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How to announce a death to family and friends (with examples)

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Learning about the death of a loved one is probably one of the hardest pieces of news a person will ever have to hear. If you have the job of breaking the news of someone’s death, it can feel like a daunting task. To ensure the delivery is as smooth as possible,  you might consider the best methods to announce the death, what words you should use, and how you can show your support. In this article, we’ve outlined some of the important things to keep in mind when announcing a death to friends and family.

How do you announce someone’s death?

There are many ways to announce a death to family and friends. The way you announce it will depend who you are announcing it to and what type of relationship they had with the deceased. The goal of this conversation should be to deliver the news clearly and quickly to make the audience feel as informed and supported as possible. 

Close family should hear the news first, and it’s best to deliver the news in person or over the phone. This also applies to any extended family members who were especially close to the person who died. For more distant relatives, it’s usually acceptable to announce the death online, either via social media, email, or a memorial website.

Announcing a death to friends is similar to announcing a death to family — the method you use will depend on how close the friends were to the deceased and will need to be tailored to those relationships. Just because friends aren’t technically considered family, doesn’t mean that you can post the death of social media and hope they will appreciate your delivery. You need to show sensitivity to the relationships with friends when sharing the news.

How to announce a death to family

Based on the relationship with each person, you’ll want to tailor your delivery method. It’s good to start by gathering a list of names of family members and noting their relationship so that you can develop a plan for telling family about a death.

Close family — in person or over the phone       

Close family should be told of the death as soon as possible, often within hours of the event if possible. Most people want to hear this type of news in person. If that’s not possible — for example, if they live far away or are traveling — then it’s also acceptable to let them know over the phone.

When breaking the news, it’s best to be clear, direct, and empathetic. Here some tips for telling someone about a death in person:

·   Find a quiet, private place where you won’t be interrupted

·   If possible, invite them to sit down

·   Prepare them by saying you have some bad news, and who the bad news is about

·   Let them know that the person has died — don’t use euphemisms or confusing language

·   Give them a moment for the information to sink in

·   Wait for them to ask questions instead of bombarding them with information

·   Offer your condolences, and be kind, supportive, and empathetic

Extended family — over the phone or online      

For extended family who aren’t as close to the person who’s died, you can call them or let them know in writing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might find it easier to write an email that you can send to multiple people at once. On the other hand, you might like to announce the death to family over the phone, as it can be nice to connect with others during a difficult time.

You’ll also want to consider who you’re contacting and what’s the best way to reach them. For example, some people don’t use the internet much and might not check their email for a while. In this case, it might be best to give them a call. Alternatively, you could write a letter to announce the death.

Announcing a death to friends                 

It’s often said that friends are the family we choose. The loss of a close friend can be just as devastating as the death of a family member. Therefore, it’s important to think carefully about how to break the news of a death to friends.

Close friends — in person or over the phone

Close friends should be treated like a family member. Follow the tips above for announcing a death in person or over the phone, and make sure to give them ample space to take in the news and offer your support and empathy. In the case of good friends who live far away, you can contact them by phone. 

Remember that it may still be a shock, so before sharing the news, ask them to find a quiet space to talk, and try to make sure they have someone nearby for support after they hear the news.

Read more: Empathy vs. sympathy: definitions and differences

Other friends — online or by letter

If the person who’s died had lots of friends and acquaintances, the easiest way of announcing the death to friends is online. Writing a post on social media is often a good way to inform lots of people at once, since the post can be shared, increasing the number of people who will see it. However, make sure that all family and close friends have heard the news first before sharing it on social media. For friends who aren’t on social media, you can send them an email, or, if they don’t use the internet, you can share the news in a letter.

How do you announce a family’s death on Facebook? Heartfelt death announcement examples 

It can feel strange to announce someone’s death on Facebook; however, it’s often the best way to reach lots of people at once. If you’re unsure of what to write in the death announcement, here are some examples that may help.

Heartfelt death announcement examples on Facebook

Dear Friends and Family of [Name],

It’s with a heavy heart that we write this post. [Name] sadly died yesterday at their home in [location]. They’d fought a long battle with [illness] and finally took their last breaths surrounded by their family.

Words can’t describe how much we’ll miss them. They lit up every room with their sunny smile and always knew how to make people laugh.

We know that [name] touched many lives, and we’re devastated to have to break this news. They were well loved and will be missed by many.

Details of the memorial will be posted here.

Thank you to everyone who was a good friend to [name]. We are forever grateful for the impact you made on their life.

How to announce the death of a mother on Facebook

My lovely mother sadly passed away today. She was the kindest person in the world and made me the person I am today. We’re taking some time as a family to grieve her loss. However, if you’d like to make a donation to [charity] in her name, we’d be delighted. It was an important cause to her. Thank you to everyone for your kind words and support at this difficult time.

How to announce the death of a father on Facebook

Our Dad, [name] sadly left us on [date]. He died peacefully, and we were able to spend time with him in his final days. If anyone would like to join us, we’ll be raising a glass in Dad’s memory at [time] on [date] at [location]. As Dad always said: “Everything feels a bit lighter after a beer with friends.

Ways to honor a loved one

As well as announcing a death to friends and family, you might wish to write an obituary. This allows you to go into more detail about the person’s life, their beliefs, values, and unique personality traits. A memorial tribute is another way to share more about your loved one and honor their memory. There’s no right or wrong way to remember someone — each person is unique, and your way of honoring them will be too.

Read more: Expressing sympathy for the death of a loved one

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