Using Multimedia in a Eulogy

The use of multimedia in a eulogy is becoming more and more common. Having photos scrolling behind the speaker, short video clips at various points in the eulogy and music playing in the background are all examples of how using multimedia in a eulogy can make it more special, memorable and touching.

There are some things that you will need to do if you want to use multimedia in a eulogy.

Check with the Venue

While more and more churches and other facilities have upgraded sound and video systems, some do not. One of the first things you will need to do is check with the location where the service is to be held to see if they can accommodate the use of multimedia. Even if they do not have the equipment, check to see if you can bring in what you will need. Most locations will allow this, but it is always best to check.

You also want to make sure that everyone present will be able to see and hear the multimedia. For very large services in which an overflow room may be used, this could include having a screen on which the multimedia can be displayed in the overflow room.

Gather Music, Video, Photos

Once you know that you will be able to include multimedia, it is time to start gathering the photos, video and music that you might want to use. One especially touching eulogy that included multimedia was at a child’s funeral. Throughout the eulogy, the speaker would pause and video that included the child laughing or singing was played.

Gather as much as you can. You don’t have to use it all, but the more you have to choose from the better.

Tell a Story

Once you have all of the media gathered, you will need to decide how to present it. One option is to use the various pieces of media to tell a story of the person’s life. That doesn’t mean that you tell the whole life story in a eulogy, but instead you can present a slice of his or her life. One site we really like for eulogies is EulogiesMadeEasy.com.

Check the Timing

As is the case with all eulogies, practice is very important. When using multimedia, it is even more important. You need to practice so that you can be sure the timing of your speaking and the multimedia aspects of the eulogy are correct. Also, it will ensure that there are no long pauses and other issues.

Incorporating multimedia in a eulogy is one more way to remember the person being eulogized in a way that will touch the hearts of all who are present.

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Tips for Writing a Last-Minute Eulogy

Most people have a bit of notice when asked to give a eulogy. This allows them to be well-prepared when it comes time to deliver the eulogy. But what if you are asked at the last minute to say something? This could happen for a number of reasons. Perhaps the person who was scheduled to deliver the eulogy was not able to do so. Maybe the family decided, at the last minute, that they would like to hear from you.

Whatever the reason, writing a last-minute eulogy can be stressful, but you can still deliver a eulogy that is touching and appropriate. Here are some tips for writing last minute eulogies.

One Good Story

Think about the person who passed away. Is there one good story that stands out in your mind? It could be a funny story, the story of how you met or a time that the person was especially helpful to you. You can use this one story as a foundation to build the entire eulogy.

Tie your speech together by telling the story at the beginning and then mentioning it again in the middle and near the end of the eulogy.

Use Some Quotes

If you are having trouble writing a last-minute eulogy that you feel is long enough, add in some quotes. These could be quotes from the Bible or other religious texts or inspirational and encouraging quotes. If appropriate, you can also include a quote or two from the person that you are eulogizing. This is an especially good idea if the person was well-known for a certain catchphrase.

If you happen to know the favorite author or poet of the person who has passed, it would be a wonderful gesture to include quotes from that person in the eulogy.

Last Memory

You may also be able to draw inspiration for a last-minute eulogy by considering the last memory that you have of the person. If appropriate, tell the story of the last thing that the person said to you or, perhaps, mention that the last time you saw them they were smiling.

If the person that you are eulogizing was sick for some time, you may choose to share the last good memory that you had together.

Practice

One tip that is same no matter how much time that you have to prepare is that you must practice. Practicing the eulogy will help you make sure that it is of the appropriate length and that you are familiar enough with the content that you will not have to stare at the paper the entire time.

More importantly, because you have gone over the words a few times, it will give you the best chance of being able to get through the eulogy without getting emotional.

Even at the last-minute, you can still create a eulogy that will be a blessing to the family and friends of the one who has passed away.

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Inspiring Others with a Eulogy

It is obviously a difficult emotional time whenever a loved one passes away. That does not mean, however, that you cannot find ways to inspire others through the life – and even through the death – of the person being eulogized.

If you have been asked to deliver a eulogy, consider using the opportunity to honor the deceased by offering a eulogy that will inspire all who hear it. Some people who were particularly giving are very easy to eulogize in a way that encourages others. But no matter how the person lived their life, it can be used as an inspiration for others. Here are some tips.

Life is Short

Reminding people that life is short can be very inspiring when done the right way. Work into the eulogy some wording about how no matter how long our loved ones are with us, it is never enough time. We will always long for one more day. This will remind the hearers that life is, indeed, short and to make the most of every minute.

