Whether you’re planning a tradition funeral or a celebration of life after the loss of a loved one, you may wonder what to say when it’s your turn to speak. Here are some tips on how to put together a meaningful message.
- Look back through time. Browse through photos, calendars, letters, emails and social media sites to journey back through the person’s life and your history together. Make a note of any special memories that you want to share at the gathering.
- Give credit. You might want to focus on very special milestones or accomplishments, life cycle events or the most important relationships in the person’s life. You can also talk about the life lessons you learned from this person.
- Use their own words. Did the person have any favourite stories or sayings, or do you have a story that highlights some of their unique characteristics or mannerisms? Stories are a wonderful way to engage your listeners and paint a colourful picture of a person’s personality and life.
Give yourself enough time to complete the task of writing a eulogy. You probably won’t want to do it all in one sitting, as it might be an emotional experience. It’s also likely that going through this process will spark new memories and you want to allow time to add those ideas.
Once you’ve put all your notes together on paper, organize your eulogy into an introduction, main section and conclusion. In the introduction, explain who you are and how you know the person who died. In the main section, share the information you put together out of your research and reflection time. In your conclusion, summarize the main message that you want people to take away about your loved one.
Practice reading your eulogy out loud so you can hear how the words flow together, or change the ones that don’t. You may want to read it to someone else for their feedback and suggestions. They may have things they want to add as well. Time yourself reading the eulogy, and try to keep it to 10 minutes or less.
Speaking in front of a group can be an uncomfortable experience, especially when you are also grieving the loss of a loved one. Planning ahead before you give a eulogy can help you focus on the meaning of the moment.