Eulogies are often a significant focus of funeral services. It’s no wonder they are so hard to write – not only are we grieving the loss of a loved one, but we may also feel a strong sense of responsibility and anxiety to make it “perfect.” But eulogies don’t need to be perfect. The point is not to entertain but to honor and commemorate the passing of a loved one.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when writing a eulogy for a loved one’s funeral or memorial service:
Start by talking
If you’re having trouble getting started, try talking out loud with a family member or friend about your loved one. Pay attention to how you start, the flow of your thoughts, and the stories you tell. When talking out loud, you’ll focus on your loved one rather than the task of writing a eulogy, your mind will get going, and you’ll find yourself a natural storyteller. Let that guide the written version of the eulogy.
Paint a picture
Rather than tell the audience about the deceased, paint a picture by telling stories. For instance, rather than say he or she had a good sense of humor or was very generous, give specific examples so that the audience can “see” those qualities for themselves. Remember, no detail is too small.
Get to the essence
Try to explain to the audience not only what differentiated the deceased from others, but who they were at their core. When thinking about the person, consider what his or her mantra might have been, what values he or she held dear, or what he or she treasured most.
Don’t shy away from praise, humor, sorrow or other emotions
Speak from your heart to honor the life of your loved one, and don’t be afraid to laugh or cry as you share stories with your audience. You can’t, and you shouldn’t, try to keep from getting emotional as you deliver the eulogy – emotions are entirely appropriate for the occasion.
Have you delivered a eulogy? Share some of your tips below.
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