Giving a moving and meaningful eulogy can be a nerve-wracking idea for even the greatest public speakers, but it does not have to be stressful. The question of how to summarize someone’s life in just a few minutes is difficult to answer, especially when you need to be respectful of their family. Writing and delivering a eulogy is a great therapeutic tool for helping with grief, and being selected to give a eulogy is an honor, and should always be treated as one. Here are some tips to help write and deliver a memorable and eloquent eulogy.
- Gather Information
Take the time to talk with the family members and close friends to gather information about the deceased. There is some important information that should be included a eulogy. This information could include their family and close friends, their career/education, any special accomplishments, where they had traveled or lives, and hobbies or interests.
- Organize Your Ideas
Jotting down your ideas only takes a few seconds and could help you remember unique facts about the person. There are many ways that this can be done, so use the method that is the most comfortable for you. Most times, creating an outline for the speech can help you discover if you are missing any information about the person.
- Write It Down
There are many times when you can give speeches without having any notes and make off the cuff remarks, but eulogies are different. Writing down a speech allows you to all include the details you want and makes it easy to remember them. Having a copy of your eulogy at the podium allows you to know what you are going to say. It is recommended that you print a eulogy larger to make it easy to read, even when it is sitting on the podium. There may be time constraints, so it is best to keep a eulogy short.
The first draft of a eulogy is not the last one. Once you think that the eulogy is done, sleep on it, and take a second look at it in the morning. This makes everything fresh, and you can make the revisions as you see fit. There is no exact number of times required to revise a eulogy, so keep taking the time to look it over.
When you are revising your eulogy, you should read it over a few times to become familiar with it. Once you think it is done, start practicing in front of a mirror. You should also read it over with your family and friends, so they can give you some feedback. Practicing can help you know the eulogy, and can help reduce it looking like you are reading from a script. The more practiced you are, the more comfortable you will be at the funeral service.
- Make Your Audience Laugh, but Be Respectful
A funeral service is not a roast, but there is some room for humor in a eulogy. You should tell stories about the person that others can relate to. You need to make sure that it is appropriate because there is going to be elderly people and children who may not have the same sense of humor. Laughter is the best medicine and it can help people cope and start to heal after losing someone close to them. It also helps bring up fond memories of the loved one.
- Never be Afraid to Show Emotion
Funerals are very emotional events, so no one will be upset if you shed a few tears. However, if you think that you are going to become overwhelmed by emotions, have a backup plan where someone you trust will deliver the eulogy for you. It is a good idea to give them a copy of the eulogy beforehand, especially if you are worried about this happening.
- Have some tissues and a glass of water handy
Taking a drink of water, or wiping your face can allow you some time to think about what you are going to say and compose yourself.
Writing an obituary is not an easy task, and can be very emotional one. Before starting to write the obituary, you should talk the deceased’s family and friends about their hobbies, interests, childhood, education, and career. You can also speak with the funeral home to find out important information about the location and dates of the funeral service, and any other funeral-related information. The template below can make the process of writing an obituary easier.
Instructions: Simply replace all items in [and] with the appropriate information. Remove any sentences that do not relate to your loved one.
[GIVEN NAME] [MIDDLE NAME (AND NICKNAME)] [SURNAME NAME], [AGE], of [CITY], [PROVINCE], passed away on [DATE OF DEATH] in [LOCATION OF DEATH].
Funeral service will be held at [LOCATION] on [DATE] at [TIME] with Reverend [NAME] of [CHURCH] officiating. Burial will follow at [CEMETERY NAME], [CEMETERY LOCATION]. Visitation will be held at [LOCATION] on [DATE] at [TIME]. [NAME OF FUNERAL HOME] will be handling the funeral arrangements.
[NAME] was born in [LOCATION OF BIRTH] to [PARENT’S NAMES] on [DATE OF BIRTH]. He/she went to high school at [SCHOOL NAME] and graduated in [YEAR]. He/she went on to earn a degree/certificate in [DEGREE TYPE] from [SCHOOL NAME]. He/she worked as a [JOB TYPE] for [COMPANY] for [NUMBER OF YEARS]. He/she enjoyed [ACTIVITIES/HOBBIES]. He/she received [AWARDS/HONORS] and was involved in [CHARITIES/ORGANIZATIONS].
[NAME] is survived by his/her [RELATION], [NAME] of [CITY]. (List all survivors: spouse children, siblings, parents, grandchildren, nieces and nephews). He/she is preceded in death by his/her [RELATION], [NAME]. (List predeceased: spouse, parents, children, and siblings.)
Memorial donations may be made to [ORGANIZATION NAME], [MAILING ADDRESS]. The family wishes to extend their gratitude to [ORGANIZATION/NAME] [FINAL WORDS].
It should be noted that many newspapers in Nova Scotia will charge by the word. The above template can help get the most information in the shortest amount of words. There is also the option of writing a long obituary to be published online, and a shorter one for the newspaper.