Giving a meaningful and moving eulogy can be a nerve-wracking situation for even the most accomplished public speaker, but it need not be. How can you summarise 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 honour 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 persons family and other close relationships, their education/career, hobbies or special interests, places the person lived or travelled too, and any special accomplishments they had.
- Organise 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 of your eulogy to the podium make sure it is easy to read, print it out in a large font, or if it 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 room for humour in your eulogy. Fondly remember a story about the person that everyone can relate too. Keep it appropriate, there will be children and the elderly there that may not share the same sense of humour. Laughter is truly the best medicine, and some well placed humour 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 well in advance if you feel this could be an issue.
- Have a glass of water as well as tissues handy.
Death Notice for Newspaper
Writing a Death Notice (or Obituary) is a difficult and emotional task. Murphy Family Funerals will guide you through the wording and submit it to your chosen newspapers.
Should you wish to create the notice yourself before meeting the funeral director, see instructions below.
Using the template will help make the process easier and will ensure you write a properly structured Death Notice.
Date of Death:
Died at: (Location)
Late of: (where they currently lived)
Formerly of: (where they previously lived)
Beloved: (list of family eg Beloved father of; son of; grandpa to;)
(Name) funeral service will be held in (location) on (date) at (time).
Relatives and friends are invited to attend.
In Lieu of flowers donations can be made at the service for (charity name if any)