What is a Eulogy

A Eulogy is a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, especially a tribute to someone who has died. Eulogies are recited at funeral services or at memorial services and are regarded as a reflection on the life that was lived, the legacy left behind and the lives that were touched by the deceased person.

Some eulogies give insight into the life of the individual that was little known by those attending the funeral and brings those hidden aspects of the life lived to the forefront. The purpose of the eulogy is to soothe the bereaved family and leave a lasting impression of the deceased.

Prior to the funeral service a decision must be made to determine who will be reciting the eulogy, we do not want at the last minute to make this decision. In most instances it will be a close relative of the deceased for example a member of the immediate kin or a close relative or friend of the family. Whomever the individual maybe the eulogy is prepared before the funeral service. In some instances, the reciter may orate without written text, this too is also acceptable. the writer may wish to draw from information from family members and or friends to give a balanced view of the deceased life.

Eulogies normally begins with the early history of the departed and progresses to include young adulthood and the latter years of the individual. In some instances, people summarize the life of the deceased to give a sense of heritage and give listeners a sense of the life of the deceased.  Eulogies which focus on specific aspects of a person’s life may, for example look at their working relationship or relationships and habits displayed as a member of an organization or their work ethic to name a few.

Although the contents of a eulogy may differ the purpose is to give snapshots or pictures of the life that was lived at different stages and highlight the standout aspects of the life history. The purpose is to leave a lasting positive memory of the individual for their relatives to have and cherish.

Writing a Eulogy

Think first: Come to a decision on the type of memory you would like to portray of the departed. For example, a life history, a side of the deceased that you alone can attest too, their life in an organization or experiences you shared. Whatever aspect of the person’s life you choose to highlight however, first get a clear insight on the topic you choose to embark

Seek help: It is okay to ask persons who knew the deceased for information that you can use to compose your eulogy. Sometimes the information you gather can be quite inciteful and would make for a good story at the funeral

Photos: Pictures tell stories of their own, they bring memories of events that occurred and can draw on you to recount moments that were well spent. Pictures capture memories of our lives and they can be used to preserve a life shared

Time Frame: Start composing your eulogy when you know that you are chosen to eulogize the deceased. Doing so gives you the opportunity to research, seek opinions on what you have written and to make changes as needed prior to the funeral. You can use the opportunity to ask others for input and make the presentation at the funeral easier and more informed.

Practice: It has always been said that practice makes perfect. When the eulogy is completed you can read the document out loud and have someone listen in to give constructive criticism on the contents. It provides a good opportunity for you to change some things and, build your confidence prior to the funeral. Practice also helps you to control your tones and focus on the person who has died and the message you want to convey rather than being concerned about your own feelings