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Funeral/Memorial ServiceDealing with the death of a friend or loved one is never easy. If you’ve been asked to give the eulogy, you may feel anxious. You might worry that you won’t know what to say, you’ll lose your composure while speaking or that you won’t do justice to honoring their life. While these are ordinary doubts to have, you can overcome them. Following some useful tips should help as you compose and deliver your address at the funeral.

Reflect on Your Loved One’s Life

According to the Oxford Living Dictionaries, the word “eulogy” is derived from the ancient Greek word “eulogia,” which means “praise.” The usual purpose of a eulogy is to memorialize a deceased person in a positive light. Funeralwise recommends sharing stories with family and friends and reflecting on the person’s life. You could uncover a long-forgotten humorous tale, review what you already knew or find an important central theme on which to write. Perhaps you might focus on his or her kindness, or a sense of humor, creativity or some other positive aspect of his or her life.

Silence Your Inner Critic and Write

As you’re preparing your eulogy, it’s tempting to fall prey to the critic inside your head. For some individuals, this nattering voice seems to judge every word penned on the page. “That sounds horrible.” “That isn’t good enough.” Rest assured, you’ll have the opportunity to revise your address for grammar and clarity later. When you’re writing your first draft, just concentrate on getting your ideas and sentiments into words and do not worry about how they sound. As a starting point, try a freewriting session or making a list of ideas and memories you’d like to talk about.

Consider Your Audience

As you’re crafting the final version of your eulogy, keep in mind what sort of tone and language will best minister to those present. In a 2015 Esquire article, contributor Tom Chiarella advised thinking of your fellow mourners in terms of “concentric rings of loyalty.” Those sitting in the front row are usually the deceased’s closest family, followed by the rest of the attendees, then the neighborhood, then your town and so forth. Unless it is appropriate to the memory of the departed person’s life, it’s best to steer clear of politics and issues and focus on what made him or her human. Chiarella also recommends including moments of humor in your talk to allow your listeners to have a short emotional break.

Revise, Reread and Rehearse

Before you give your eulogy, you should read through it to catch grammar, spelling and clarity problems. It’s also wise to check with the family to see if there is a desired time limit. You’ll likely get between three to five minutes to speak, so it may be helpful to read your address aloud and use a time or stopwatch to make sure you don’t exceed your allotted time slot. If you’re long on words, try reading through your piece again to cut away any fluff.

Furthermore, practicing your eulogy at home will help you feel confident as you speak at the funeral. Remember that it’s natural to break down and have an emotional moment while delivering such an address, so don’t worry if this happens. Just take a moment to regain your composure, find the spot where you left off and continue speaking. 

Don’t Sweat It, but Be Prepared

You may feel pressured or “on the spot” if you’ve been asked to give a eulogy. Nevertheless, you can do it with a little bit of advance preparation. Writing and revising your words, practicing your speech, choosing your language with your audience in mind and observing time limits are all good steps in planning. As you’re getting ready, remember to relax and focus on memorializing your friend in a loving way.

Category: Funeral Ceremonies


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