Should I Write and Deliver a Eulogy?
Writing and delivering a eulogy can be an incredible honor and an emotionally charged experience. It can also be difficult and intimidating. Whether or not to take on this challenge should be decided on a case-by-case basis. If you have been asked to give a eulogy, it is important to consider your own comfort level, your relationship to the deceased, your ability to express your thoughts in a meaningful way, and the wishes of the family. It can be a great way to honor the memory of a loved one, but it is ultimately up to you to decide if it is the right thing to do.
What is a eulogy?
A eulogy is a speech given at a funeral or memorial service as a way to commemorate the life of someone who has passed away. Traditionally this speech is given by a member of the immediate family or a very close friend, but it can also be given by a colleague or a member of the community. Eulogies often include the stories, memories, and lessons the person left behind. Eulogies are often written, but they can also be improvised. While eulogies are sometimes considered a dying custom, they are actually very common. In a 2009 survey, 87% of respondents reported that they had given or heard a eulogy.
Considerations when deciding whether to deliver a eulogy
- Who are you speaking to? You are likely going to be in the limelight when you deliver a eulogy, but the people in the audience will be grieving and will likely be focusing on their own thoughts and feelings. It is important to remember that your words are going out to a larger audience, including the deceased’s friends and family, members of the immediate family, other speakers, etc. You may want to consider whether you have the right things to say to this wider range of people.
- What are you trying to accomplish? While a eulogy is often an opportunity to celebrate a person’s life, it can also be used to mourn and process grief. This means that you will have to decide if a eulogy is the right venue to express your emotions. Additionally, you need to decide what you want to accomplish by delivering a eulogy. Are you hoping to inform people about the person’s life? Are you trying to send a message or inspire people in some way? Or perhaps you are trying to encourage people to take on a certain cause or message. - What are your abilities? While anyone can write and deliver a eulogy, not everyone is fit to do so. You need to assess your strengths and weaknesses and decide if a eulogy is within your capability. This includes your ability to write a eulogy that pays tribute to the deceased person in an effective way.
Benefits of delivering a eulogy
- It gives you an opportunity to reflect on the life of the deceased person. This will allow you to process your emotions and remember the person’s life. Additionally, it allows you to contemplate their impact on the world and how others are remembering them. - It is a great way to honour the deceased person’s memory and leave a lasting impression. A eulogy is something that will likely be remembered long after the funeral or memorial service. This means that it is something that can positively impact people you may never meet and bring good into the world. - It can be a way to support the family during a difficult time. Family members may be grappling with complicated emotions after losing someone close to them. This may make delivering a eulogy challenging. Bringing attention to the deceased person’s life and impact can help to ground the emotions and bring closure to the family.
Challenges of delivering a eulogy
- It can be an emotionally difficult experience. The eulogy may be the first time you have to reflect on the death of a loved one. This can be incredibly painful, but it is also a necessary step in the grieving process. - It may force you to confront your own mortality. When you are standing in front of a large crowd reflecting on the life of a deceased person, you are likely to confront your own feelings and be reminded of your own mortality. - It can be anxiety provoking. You may feel pressured to say the right thing or you may be worried about how to deliver your eulogy.
How to write a eulogy
- Understand what a eulogy is. Before you begin writing a eulogy, you need to understand what it is and what it is not. It is a commemoration of the deceased person’s life that can be celebratory or somber. It is not an obituary, which is a factual description of the person’s life.
- Identify why you are giving a eulogy. As you are writing a eulogy, you need to have a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want to inform people about the deceased person’s life? Are you trying to send a message or inspire people in some way? Or perhaps you are trying to encourage people to take on a certain cause or message.
- Gather your thoughts. You don’t have to write the eulogy from scratch. Instead, you should gather your thoughts and memories and jot them down. You may want to try writing by hand.
- Outline your eulogy. Once you have all your ideas written down, you can begin to outline your eulogy. You can either write it in a word processing program or outline it by hand and then go back and type it out.
Tips for delivering a eulogy
- Practice your eulogy out loud. This will allow you to see how it flows and identify any areas that need improvement.
- Find support and encouragement. You may want to ask a friend or family member to listen to your eulogy and provide constructive criticism. You may also want to research online forums or communities that are focused on giving eulogies.
- Focus on the positive. It can be easy to get caught up in your own emotions and dwell on the negative aspects of the deceased person’s life. Instead, focus on the positive aspects and try to be as balanced as possible.
- Make sure you are prepared. Make sure that you have the eulogy written down and have practiced it enough times so that you are comfortable delivering it.
- Use your own words. While you can certainly draw inspiration from other eulogies, you don’t want to copy them word for word. This will take away from the originality of your words and the impact they have.
- Don’t rush it. Whenever you are delivering a eulogy, you want to move at a comfortable pace. This will allow you to be as authentic as possible and not rush through your words.
How to handle emotions when delivering a eulogy
- Be prepared for complicated emotions. You may feel a wide range of emotions while delivering a eulogy. You may feel sadness, anger, and even guilt. You may have trouble getting the words out or you may find yourself crying. This is completely normal and you shouldn’t worry about holding back your emotions.
- Decide when to allow yourself to cry. There is a time and place for tears. You don’t want to delay the eulogy and you don’t want to keep it from your loved ones. You just want to decide when you want to let those tears flow.
- Take your time. If you feel like you need to pause or take a break, don’t hesitate to take a few deep breaths or take a moment to collect yourself.
- Go off script if you need to. If you need a few extra seconds to collect yourself, go off-script and take as much time as you need. You can always go back to what you planned on saying after you have yourself together again.
If/When You Need a Eulogy
How wonderful would it be if you never had to hire a eulogy writer? To never have to say goodbye to a loved one and instead, always cherish their memory. Sadly, this is not the world we live in. But if you're ever in the situation of needing a eulogy writer, you can be sure that there are professionals out there to help you. A eulogy writer will be able to write a heartfelt tribute to your loved one that captures their essence and their legacy. So, while we all hope to never need a eulogy writer, we want you to know that The Eulogy Writers is here if you do.
Steve Schafer is the founder of TheEulogyWriters and the author of hundreds of heartfelt, wonderful eulogies. He lives in Michigan and has been writing eulogies for well over thirty years. The articles in this blog are designed to help people through the process of losing loved ones and exploring issues in the aging process.
The Eulogy Writers
4092 Old Dominion Dr.
West Bloomfield, MI 48323
Writers: Steve Schafer, Ralph DiBiasio-Snyder, Abi Galeas, Miriam Hill
Steve's Personal Cell Phone: (734) 846-3072
Our email address is: Write4Me@TheEulogyWriters.com