“Although it is difficult today to see beyond the sorrow,
May looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow” – Author unknown
To put it simply, a eulogy is a formal expression of praise for someone who passed away recently. Great eulogies add to the grandeur and the sublimity of a funeral. Some funerals become memorable because of the eloquent and moving eulogies that break upon the audience in tender waves of pain and remembrance. When Princess Di passed away, her brother immortalized her funeral service with this remark, “the greatest irony of her life is that a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was the most hunted person of the modern age.”
Unfortunately, the ancient art of eulogizing is becoming rarer and rarer. Many families have to make do without a eulogy because of the inability to write or the unwillingness to deliver a eulogy. So, some funerals are forced to fall back upon the clergy for a token eulogy. When the person writing the eulogy does not know the deceased it makes for poor text indeed.
How to write a eulogy:
Writing a eulogy does not have to be an excruciatingly painful experience. After all, a eulogy is a great way to acknowledge and remember a person who has passed away. Eulogies offer some basic information about the deceased. But a eulogy that is an objective rendering of a handful of important dates and events is boring at best, painful at worst.
Primarily, a good eulogy should express genuine feelings of pleasure and pain; pleasure prompted by memories of shared experiences in the past, and pain evoked by a deep sense of loss and futility. Praiseworthy eulogies aim to celebrate the life of the deceased through words that hit the audience somewhere deep inside.
With this objective in mind, some eulogies may be serious while others may be specked with tiny bits of humor. It is wrong to believe that humor is inappropriate during such a somber occasion. Humor puts the audience at ease, and breaks the palpable tension usually felt during funeral services. It gives the audience a welcome break while bringing home the loss of a dear friend or loved one powerfully.
“His cats won’t miss his stroking hand,
Like all cats they will understand
That other hands can open tins
And spoon the meals that purring wins….” – Torr
Make the eulogy clear and simple. The burden of writing the eulogy can be shared. Ask for information and enlist the help of relatives and friends in drawing out interesting and appreciable incidents. Above all, be honest. If you have to eulogize someone with negative traits, remember the old saying that ‘discretion is the better part of valor’. Omit the undesirable parts and if you must mention the negative, (suppose you’re talking about an old dragon of a spinster aunt who loved doling out liberal doses of verbal attack) put a compassionate spin on it.
While delivering the speech, remember it is okay to laugh and cry. No matter what happens, people are usually very accommodative during such occasions. Deliver your text in a calm and relaxed manner. Remind yourself that you are surrounded by loving friends and family, who are with you hundred percent. Make eye contact if possible and allow your audience to respond in whatever fashion they deem right.
Bringing up pain and working through it is one way of dealing with loss. A eulogy is therefore not just a thing of beauty; it is a much needed outlet for feelings that are still raw and throbbing. It’s a celebration of life and a defiance of death – death may take away the body but can never take away the thoughts and emotions associated with the person. It is a last collective goodbye to a person who has gone beyond the horizons of touch and into the realms of thoughts.
Words that Last a Lifetime and Beyond
Forget about spending hours trying to write a eulogy from scratch. Follow the templates provided in Heartfelt Eulogies e-Book and spend your time with the family who need you the most.