A eulogy is a speech made during a funeral service which is about the person who has died. A eulogy can be made up of personal anecdotes, stories, favourite sayings and idiosyncrasies, a biography or a combination of all these.
The eulogy may be delivered by the officiant of the service or by a family member, friend or associate. Public speaking is always a difficult task and coupled with the emotion of a funeral service of a loved one can make a eulogy very difficult to deliver.
However, this is also a very special way to honour a loved one if you are able.
While each eulogy is unique, here are some guidelines and advice when preparing a eulogy:
Write it down
While many people are able to speak off the cuff, the circumstances of a funeral can often be overwhelming and may effect an otherwise natural ability in this area. If you write down your main points, even if you don’t look at them they can be referred to, if you get lost.
This also means if you have trouble finishing the eulogy, someone can take over and read from your own words.
Write from the heart
Don’t feel too constrained by formality- a eulogy is meant to be personal. It is better to keep the tone more conversational than forced.
Be aware of time
There may be more than one person delivering a eulogy so be sure to check with the person making the funeral arrangements how much time you have available.
Refer to other speakers
If there is more than one person delivering the eulogy it may be best to talk to each other about content, so each person doesn’t tell a story the other was going to share.
Here are some things that may be useful in preparing the content of the eulogy:
- Where and when born
- Parental relationships
- Sibling relationships
- School/Educational achievements/stories
- Sporting achievements/stories
- Where and when married
- Romantic stories
- Professional achievements/stories
- Children and grandchildren relationships
- Honours and achievements
- Community contributions
- War service
- Funny anecdotes
- Favourite Sayings
- Favourite activities
And remember- you are being asked to deliver a eulogy because of the relationship you had with the person that has died. Focus on that relationship and keep true to it.