Follow Your Dreams

If the person being eulogized was someone who accomplished a lot, be sure to take the opportunity to inspire the hearers to follow their dreams in the same way that the deceased did. While this is applicable for anyone who has found a measure of success, it is especially inspiring if the person passed away at a young age yet was still able to achieve many of his or her goals.

The Meaning of Life

No one expects you to be able to explain – or even try to explain – the meaning of life during a eulogy. What you can do, however, is inspire to people to try to find their own meaning. For example, if the person being eulogized was passionate about helping the homeless, loving his family or helping animals, you can speak about that passion in a way that will inspire the hearers to find their own purpose for being here.

Cherish Each Moment

No matter the deceased chose to live their life, you can use the eulogy as a reminder to cherish each moment and not to squander time. Remind the hearers to tell their family that they love them and to take note of the beauty that is around them while they are able to do so.

Inspiring others with a eulogy is one of the best ways to honor the deceased. Including some words of inspiration will help to keep the person’s memory alive in the hearts of those who were moved by your words.

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Eulogies for Especially Tragic or Unexpected Deaths

It is always difficult to lose a loved one. Some deaths, however, are especially tragic such as a violent death, the death of a child or a very unexpected death. Delivering a eulogy in such cases can be very difficult. Sometimes, the death just seems so overwhelmingly sad and unfair, that coming up with the words to say can seem next to impossible. Here are some things to keep in mind when writing a eulogy for this type of situation.

Celebrate the Life

This advice is not only for especially difficult eulogies, but it certainly applies. It can be so difficult not to dwell on the tragedy, but doing so does not honor the person who has died. Instead, be sure to celebrate the life of the person being eulogized. He or she was so much more than the moment of death. Don’t dwell only on the moments of the tragedy. Instead, talk about the good moments the person enjoyed and shared with their loved ones.

Teaching Moment

In some cases, it may be appropriate to insert a teaching moment into the eulogy. For example, if a young person died from drug use and the service will be filled with his or her friends, it may be a good time to remind them that this did not have to happen. Of course, if you are unsure about how the family will feel about such wording, check with them first. Many will be willing to allow it because they don’t want their loved one’s death to have been in vain. If they think they can use this tragedy to save another life, they will do it.

Offer Hope

Finally, it is important to find a way to offer hope. This will not always be easy, but if you can do it, it may help those who are overwhelmed with grief at least see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Even saying something such as, “The hole left by this loss cannot be filled, but that doesn’t mean that the pain you feel today will last always. One day, you will be able to talk about (insert name) without crying. You will be able to remember the good times without those memories being tarnished by crushing pain.”

Don’t be afraid to tell happy or funny stories about the person’s life. The tragedy of the death doesn’t have to carry through in every moment of the service. As mentioned above, you are not only marking a death. You are also celebrating a life.

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Delivering a Eulogy as a Team

Usually, a eulogy is delivered by one person. While there may be more than one eulogy offered, each is given by a separate speaker. Another option is to deliver a eulogy as a team. Some may wonder when this might be appropriate. A few examples are below.

  • The speakers are friends of the deceased from the same period in his or her life such as college friends or childhood friends.

  • The children of the deceased each wish to say something, but do not wish to deliver a formal eulogy alone.

  • The family desires to hear from many speakers. Breaking the speakers into groups is one option of how to accomplish that without taking up too much time.

Whatever the reason that you choose to deliver a eulogy as a team; there are some tips that can help you to organize your thoughts and then deliver them in a cohesive way.

Meet

Delivering a eulogy as a team is going to require that you meet with the other person or people and get your thoughts together. The first step would be brainstorming about the kinds of things that you would like to include in the eulogy. Just write down all of the ideas that you can. You can edit it down later.

Once you have all of your thoughts on paper, consider how you want to present the information and share the speaking. Do you want to go back and forth or just have each person take one turn? There is no right or wrong. Just do what will work best for the group.

Once each person knows what they are going to say, have someone type it all up. Each person should have a copy of everything that will be said, not just of their own parts.

Practice

In addition to each person practicing on their own, it is very important for everyone to practice together. You will need to work on timing, which is especially important if there is a strict time limit placed on the eulogy. You also want to work on smooth transitions from person to person. The only way to do this is by practicing together.

Multimedia

One great idea for delivering a eulogy as a team is to use multimedia such as pictures, video and music. Not only can this help to make the transition between speakers seem smoother, it also adds additional layers to the eulogy making it even more touching and memorable.

