How To Deliever A Fantastic Eulogy At A Funeral


There's probably no greater - or more heartbreaking - honor than being asked to give someone's eulogy at their funeral. It's also immensely difficult to do because you're being tasked with the nearly impossible: summarizing someone's entire life in a touching, memorable way with a speech that's no more than five minutes long. If you're faced with this task, keep these two tips in mind and you'll do fine.  

1.) Understand the purpose of the eulogy and relax a little.

Funerals really aren't about the deceased. Instead, they're designed to let the community of the deceased gather and mourn together. By sharing your grief, you allow others to share theirs - and the emotional connection that you establish in the process can help everyone heal.

Eulogies are part of the funeral ritual, and psychological studies tell us that rituals are important in dealing with grief and loss. Death rituals give mourners a sense of control. Because of that, the mere fact that you are stepping up in front of the other mourners and talking them through the ritual is the most important part of the eulogy.

What exactly you say, then, doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact that you say something. It's okay if your words aren't perfect or you forget something, so long as you keep the tenor of your comments going in the right direction.

2. Keep your focus on the audience and talk like you're speaking to a friend.

Don't try to be overly formal or stiff when you're delivering a eulogy. Everyone in the room shares a personal connection with you already, through your shared connection with the deceased. So, talk normally.

What do you talk about? Believe it or not, you don't want to focus too much on the deceased's accomplishments - otherwise your eulogy could end up sounding like a resume. Instead, keep your attention on the needs of the people in attendance at the funeral. Remember that funerals help us reaffirm love, the value of life, transcendence beyond death, and even humor.

Ask yourself the following questions and then build the eulogy around the small, memorable details that you find among the answers:

  • What did you admire most about this person? For example, was he or she determined, kind, witty, bold or creative? Maybe the deceased was the quietest, gentlest person you ever knew - and that was what made him or her stand out in any crowd. If so, talk about it.
  • What did he or she value most about life? Some people make this question easy to answer. If the deceased was particularly generous or loving, find an example of this in your memory and share it. If he or she valued adventure, talk about how death is just the next great adventure.
  • What are some of your fondest memories of this person? This is a great opportunity to interject a little gentle humor into the moment. For example, if the deceased had an infamous sweet tooth, talk about how he or she has left you the legacy of knowing that cake for breakfast is perfectly acceptable.

If you think of yourself as a storyteller tasked with describing someone through a few memorable moments of their past, the eulogy will come more easily - and you'll walk away knowing that you helped move that person's story forward for everyone in the room. For further assistance, contact a local funeral home.


29 June 2015

Writing an Obituary: Do's and Don'ts

Following the death of my grandfather, I found myself in the awkward position of having to write the obituary. I wanted to capture the spirit of him and list everything he was proud of in his life, including his family and work accomplishments. However, at the same time, I knew that I had a limited amount of space to work with. After spending hours researching obituaries, I finally felt confident in my skills and proceeded to write my grandfather's. In my opinion, it was perfect. Writing an obituary while you are grieving your loss is challenging, but I hope that my website helps you write one for your loved one that helps capture who they were as a person.