feel like she is with you, then you may find writing about her and her life will come more naturally. 


We understand that writing your mother’s tribute obituary can be emotionally taxing, and it may not be exactly what you want to do while you are trying to deal with such a painful loss. Our last tip for taking this process on is simply to give yourself time to experience the loss and to work through your feelings. If you need to first find emotional support before diving into your maternal obituary, you should take that time. Memorializing your mom will be a more enriching experience if you have given yourself the appropriate time and space to process your pain.

What Kind Of Information Should You Include In An Obituary For A Mother?

You understand why obituaries are important and you have tips for when you have to start writing; so, what exactly do you write? There is not one clear-cut way of writing an obituary, but there is a list of typical things you will read in most obituaries. Use your discretion; you do not need to include all of these things if they are not suitable for your mother’s life, and you can add in some things we have not mentioned.

Generally, these are the kinds of things you should write and the topics we will cover in this section:

  • The best photo
  • Names
  • Birth information
  • Death information
  • Key places
  • Key events
  • Her passions
  • Her impact
  • Surviving relatives
  • Memorial information
  • Cause of death
  • Charity or donations


Gather your family and friends, and ask the people you know to send to you or bring the best photos they have of your mother. As a group, decide which picture captures your mother’s essence and which one is the greatest quality. You want this photo to embody your mother’s values and how she made people feel. 

If this photo really speaks to you, keep it close to your heart forever with a piece of photo engraved jewelry honoring your mother. You may feel a strong connection to the beautiful photo you choose for her obituary, so consider carrying this photo with you everywhere in a special piece of jewelry. Let us guide you if you are interested in remembering your mom with photo engraved jewelry.


The first thing you should include in your mother’s obituary is her full name. If she was married, you can also include her maiden name as some people who knew her when she was younger may recognize this name more than her married one; however, some people avoid including her maiden name because it can sometimes be the answer to a security question if anyone tries to steal her identity, although this is rare. You can also mention any nicknames she had that were particularly well-known or ones that she was very fond of.


You can mention her date of birth, and you could choose to include where she was born or what hospital. Stating her exact birthday can also be used by scammers to steal her identity, so some people have resorted to only stating her age at death. This is your decision. 

In an obituary, you can state the date your mother passed, as well as where it happened. This would also be where you could reveal the cause of death, but this is completely optional. 


When writing your mother’s obituary, you may list and briefly discuss any places that were significant to her. For example, if she resided in multiple different places throughout her lifetime, or if she went to school somewhere, you could choose to include these locations. 

Think about the major achievements your mother obtained throughout her life. Her obituary is a time to praise her for all of her hard work, the amazing things she accomplished, and the significant events that happened in her lifetime. This could include education, marriage, raising children, career achievements, and anything else you think may have meant a lot to her. In this section, you may also choose to outline some struggles she overcame in her life. 


Some of the most important things about people are simply the parts of life that made them feel alive, the activities or interests that lit up their hearts. When you are writing about your mother, consider adding in some of her favorite hobbies, her special talents, or something else in her life that she was truly passionate about— perhaps a passion she shared with others in a club, organization, or group. Sometimes the most significant parts of a person’s life are not their career or any major achievements, but the little things they appreciated each day.


The impact of the past loved one can often be the hardest part of the obituary to write; how can you put into words exactly how someone made you feel or precisely the impact that made on the people around them? It can feel impossible. Take the feedback from others and brainstorm a few key adjectives that family and friends feel most accurately describe your mother and do her legacy justice. Ask yourself questions like, “What will I miss most now that she is gone?” or “If I had to describe my mother in three words, what would they be?”


In the obituary, you can note the loved ones that the deceased is leaving behind. This is optional but is very common. You use full names and can include any maiden names in brackets where applicable. Begin with the spouse, then children, and any other immediate family that you want to be mentioned. You may also decide to include certain close friends or pets.


In the obituary, you should mention if there is going to be any sort of memorial service for your mother. Include details of a funeral, grave site visit, wake, or celebration of life so those that knew and loved your mother can be there to say their goodbyes, offer condolences, and celebrate the life of your mother. 

If the service for your mother is private rather than public, you can withhold these details from the obituary.


Include in the obituary if there is specific information the public should know about how they can express condolences more physically. If there is a particular place to send flowers, or a certain charity or organization that either the deceased decided upon ahead of time, or that you and other loved ones agreed upon afterward, this is where you can note those specifications.

Tips For Proofreading & Editing The Obituary

It may seem obvious, but it is worth mentioning—read through the obituary! Read it many times over. Take a step back and do something else, then return to it so that you are more likely to catch mistakes that your eyes have been skipping over. When you write the obituary, you are most likely trying to get the words down and not necessarily focused on the grammar, punctuation, and spelling; once it is complete, do a few read-throughs to catch those errors.


