Giving a meaningful, moving eulogy can be a nerve-wracking situation for even the most accomplished public speaker, but it need not be. How can you summarize somebody’s life in a few short minutes while being both somber and funny at the same time? Writing and delivering a eulogy is a therapeutic tool to help deal with your grief and being chosen to give a eulogy is an honor and should be treated that way. Here are some tips for writing and delivering an eloquent and memorable eulogy.
- Gather information. Talk with family members, close friends and co-workers to get important information on the deceased. Some important information to include in the eulogy is the deceased's family and other close relationships, their education/career, hobbies or special interests, places the person lived or traveled too, or any other special accomplishments.
- Organize your thoughts. Jot down your ideas by whatever means are most comfortable and familiar to you. Create an outline of your speech, and fill in the information that you gathered about the person.
- Write it down. This is not a toast at a wedding where you can make off the cuff remarks, and you should not ad-lib a eulogy. Writing it all down allows you to include and remember every detail you wanted in your eulogy. When you bring a copy your eulogy to the podium make sure it is easy to read, print it out in a large font, or if it's hand-written leave a few spaces between the lines. Keep in mind your time constraints, it’s best to keep things on the short side, especially if there are other speakers.
- Review and Revise. Your first draft will not be the last. When you think you are done, sleep on it and look it over in the morning when it is fresh again, that will be the time to make any necessary revisions.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. Read over your eulogy several times in order to become familiar with it. Practice in front of a mirror, read it over to some friends or family and have them give you feedback. Become familiar with your speech so you can recite it without making it look like you’re reading from a script. The more you practice the more comfortable you will be.
- Make them laugh, but be respectful. A funeral is not a roast, however there is typically room for a little tasteful humor in a eulogy. Fondly remember a story about the person that everyone can relate too. Keep it appropriate, there will be young children and the elderly present that may not understand or share the same sense of humor. Laughter is truly the best medicine, and some well placed humor will help people cope, and will bring back fond memories of the deceased.
- Don’t be afraid to show emotion. Funerals are an extremely emotional event, nobody expects you not to shed a few tears. However, if you feel that you will be too strongly overcome by your emotions, have a back-up plan in place where someone you trust can deliver the eulogy for you. Give them a copy in advance if you feel this could become an issue.
- Have a glass of water as well as tissues handy.
Writing an obituary is often a difficult and emotional task. Your funeral director should be able to write the obituary for you and submit it to the appropriate publications. The submission process can be tricky and the expense for running an obituary in newspapers can be very costly. Funeral directors are skilled at trimming obits down so they are as informative as possible while helping keep the costs down.
To complete an obituary you will, first; Need to gather information from family and friends about the deceased -their childhood, extended family, education, career, hobbies and interests. You should speak to the funeral home to include any important information on the date, time and location of any funeral service, or other funeral related events.
Below you will find the template for a standard obituary which is designed to help make the process easier and will ensure you write a properly structured obituary.
Instructions: Replace all items in [BOLD BRACKETS] below with the appropriate information.
“[GIVEN NAME] [MIDDLE INITIAL] “[NICKNAME]” [SURNAME], [AGE], of [CITY], [STATE], died on [DATE OF DEATH] at [PLACE OF DEATH], [CITY OF DEATH].
He/She was the husband/wife of (the late, if necessary) [SPOUSE’S NAME/MAIDEN NAME] for [X] years.
Born in [CITY/STATE OF BIRTH], He/She was a son/daughter of (the late, if necessary) [PARENT’S NAMES] (including mother’s maiden name).
He/she went to high school at [SCHOOL NAME] graduating in [YEAR]. He/she went on to earn a degree/certificate in [DEGREE TYPE] from [SCHOOL NAME].
[NAME] worked as a [JOB TITLE] for [NAME OF EMPLOYER] for [X] years, prior to his/her retirement in [YEAR OF RETIREMENT, if necessary].
He/she enjoyed [ACTIVITIES/HOBBIES]. He/she received [AWARDS/HONORS] and was involved in [CHARITIES/ORGANIZATIONS].
[NAME] was a member of [CHURCH] in [CITY].
Surviving is his/her [RELATION], [NAME], [SPOUSE’S NAME] of [CITY]. (List all survivors: children, grandchildren, siblings, parents, nieces and nephews. It is not necessary to list spouse if they were mentioned above. For immediate family members, spouses and city of residence are traditionally listed. If space is limited, only name the closest family members and abbreviate extended family with phrases such as “[number] of grandchildren” and “many nieces and nephews”, etc.) He/she was preceded in death by his/her [RELATION], [NAME]. (List predeceased: spouse, parents, children and siblings.)
Funeral/Memorial service will be held [TIME] on [DATE] at [LOCATION] [ADDRESS OF LOCATION]. Viewing/Visitation/Calling will be held [TIME] on [DATE] at [LOCATION] [ADDRESS OF LOCATION if different from location of service]. Interment will be in [NAME OF CEMETERY] [LOCATION OF CEMETERY].
Memorial contributions can be made to [NAME OF ORGANIZATION] [MAILING ADDRESS OF ORGANIZATION].
Naugle Funeral & Cremation Service, Quakertown, are in charge arrangements. www.nauglefcs.com
Please note: Obituaries can get very expensive. Newspapers often charge per line, so sometimes it’s best to limit personal information to just a few points that best represent what mattered most to your loved one. This template is good for getting all the information necessary in as few words as possible. Remember, this a sample template and can be written in a format preferred by the family. You can make any adjustments you feel appropriate.
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