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Making & Delivering a Eulogy

Writing a eulogy can be a difficult task. With the added feeling of grief, this task becomes more difficult. People typically experience the same complications when trying to write a eulogy. The difficulty in summarising a person’s life in a few short minutes, being respectful but telling a funny story, illustrate the highlights of their life both achievements and difficulties, deliver their story well and do it justice. Being asked to deliver a eulogy is an honour and should be treated as such.

For some people, public speaking is difficult and oftentimes, people don’t know where to begin in generating a eulogy. Here are some tips on generating and delivering a eulogy for a loved one. Following these steps will ensure you are satisfied with the outcome.

Collect information about the deceased

Although you may have known the deceased intimately, other people may still have more information that could be useful for the eulogy. For example, you may not know much about the deceased at their workplace. Talking with coworkers could identify some characteristics you did not know about. If finding information is difficult, talk with distant relatives, neighbours or even the person’s hairdresser might have some stories or insights you didn’t know about.

Topics to investigate could include early life prior to your relationship, education, hobbies, prior employment, travel and accomplishments.

people talking about the deceased

Don’t be afraid to tell a funny story

A funeral never seems like a place to be humorous but when delivering a eulogy, people like to be remembered for the happy parts of one's life and thus sharing some funny stories is a great idea. Just keep it tasteful for the children and elderly in the congregation and you can’t go wrong. 

Organise the information

Once you have gathered the information you wish to use, write down a summary of each snippet of information. Consider the primary aspect of each piece of information and categorise it such as ‘achievement’, ‘hobby’, ‘life event’ etc. Once this is done, it will be clear what each snippet is highlighting. Now, think about the flow of the information. Typically people give a summary of a life which means a chronological flow starting with early life, highlighting major life events in order of occurrence. Fill your snippets of information into the chronological timeline and you have your first draft of the eulogy.  

Review & Revise the Information

Once you have your first draft, read it to yourself and you will see if there are any parts that don’t flow. This is where you can revise your script until it feels right. A eulogy does not require learning a speech so once you have got our final draft, you can print it and use it as your script. When printing it, it helps to print it with larger than normal line spacing. This helps you keep track of your location and not get lost in the text. You can also use punctuation, underlining etc to highlight certain parts. 

man writing a eulogy

Practice

The key to public speaking is practice. Familiarity with the material makes it flow smoothly so practicing over and over will make the delivery of the eulogy a small task. The more you practice, the easier it will be when you do it. You will find that you look less and less at your script and use it only as a reference.

Don’t be afraid to show emotion

Memorial services are very emotional events so don’t be afraid to show emotion. It will not be a surprise so if you have to pause during the eulogy, do it and take your time delivering it. People are happy to wait, so don’t panic. Just wait until you feel ready and continue. If you think this is likely, don’t forget to take a tissue.

Following these simple guidelines will help you make and confidently deliver a eulogy for the deceased.

sad lady giving a eulogy

In Conclusion

Spousal bereavement is not something you are expected to get over, however, it is something you can learn to live with and still make the most of your life. Through the use of grief support resources, you can get back to living.

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