Delivering a eulogy along with another person or other people is not the right choice for everyone. If you do choose to do this, follow the tips above so that you will have the best possible results.

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Listing Key Points When Preparing to Write a Eulogy

Writing a eulogy is often an emotional task. For this reason, many who are called upon to write such a tribute make some common mistakes. These include making the eulogy about the speaker and the speaker’s feelings rather than about the deceased. Below is an example.

“As you know I was very close to John. I was so devastated when I got the news that I had to leave work early. It’s been a tough few days for me, but I know it will get easier each day.”

While there is nothing really “wrong” with that, how does it serve to eulogize the deceased?  Instead, you should focus on the traits, accomplishments and other wonderful things about the deceased that make you miss him or her so much.

Rambling is also common when delivering a eulogy. Again, a funeral or memorial service is an emotional time. That doesn’t mean, however, that you must give in to the emotion at the moment that you are delivering the eulogy.

Making a list of key points is a great way to avoid both of the above faux pas.  Before you begin writing, make a list of some items that you want everyone in the audience to know about the deceased. Some could be funny, others poignant. Write freely as you make your list. There is no obligation to include every single item in the eulogy. Instead, making a list of key points will serve as a guide for your writing. Below is what a key points list might look like.

  • Always there for his friends
  • Amazing father
  • Stole the rivals mascot in college
  • Literally gave the coat off his back to a homeless man
  • Slept through one of his final exams, but charmed the professor into letting him take it
  • Never missed an opportunity for fun

Using those key ideas as jumping off points, you can then begin to write and shape the eulogy. Because you have so many key points that you want the audience to know, you will be less likely to make the eulogy about you, instead of about the deceased.

Also, because you will have a well-written eulogy, complete with key points, you will be much less likely to ramble.

When you print off your notes to use when delivering the eulogy, consider having just the key points listed. You likely already know the stories by heart, so there is no need to type them out in their entirety.

By having just the key points as notes, you will be able to hit on everything that you want to discuss, but will not sound as though you are reading the entire eulogy.

The key points will help you stay on track, but without sticking to a word by word speech.

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How to Write a Eulogy for a Friend

If you have been asked to write and deliver a eulogy for a friend, it is likely that you were quite close to the deceased. You probably have plenty of stories from which you can draw and the eulogy will be a way not only to honor the deceased, but to bring a measure of comfort to the family as they are able to listen to your anecdotes about their loved one.

While it can be a difficult task for some, writing a eulogy does not require excellent writing skills. Instead, you will just be talking about someone that you know, and sharing some of the things that you loved about the person.

When writing a eulogy for a friend, you should introduce yourself as there is a good chance that many people in the room may now know you. Then you should talk very briefly about how you met the deceased and the nature of your relationship. For example, “I’m Brad Cooper. I met Scott in college where we were roommates freshman year.”

The point of this is only so that those listening will have an understanding about who is talking. Once those few sentences are out of the way, the meat of the eulogy can begin. If possible and appropriate, include a few stories from over the years. Remember, you are trying to share about the kind of person he or she was. Often, painting a picture over several years is an effective way to do that.

Some find it to be a good idea to talk with the family before writing a eulogy. Ask if there is anything that they want you to include – or leave out – of your eulogy.

Even if they have no input, it is very appropriate that you acknowledge the family and the deceased’s love for the family. Of course, you do not want to lie, but in most cases it will be quite easy to include stories that illustrate the love the deceased had for his wife, children and other relatives.

If it happens that the deceased said some kind things about any of his relatives to you, you could certainly include that, as long as the words were not too personal.

If you were asked to give a eulogy to a friend, you have a wonderful opportunity both to honor his or her memory and to say goodbye. Draw on your own memories and knowledge of the person as well as the wishes of the family.

Doing so will help you to create a eulogy that is touching, appropriate and a wonderful way to honor the person that you have lost.

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How to Write a Eulogy for a Child

Dealing with the death of a child is one of the most difficult things for the family and all who loved the child. If you have been asked to write a eulogy for a young person who has passed away, there are some things that you should keep in mind.

It goes without saying that a child’s funeral is almost always a very sad, emotional affair. The eulogy does not need to be so overly dramatic as to add to the impact of the day. There are some things that are implied and universally understood when it comes to the death of a child, such as no parent should have to bury their child and how unfair it all seems. It is not necessary to include such wording in the eulogy.

Instead, focus on the life of the child. Talk about the things the child enjoyed doing. Share funny things the child said, or how much he or she enjoyed the last vacation they took with their family. Talk about the personality of the child. Were they shy and quiet or outgoing and friendly? Try to paint a picture for those who may not have known the child very well.

