It is an honor to be asked to speak at a loved one’s end of life services. For many communities, this spoken tribute is called a eulogy and is often given by those nearest and dearest to the departed. While it may feel overwhelming to speak at such an emotional event, the comfort and memories your eulogy can provide will likely be a cherished gift for those gathered.
Take Your Time + Reflect | Eulogy’s range from 3-5 minutes and tend to be shared with a large audience, be it in person or virtually. Writing a eulogy can be extremely difficult and emotional, especially as you think back on your relationship with the recently departed. While you may only have a few days to write a eulogy, it’s important to give yourself the space and time to truly reflect on the life of your loved one and create a lasting memory through your words.
Gather Stories | Talk to Loved Ones | Remember that the recently departed may have had many roles in their life, be it parent, sibling, co-worker, friend, and so many more. Of course, you have many of your own stories and memories to share, but if possible, it’s special to gather memories from others and incorporate them into your eulogy where appropriate. Often times, there may only be one or two people asked to give a eulogy, so it’s a real testament to the departed to share the many ways in which their life impacted others.
Create an Outline | In order to streamline your thoughts, it’s helpful to write an outline as a guide for your eulogy. This guide may include a quote or passage you want to read or even a funny story to start off or end with. Writing an outline will also help flush out ideas or stories that may not end up in the final version of the eulogy.
Edit and Practice | Public speaking is difficult under normal circumstances, so it’s extra important to practice your eulogy on your own and also, if possible, in front of a trusted friend or family member who can help you make edits where needed. It is often hard to get through a eulogy without crying or becoming emotional, so by practicing, you will be more comfortable with your eulogy and may be able to get through it more easily. If you do cry, just remember this is a difficult time.
After delivering your eulogy, you may want to consider giving a copy to the immediate family of the departed, so they can reflect back on your words at a later time.