How to Write a Eulogy
Writing a eulogy and speaking your well-crafted words in front of funeral service guests is a wonderful gesture. But, not only can it be challenging to write–if you’re uncomfortable in front of a group of people–it can be equally as challenging to deliver.
Nevertheless, it is a good opportunity to make a contribution to a memorial service; a contribution that your friends and family will bear in mind for a long time. Because of that reason, if you are requested to write a eulogy, we recommend you consider doing so; if only as a beneficial tool to help you overcome your grief.
What Should your Eulogy Accomplish?
People often think one of two things about a eulogy:
it should be an objective summation of the deceased's life.
it should speak for everyone who is present at the memorial service.
Both of these assumptions are simply plain unrealistic, don’t you think? How can someone possibly be objective after losing a loved one; or summarize a person’s life in just a few minutes of time?
Let’s consider the eulogy as being much simpler. It should focus on the feelings and experiences of the individual giving the eulogy. The most touching and memorable eulogies are written from a personal point of view and from the heart. So don't feel obligated to write your loved one's life story.
Instead, tell your story.
Certainly, the responsibility of the eulogy does not have to be yours completely. Should you have the time, seek advice from friends or relatives for their recollections and stories.
Truthfulness is very important. Generally speaking, there will be a lot of positive qualities to talk about. Occasionally, however, there is someone with more unfavorable traits than positive ones. In the event that is the case, keep in mind, you don't have to say everything if it would make you, or the guests uncomfortable.
Just be as truthful as you can, and do your best to show the full humanity–both the good, and the not-so-good, characteristics of the deceased. All things considered, everyone there knew them; and each is there for the simple reason that they want to acknowledge their relationship to the deceased. In other words, you have a “warm” audience, who will welcome your words.
Don’t Strive for Perfection – You’ll Make Yourself Crazy
Keep in mind; it is not necessary to compose a perfect eulogy. Whatever you write and deliver will be respected by the people at the funeral service. If you are inclined to be a perfectionist, reduce your standards and simply do what you can, considering the short time frame for preparation and your emotional state.
When You Step Up to the Podium
Understand that people are not going to judge you. They are going to be very supportive. Regardless of what happens, it will be okay. If you break down in the middle of your speech, everyone will understand. Spend some time to get composed, and then continue. There is absolutely no reason to be embarrassed. Remember, delivering a eulogy is a noble gesture that people will acknowledge and admire.
Try to make the eulogy easy to read. On a computer, print out the eulogy in a large font size. If you work with a typewriter, put extra carriage returns between the lines. If you happen to be writing it by hand, print the final version in large letters and give the words room to breathe by writing on every second or third line.
Before the service, get a small cup of water. Ensure that it stays with you for the duration of the service. Once you go to the podium to present the eulogy, take the water with you in case you need it. Sipping water before you begin and throughout the speech if needed, will help relax you.
Should you be stressed beforehand, breathe deeply. Remind yourself that everything will be alright. It will be. Look around at your family members and friends and recognize that they are with you 100 percent.
Realize that it is appropriate to read the eulogy aloud. You don’t have to make eye contact with anyone.
Take your time, and simply do the best you can. Nobody expects you to have the delivery of a great orator or the stage presence of an actor. Just be you.
Should you need any more advice on how to write a eulogy for a loved one, just contact us.