Remembering the deceased with heartfelt words
A way to pay tribute
A eulogy is a speech or presentation given at a funeral or memorial service. It celebrates and pays tribute to the life of the deceased, and can be delivered by a family member, a friend or the priest, minister or celebrant.
“Eulogy” comes from the ancient Greek word “eulogia”, which means blessing or praise. A tradition that began in ancient Greece, eulogies are a common practice at funerals and memorial services to this day.
A eulogy is a way to say goodbye to the person who has passed away by sharing special memories, feelings and thoughts. Honouring the deceased in this way can help the grieving process.
What can be included in a eulogy?
Being asked to deliver a eulogy is a great honour, but it can also be quite daunting. Make it personal. Let everyone know why you have been given the honour of delivering the eulogy. What’s your relationship with the deceased? How long did you know them? Who asked you to deliver they eulogy?
Then go on to describe the deceased’s life and their achievements. When and where were they born? Who were their parents? Did they have brothers and sisters? Take some time to recount the major milestones in their life – school, university, marriage, children, grandchildren. And talk about their interests and passions. Was there something in their life that they devoted their time to? What were they truly passionate about?
Don’t forget to include some personal anecdotes. Perhaps there’s a funny story about the deceased you can share. Or a memory that will resonate with others at the funeral or memorial service. But take care to avoid negativity and sarcasm.
Think about the tone of the service. Will it be a more traditional service or one with a more casual, informal vibe? And who will be attending? Considering these factors will help to guide you about the types of things to include in the eulogy.
And don’t make it too long. It’s important to convey a clear and concise message, so narrow what you want to say down to a few key points to ensure your eulogy fits within the allocated time.
Remember, people aren’t expecting a professional public speaker. It’s OK if you’re not perfect. Speak from the heart and express what meant most to you about the deceased.
To find out more about how to write a memorable eulogy, read out blog post.