The word ‘eulogy’ simply means what is good about a person’s life and it is presented within the funeral service at a time chosen by the family, clergy or celebrant.
It can be challenging to write or deliver a eulogy when you have been closely involved.You may be asked to do this as a loved one, a close family friend or a colleague to represent a certain part of their life.
There is no right or wrong way to present a eulogy and highlighting the achievments and personality of the person is a good way to start – a eulogy should be as individual as the person who has passed away.
Below are some suggestions to help you prepare your tribute.
1. Collect details for your Story
Details of your own relationship with the person who has died.
How did you meet ?
What did you most admire about them ?
What will you miss the most ?
Do you have a specific memory you’d like to share ?
Biographical facts: age, marriage dates, places lived, children, hobbies etc
2. Organise your Story
- Look for patterns or common themes. These could be serious or light-hearted reflections on the person’s life or personality.
3. Plan your speech
Writing a eulogy also presents an opportunity to help you deal with your own loss by revisiting emotions that are relevant to the healing process and getting your memories and feelings expressed on paper.
There are no firm rules for what to say or how to put together a eulogy, however our advice would be to focus on the person’s life, not on his or her death or how they may have died as this can be deeply personal to others in attendance.
Think of the person and your audience. A memorable eulogy doesn’t only tell the history of a person, but brings the person to life to give your audience information and something by which to remember them.
The format of the eulogy will be influenced by what you have decided to share
Some choices are as follows:
- Chronological – a life story version in order of their life’s events
- Reverse chronological – begin with the present and work back in time.
- Three or four point plan – decide three or four key points to make and choose the order for saying them
- Theme – choose a theme and give examples, anecdotes, stories to explain and illustrate it.