It may seem obvious, but it is worth mentioning—read through the obituary! Read it many times over. Take a step back and do something else, then return to it so that you are more likely to catch mistakes that your eyes have been skipping over. When you write the obituary, you are most likely trying to get the words down and not necessarily focused on the grammar, punctuation, and spelling; once it is complete, do a few read-throughs to catch those errors.


Reading the obituary out loud is a great way to detect the errors you missed while reading in your head. This will also allow you to catch sentences that may be grammatically correct but do not flow well or that sound awkward. Doing this makes it easier to catch any repetitions or words that do not fit with the tone of the obituary.


If you are really worried about the quality of your work, you can hire a professional editor to take a look at the obituary. They will be able to catch the errors that an untrained eye might miss. This is an extra step, but it may help ease your mind. 


It is also beneficial to pass the obituary around to other family and friends. They may be able to find errors or they may have better ways of writing certain phrases. It is always good to get feedback, especially on something as important as a maternal obituary. It could also be a valuable experience to share this process with others and allow many people who loved your mother to take part in this meaningful task. 


An added way to skim over your work a final time could be to run it through some online programs that help with editing. For example, Grammarly is a website that offers free editing suggestions, and it could help fine-tune your obituary.

Where Should You Publish Your Mother's Obituary?

When writing an obituary, you should also keep in mind its publication. Do some research at your local newspapers or reach out to online obituaries. Where you decide to publish your mother’s obituary will have to do with what you’re willing to pay, how much you want to say, and whom you want it to reach. Ensure you are informed about how long the obituary can be and what they charge before you decide. 

If your mother has family and friends who do not live locally, you may also want to research publications in areas where other loved ones reside so that her obituary can be read and appreciated by all of the people that were important to her. 


Before you start any research, or if you are lost when it comes to obituaries, you could reach out to your funeral director for some information. They are probably best when it comes to these questions as they deal with loss and after-death arrangements all the time. Ask them what they suggest and what they would avoid doing. Although we still recommend you do your own research, they may be able to save you some time with start-up information.


Before you start any research, or if you are lost when it comes to obituaries, you could reach out to your funeral director for some information. They are probably best when it comes to these questions as they deal with loss and after-death arrangements all the time. Ask them what they suggest and what they would avoid doing. Although we still recommend you do your own research, they may be able to save you some time with start-up information.

Step One

The first step is to decide where you want the obituary published. You may want it printed in more than one paper depending on where your mother lived, grew up, worked, or had family and friends. 

You also may need to decide between a local newspaper and a national newspaper. Printing the maternal obituary in the local newspaper is a great idea if your mother was loved in her community, and especially if she was born, raised, and lived in the same place because most of the people close to her are likely reading that paper. It is also possible to get the obituary printed in a national newspaper; you should look on their website, as well as try to get in touch with a representative for more specific instructions. 

Step Two

The next thing you should do is research the newspapers that interest you. You can start by looking at their websites to see if there are forms to fill out or an email or number to get in contact with if you have more questions about a submission. The website will likely also have answers to many of the questions you may have at this stage:

  • How much does it cost to have an obituary posted?
  • How is the cost determined?
  • Does the price include that of a photograph, or will that be extra?
  • What are the formatting requirements, if any?
  • Will they need to speak with the funeral director and/or obtain a copy of the death certificate?
  • When do you need to have the obituary submitted to be published on a certain date?
  • Where do you submit the obituary? (Electronically, in-person, etc.)
  • For electronic submissions, what file type is required for both the text and image?

Step Three

The last step is to compare all of the information you’ve gathered, specifically the costs. If you have a budget that you need to stick to, this part is very important. You can also contact the newspapers to get quotes for your obituary, and this is also when you could ask when they would need your submission to be published by a certain date, or if you want it published on a specific day of the week. 


In today’s world, we are privileged to be so connected through all time and distance by the internet. Although some people appreciate the materiality of a printed obituary, you may be attracted to the idea of an eternal memory of your mother stored on the internet for present and future users to see. Another benefit is that online obituaries can be more interactive than newspapers as they allow family and friends to share it around to others or comment kind and loving words about your mother.

Online obituary postings can sometimes be cheaper than publishing in a newspaper. If you are tight on a budget or if you would like to be able to put more money towards a beautiful funeral or celebration of life, consider checking out online obituary options. 

