Writing The Eulogy
A eulogy is meant to jog other people’s memories about the deceased, and while it is difficult to sum up a life story in a few words, a couple of typed A4 pages (about ten minutes of reading) is of suitable length for a funeral service.
A eulogy traditionally opens with a chronological list of important “milestones” in a person’s life such as birth, education, career changes and choices, marriages, graduations, family events and so forth.
Despite this, you may opt to open your eulogy with a poem or a reading that sets a certain tone, followed by a straight chronology of the person’s life events. Similarly, you might choose to open with a passage of literature or a remark that characterises, or was loved by that person.
But however you choose to open the eulogy, keep in mind that the words are a starting point for others to open their memories. It is important, therefore, to include your personal feelings about this special person. Identify three or four of the person’s main attributes, and speak about whether they tended to make you feel happy, sad, cranky or even silly. And don’t forget to include anecdotes, if you can. Amusing and comical events can be the most revealing and memorable mirrors into a person’s soul.
Finally, don’t forget that other immediate family members may wish to contribute to a eulogy, even though they may feel that they are unable to speak at the funeral. It is wise to check with them. Include their offerings if you can.
Delivering The Eulogy
If nobody at the gathering of family and friends feels capable of delivering the eulogy in public, then it may be pre-taped and played, or typed and handed to the leader of the ceremony for delivery.
If you are planning an informal gathering please consult us for some important points about how to officiate at a funeral.
Symbols, Mementos & Music
Photographs, symbols or other life-mementos of the deceased may be displayed at a funeral.
If you choose to display a photograph, keep in mind that it ought to be a characteristic shot — not necessarily a recent snap but an image that captures the person’s personality. Photo processing outlets may be able to help you if, for example, you want to include more than one image in a picture, or if you wish to extract a small image from a larger one.
A few well chosen items, such as trophies, hats, sporting implements, or other mementos may also enhance proceedings.
Similarly, a eulogy may be finalised with a chosen piece of music — a tune that once held special meaning for the deceased, or a melody that will give special comfort and ease to the grieving family.