Guide to Writing a Eulogy
A eulogy is a speech delivered during the funeral service in order to honor and praise a loved one’s life. Creating a eulogy that captures the spirit of the departed and accurately conveys the impact they had on the world can be a challenge. Keeping some guidelines in mind during the writing process can make the task less difficult, resulting in a eulogy that lovingly and respectfully commemorates the life of a loved one.
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The purpose of a eulogy
A eulogy is meant to be a personal statement delivered by a family member, friend or colleague with whom the deceased shared a close relationship, and who can attest to their character and contributions. While it often takes the form of a personal testimony of the relationship and experience with the deceased, the focus of the eulogy should always remain with the departed. Stressing the way they impacted the lives of those around them is a good way to honor them and center attention where it belongs.
The eulogy is not meant to be a biography, but honoring a loved one’s character and accomplishments by highlighting significant moments in their life can serve to personalize the tribute. Including personal anecdotes and sharing fond memories is a wonderful way to capture the personality of the departed. A good eulogy will touch on the significance of the deceased’s achievements, while illustrating the various reasons a loved one will be missed.
Seeking out feedback and assistance
While the eulogy is meant to be a personal reflection, enlisting the input and guidance of friends and family is entirely acceptable. Relatives and close loved ones are often acquainted with aspects of the deceased’s life that can be incorporated to make the eulogy more meaningful. Friends can also serve as a sounding board for ideas and offer thoughtful feedback or suggestions.
Questions about the more technical aspects of writing can be resolved with a visit to the library or a careful internet search. A funeral director, in charge of arranging the funeral and cremation services and overseeing aspects of the ceremony, can be a good source of advice as well. When in doubt, it’s a good idea to seek out guidance from a more knowledgeable or experienced source.
Delivering the eulogy
Traditionally, a eulogy is approximately five minutes long. Rehearsing the eulogy, either alone or before an audience, is a good way to gauge the length and edit accordingly. When writing, as well as when delivering the eulogy, it’s helpful to keep in mind that a heartfelt and conversational tone is preferable to a rigid and overly formal one. Practicing the eulogy beforehand will help make the delivery sound less scripted.
Having a full, printed copy of the eulogy on-hand is advisable. The copy should be legible and the pages numbered in order to avoid any confusion. If emotions run high, it’s acceptable to take a minute to compose before continuing. Friends and family sitting in the audience have all gathered together for the same purpose: to pay respects and honor the life of a loved one.
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