How to Start a Eulogy
If you were requested to deliver a eulogy during the funeral or cremation services, it means you have a close relationship with the deceased. A eulogy is a speech given during the service to praise and celebrate the life of the departed. For some family members, giving this speech may be very painful, especially if the death is sudden or the person being laid to rest is too young. In these instances, a family friend is usually tasked to deliver the eulogy.
Why is Giving a Eulogy Important?
Though this is not a mandatory segment of the funeral program, it is one of the most poignant and memorable moments of a service for anyone who decides to include it. Some guests may be there for the mourning family members, so they do not know the deceased well. Others only know the deceased during a part of his or her life. Conducting this eulogy is a chance for everyone to know different facets of the one being laid to rest. It also helps those who are very close to the deceased to manage their grief when they hear that their loved one lived a full life.
Do keep in mind that the eulogy is not the same as an obituary or an elegy. The terms may sound the same, but they have different purposes. An obituary is a short death announcement about the life of the deceased, and it usually appears in newspapers or online. An elegy, on the other hand, are lyrical funeral poems for the deceased. You can also incorporate them into your speech. Unlike the other two, a eulogy will allow you to give more details about your relationship with the deceased.
How to Begin Writing the Eulogy?
If you are feeling awkward and uncomfortable at the thought of being a eulogist, do not fret. What you’re feeling is completely normal. Not everyone is adept in public speaking, and addressing the crowd in something difficult like a funeral makes things even more complex. You may find yourself tempted to rush through your speech to get things over with. But, please resist the urge and remember this is your last tribute to your departed loved one.
To help you calm down, take the time to plan your speech. It would help to go through photo albums or read past letters to help spark some ideas. Watching old video clips or visiting the deceased’s social media platforms may also remind you of a touching event that you could have forgotten. You may also consider going through the deceased’s belongings as his or her personal mementos will surely bring an onslaught of fond memories.
What is the Structure of the Speech?
The eulogy is typically 5 to 10 minutes long, which may be a short time frame when you are trying to sum up many years of a person’s life. However, you cannot make it too verbose or long because the service has a fixed number of hours, and you also have to be considerate of the attendees. When it comes to the approach, there is no right or wrong way to get things done. The best advice is to write your speech and say it straight from the heart.
Think of it as writing a letter to your deceased friend. The tone can be conversational and personal. Even if death is a serious and sad topic, you can still include snippets of your fun times together. Sometimes, having something to smile about is uplifting for those who are grieving. Be sure to include the deceased’s contributions to his or her work, the family, and the community. Hearing about accomplishments will be comforting for the ones left behind. After all, your thoughts about the deceased comprise the legacy he or she is leaving in this world.
If you are finding it difficult to put your thoughts into words, you can also opt to choose other ways to express your feelings. Try using the favorite song of the deceased to set the mood. Another great idea is injecting inspirational quotes or hopeful Bible verses in your speech. These soothing words can perfectly encapsulate what you want to provide support and comfort.
How Can The Ideas Be Outlined?
Again, there is no strict structure that you must follow. You can be as creative and expressive as you want to be. Just remember that you are honoring your deceased loved one and paying your last respects. Here is a quick outline to help you out:
- Give your opening greeting by introducing who you are and what your relationship is with the deceased.
- Should you be a family member, now is the time to thank everyone for coming, especially those who traversed miles to be there.
- If you are not part of the family, express your deepest sympathies with the ones left behind.
- Narrate what makes the deceased special–you can include hobbies, career highlights, community service, religious activities, etc. This is the meat of your speech, so be generous in describing what a great role model this person is.
- Share anecdotes about your personal relationship and the deceased’s impact in your life.
- Do your closing remarks!
Delivering a eulogy is a wonderful way to say goodbye to your loved one. It is your last chance to acknowledge a life so beautifully lived. It is also your opportunity to remind the bereaved family members and friends of the memories this person is leaving behind. Don’t forget that a eulogy can only be successful when delivered with love, honor, and respect.