How To Write A Eulogy
While being asked to deliver a eulogy is a great honor, the work involved can seem daunting. The eulogy is the speech given to honor someone recently deceased. Typically given as part of funeral services or at a wake. Since death often comes as a surprise, there is often not much time to craft a speech, gather funeral funds, and make all the difficult decisions. The grief involved can be a huge obstacle. With that said, the following tips can help you organize your thoughts into a meaningful eulogy that adds to the memorial of your loved one.
Long speeches are not necessary in memorial services. In fact, a short and sweet eulogy is often preferred by all in attendance at the funeral home. People are dealing with their own thoughts and feelings during the funeral services and a long rambling speech can make listeners uncomfortable. As a general rule, five to ten minutes is what you are aiming for when preparing a eulogy. Funeral funds are often difficult to come by and the service needs to be kept manageable.
Keep a eulogy focused
Determine a specific quality of the deceased that you want all to focus on. This single minded focus can give your speech the framework it needs while directing listeners to a positive thought they can cherish. Share a personal story to really illustrate the quality you want to focus on. This is not a time to list all the interests and history of the individual, but a time to pull out the essence of relationship.
Consider the following basic questions when sitting down to write a eulogy for a memorial service.
What is your relationship with the deceased?
Is there a particular event that changed your relationship for the better?
What do you admire about the deceased?
What will you miss the most?
What was especially unique about your loved one?
Keep eulogies positive
Those in attendance at funeral homes typically know the individual being honored well so it is unnecessary to go into any of their negative traits. Keeping it simple, focused and positive is always your best bet. Even hinting of something negative can cause unnecessary pain to those in attendance at the funeral home. If there is need for memorial donations, consider making that a separate, private function of the memorial services.
Print the eulogy
For all the above reason it is essential that you write the speech out in its entirety. Relying on your memory or worse, winging it, can leave you in an awkward situation that is difficult to recover. Remember you are dealing with a truly empathetic audience; so using clearly printed notes is not going to be judged poorly.
Practice the eulogy
There is no need to memorize the eulogy, but practicing what you plan to say in the funeral home is important. Read your speech out loud so that you are familiar with it. This also helps you discover the exact length so you can tell the funeral director ahead of time if asked.
Deliver the eulogy as yourself
People are not expecting you to be a professional speaker or make pleas for memorial donations. Just talk to everyone, tell your story and let it stand. You do not have to speak for the entire family or make mention of entirety of the individuals life history, unless you want to. Eulogists can include favorite quotes, expressions, songs or scripture verses that meant something to the deceased or will forever remind you of your loved one.