If the child said anything that seems profound now that they have died, those words would be an appropriate inclusion in the eulogy as well.

Keep in mind as you prepare to deliver the eulogy just how emotional a child’s funeral can be. Even if you are not normally very emotional, it is easy to be overcome by sadness when you look out at the child’s family and see how they are suffering.

In order to help you get through the reading of the eulogy without getting too emotional, it is a good idea to practice reading what you write out loud several times. Most eulogies for a child are going to be extremely touching. By reading it out loud, you can get used to the words so that they will have a bit less of an impact on your when you read them at the funeral or memorial service.

It is not easy to write a eulogy for a child. Just use the opportunity to remember some of the beautiful moments that the child had during his or her short time on earth. Remind everyone how loved the child was, and how much the child loved his or her family.

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What is the Point of a Eulogy?

When one begins to prepare for writing a eulogy, it may be helpful to keep in mind the point of a eulogy. The point may vary slightly based on each person’s beliefs and preferences, but in general the point of a eulogy is to provide a glimpse into the character and life of the deceased.

There will often be more than one person delivering a eulogy. Each may have a different perspective on the deceased, but the point remains the same. Keeping the points of a eulogy in mind will help you in your writing. Below are a few bullet points to consider.

  • Show the audience how the deceased lived his/her life
  • Show the audience the kind of person the deceased was
  • Show the audience the way the deceased like to spend his or her time
  • Highlight accomplishments, both personal and professional, for which the deceased was proud
  • Share, if applicable, how the deceased actions positively impacted people around him

If you keep those points in mind, it might provide inspiration as you ponder talking points for the eulogy. Just as important as it is to consider the point of a eulogy, it is also a good idea to keep in mind what the eulogy is NOT intended to do.

  • Focus on the speaker’s emotions
  • Highlight character flaws of the deceased
  • Say anything that could be embarrassing to the deceased or his family

As you begin to craft the eulogy, keeping the above points in mind, draw on stories that will illustrate the point rather than telling it. Below is an example.

The point: Deceased was very caring and generous.

Example of telling: John was very generous. He loved to help homeless people and had a soft spot for children in need.

Example of showing: John typically used his Christmas bonus to buy items for a couple of local homeless shelters. One year, he bought toys for every single child in a shelter that housed families in crisis.

By using stories, you will paint a more effective picture of the deceased.

Keeping the point of a eulogy in mind will help you pick and choose which types of stories and anecdotes to include in the eulogy.

As is true in many areas of life, sometimes things are better left unsaid. One of the points of a eulogy is to remember what was good about the life of the deceased, and help the audience understand more about the man or woman who has died.

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What to Say in a Eulogy

Gravestone_[3]If you have been asked to write a eulogy, you may be at a loss about what to include. There are many approaches that one can take when choosing what to say in a eulogy. Those choices would be based on your relationship with the decedent and the overall message that you wish to convey to the listeners.

Below are some ideas about what to say in a eulogy.

Anecdotes

Including anecdotes about the decedent is a great way to help those who may not know him or her as well to get a sense of the kind of person that they were. For example, instead of “telling” the audience how much he liked animals, “show” them by telling a story of how he would rescue every stray dog and cat he found.

The use of anecdotes makes the eulogy much more personal than just reading a list of accomplishments.

Quotes or Scriptures

The use of quotes about life and death and scriptures is another good item to include in a eulogy. Such items are especially helpful to one having trouble trying to figure out what to say in a eulogy. Sometimes, finding the perfect quote or scripture can serve as a sort of launching pad for the rest of the eulogy.

Values

A mention of the decedent’s values is almost always appropriate in a eulogy. Remember, these were the things that were most important to him or her, so it makes sense to highlight this in the eulogy. This does not mean that you have to preach to the listeners. Instead, just mention the values that the decedent held most dear.

How He or She Spent His Life

What to say in a eulogy can include accomplishments or a mention of how the person spent their life. Perhaps they had a successful career. Maybe they dedicated most of their adult life to raising children or to supporting a cause that was important to them.

Mention some of the best accomplishments and, if appropriate, how satisfied they were with their choices.

You do not have to use all of the above ideas in the eulogy that you write. Just pick and choose the items that seem best suited to getting your message across and honoring the one who has passed on.

It can be difficult to choose what to say in a eulogy, but remember that most of the people in the room are there because they cared about the person. Just choose words that will bring comfort and help them to remember the good times they had with the person who has passed on.
Creative Commons License photo credit: simon_cocks

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