November 17, 2011 by admin
Filed under Eulogies for Especially Tragic or Unexpected Deaths, How to write a eulogy
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.
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.
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.
December 5, 2010 by admin
Filed under How to write a eulogy, 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.
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.
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.
If you have been asked to write a eulogy, the prospect of doing so can be a bit intimidating. The good news is that you do not have to be a professional writer in order to develop a eulogy that is beautiful and appropriate.
There are some key points that can be included in most eulogies.
- Introduction of the speaker
This should be very brief. You just want to make sure those who are in attendance know who you are and what your relationship was to the deceased. For example, “My name is Joe Smith, and I worked with Tom for twenty years”.
- Words about the type of person the deceased was
This could include a mention of his moral values, charities or causes that were important to him as well as the impact that he had on those around him.
- Real life stories
Including a few stories from the life of the deceased is a great way to bring the other points that you make in the eulogy to life. For example, instead of just saying “He was dedicated to his church”, say “Every Saturday he could be found on the grounds of his church, making sure the landscaping was perfect for Sunday”.
If the person who died had accomplishments that were important to him, it is a good idea to mention those at some point during the eulogy. This could include career accomplishments and personal milestones, such as running a marathon or winning volunteer of the year at his favorite charity.
- Quotes and or scriptures
Finally, when your own words fail to bring the level of emotion that you want to the eulogy, you can turn to quotes and scriptures. Find books that include quotes about life and death from famous writers. Also, the Bible is a wonderful source of quotes for inclusion in a eulogy.
Some choose to use a powerful quote or scripture as a way to wrap up the eulogy. Others open with such a quote. Either way, most eulogies will include at least one such item.
When starting the process of writing a eulogy, begin by making notes about the person being eulogized. For each of the above categories, jot down some things that you want to include. Once you have all of the information gathered, you can begin to organize it in a way that will make sense and with transitions that will seem natural rather than forced.
Once you have a draft of the eulogy, it is a good idea to practice reading it out loud. This will help to ensure the eulogy is not too short or too long and that it flows in a logical way. This will make the eulogy more memorable to those that will hear it.
photo credit: ryk_neethling