How To Write A Memorable Eulogy
A eulogy is a commemorative speech read out during a funeral service, usually by a family member or someone close to the person who has died. Writing a eulogy for a loved one is an honour, but it can be a challenge to convey the right tone and say everything you want to. Here are some thoughts about how to pay a meaningful tribute.
Most eulogies are about 3-5 minutes long. There are no rules, but if you want to go on for longer, check with the service organisers that there will be enough time. Bear in mind that a brief eulogy usually has more impact, because the congregation will find it easier to remain engaged, and you will stick to the most pertinent details of the person’s life.
Choose the style and tone
A eulogy can be mostly biographical and formal in tone, or more anecdote-based, or even gently humorous. How you choose to write it will depend on how well you knew the person, what their character was like, and your view of what the person would have wanted.
Be mindful of the feelings of the loved one’s family and friends, and avoid making any remarks about the deceased that might seem insensitive and disrespectful to them. There’s no need to be excessively sad and mournful, but on the other hand, a too light and cheery tone will come across as flippant and inappropriate.
Stick to a structure
To keep the eulogy engaging and easy to comprehend, follow a logical structure. In the opening lines, introduce yourself and say what your relationship to the person is, and add some biographical information about the deceased. Sometimes a quote or poem can help to lead into the main body of the eulogy.
A eulogy will typically include details about where the person was born, grew up, and went to school or college. It may also include information about their family, and how they met their spouse or partner. The persons’ career, achievements, and/or activities and interests may also be referred to.
Speak to friends and family
Everyone’s memory of the deceased will be unique, so try and speak to the people who were close to them, and collect a range of memories and anecdotes. This will help you to build up a more rounded picture, and focus on the key points that you want to get across. Convey a sense of their personality, best qualities, and tell a story.
More personal eulogies tend to be the most powerful, so don’t be afraid to share your thoughts with the congregation. Choose those positive memories that best sum up who the person was, and what was special to them. Maybe they were devoted to their family or pets, or passionate about a particular cause or charity.
If there were difficulties in the person’s life which you feel must be mentioned to give an honest eulogy, be understanding, forgiving, and tactful. Make sure you don’t upset anyone in the congregation, especially as emotions will already be running deep.
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