If you choose to go this route, you may also appreciate the fact that the photo you choose of your mother will be clearer than if it was printed in a newspaper. You may also have more freedom to include multiple photos, a collage, or a tribute video of your beautiful mother; perhaps you have a favorite funny memory recorded or a clip of her doing something she really loved, and you may want to highlight this in remembering her.

Step One

The first step would be to have a conversation with your funeral director; most funeral homes have a website. When you discuss matters with them, ask about pricing and about what is and is not included. 

Step Two

The second step is to do online research about publications that you may be interested in. If there are particular websites or organizations that your mother admired or was a part of, consider reaching out and asking if they run obituaries. Make sure the websites you choose reflect your mother’s values and also that they are websites that the people she loved will have access to. 

Some examples of online publications you may be interested in are:

  • Funeral home website
  • Obituary websites
  • Community publications
  • Church publication or website
  • Alumni organizations
  • Social media accounts

Step Three

Once you have some publications or websites you might be interested in, reach out and ask about pricing and requirements for submissions such as word count, column size, and photos. Compare some of your favorites and make the right decision based on your needs and what you believe your mother would have wanted. 

Obituary For Mom Frequently Asked Questions

What should I write in my mother’s obituary?

In your mother’s obituary, you should try your best to describe her essence in a way that represents her and also that touches the readers. While adding in basic information about her life—important dates, family, accomplishments, and passions—incorporate phrases that will remind people of how she made them feel. 

You can find some beautiful quotes about mothers to add or to precede the obituary. For more ideas, you can also take a look at some heartfelt obituary examples for mothers.

What shouldn’t I write in my mother’s obituary?

What you leave out of your mother’s obituary is going to be a decision that you and other close family and friends make. You know what was and was not important to your mother, so consider this when writing the obituary. If education or career, for example, were aspects of her life that she did not find significant or that she did not identify with, you can leave these out. There also may be some family members that she did not know or that she did not have a relationship with; use your discretion to choose who and who not to include in her obituary. You also have the option of including or excluding the cause of death. 

You should not include her address in the obituary, and you should also be sure to leave out any negative emotions that may come through when you write.

How do I help a friend who is writing their mother’s obituary?

If your friend is working on their mother’s obituary, understand that this is a very difficult task during an especially tough time. Simply having you by their side while they write it could be comforting. Ask what they need help with; they may appreciate you doing some research about publication or even doing some editing. Being available to offer a hand wherever they may need is the most thoughtful thing you can do. 

Should I let estranged siblings include input in my mom’s obituary?

Deciding who and who cannot be part of writing an obituary for your mother can be challenging, and that choice does not—and likely should not—be solely on your shoulders. Consider the perspectives of other people close to you and your mother. Remember to think about the feelings of other family members and how they would respond during this emotional time, but also think about what your mother would want regarding who has the privilege of writing her obituary. 

How else can I honor my mother if I am not writing her obituary?

So, you’re not writing your mother’s obituary, but you still want to honor your mother in some way. Writing an obituary is not the only way of memorializing your mom; there are many other ways to contribute to some kind of motherly memorial. We have an article that lists 33 ways you could honor your mother after she has passed. 

How do I write a heartfelt eulogy? 

Maybe you were not recruited to write the obituary, but you need some help writing a eulogy, or perhaps your family and friends admire your way with words and have asked you to take on both tasks. Things like these can be difficult to execute, but we offer a guide so that you can write an outstanding eulogy.

Honoring Mom's Life & Legacy

At the end of the day, if you take the time to examine your mother’s time here and the life she lived, and you put heartfelt effort into articulating these things the best you can, your obituary is going to be beautiful. Writing from the heart can be difficult, but you will see the best results this way and you will touch the readers

Remember to keep your mother in mind throughout this process; do not stress yourself out by trying to do it perfectly, but put your best foot forward in honoring your mother and writing something true to the legacy she left. Although this is a time of deep grieving, writing an obituary allows you and other loved ones to cherish her life and offer her a final farewell. 

June 30, 2023 by Jeri K. Augustus


Jenkins, Cameron and Tinsley, Katherine. “44 Thoughtful Loss of Mother Quotes to Help Comfort Anyone Who Is Grieving.” Good Housekeeping, 22 January, 2023, https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/mothers-day/g20140930/loss-of-mother quotes/. 

McLeod, Belinda. “What You Do NOT Have to Put in an Obituary.” Join Cake, 24 August 2022, https://www.joincake.com/blog/what-should-you-not-include-in-an-obituary/. 

Meleen, Michele. “Heartfelt Obituary Examples for Mothers.” Love to Know, 6 August 2020, https://www.lovetoknow.com/life/grief-loss/heartfelt-obituary-examples-mothers.