A eulogy is defined as, “a commendatory oration or writing especially in honor of one deceased.” Eulogies are most commonly given at funeral ceremonies or at the gravesite of a fallen loved one. Being asked to deliver a eulogy can be a double-edged sword. It shows that you are honored as important to the deceased, however, because you know the deceased person well it can be a very emotionally draining task.
How do you deliver a eulogy to remember? The most important thing to realize is that you must plan the eulogy. Write it out. This is critical. Eulogies are given at extremely emotional times in people’s lives. You will forget. You may cry. Others may laugh or cry when you are giving the eulogy. So be prepared. Write it down and practice delivering the eulogy prior to the service.
In order to develop a eulogy you will have to decide whether you want to share memories of times you shared with the deceased or give a more structured narrative and life history of the person and mix in a few memories. Either way is totally acceptable. Remember your audience and develop the eulogy with them in mind. Be sure to include in your eulogy examples of getting through the hard times and the good times. Sharing a quirky aspect to your relationship or a funny experience with your loved one is also encouraged. Why? This form of writing will witness to the closest friends and family members of the person who passed away.
A few things are better avoided when writing an eulogy. Avoid cliches like, “This too shall pass,” or “Death keeps no calendar.” Don’t include controversial family issues in the eulogy or any judgements about the person that are not positive. A eulogy is not the place to make a statement about any issues you may have had with the deceased. It is a form of writing meant to be a comfort and an uplifting message for the family and loved ones of the deceased.
Finally, stay within the guidelines you are given for length of time. Some eulogies are two minutes long and some are twenty-five minutes long. Frequently there is not a set limit on the time for a eulogy. Aim for between 7 – 10 minutes. This will give you plenty of time to share your stories and tell about your loved one without it feeling to your audience like you are going on and on. However long your eulogy is or whatever style you choose, do your best to honor the deceased and their family. Your eulogy of your loved one will not be forgotten by those who were closest to the one who has passed away.