Tell Their Story
When giving a eulogy at a funeral, it’s important to remember that everyone who knew your loved one knew them differently. Those listening could be a work acquaintance, childhood friend, or neighbor. They’ll each have their own memories of the deceased, but they might not have the simplest facts. Giving a brief but detailed summary of their life from their birth until death can be a beautiful and revealing experience. Start with where they were born, on what day, and in which city. You can also include some relevant historical information to frame the story of their life. For example, if you are writing a eulogy for your great-grandparent, mentioning that they grew up before electricity was widely available will help those listening to know how much change your great-grandparent lived through. List relevant milestones, such as where they graduated from, who they married, and if they had children. Sketch out the life of your loved one, one fact at a time.
Remember the Good Times
If reciting a brief history of your loved one is a sketch of their life, telling stories of their personality is the paint on the canvas. Retell stories from their life that make you smile. You can share an anecdote directly involving you, or you can share one of their “legendary” moments: a story that everyone who knew the deceased is familiar with, but loves to hear. If you have a specific moment where you witnessed your loved one being selfless or kind, share it. When we remember the good times we shared with someone, our hearts begin to heal. Sharing these stories will also inspire those listening to think fondly of their memories with the deceased, and they will likely share those stories after the funeral.
Share Their Passion
Everyone is passionate about something in their life. Whether it be sports, animals, or activism, we can all relate to loving something so much it can define us. When writing a eulogy, be sure to bring up the things that your loved one was passionate about. You can even go a step further and set up a memorial fund for whatever their passion was. For example, if they were an animal lover, you could collect money to donate to a local shelter in their name. If they loved sports, you fundraise money for a local team. If they were passionate about activism, you could provide a scholarship fund for underserved communities. Whatever made them happiest, celebrate them by giving back to it in their name.
No one’s perfect. While a eulogy isn’t the place to air any dirty laundry, it’s okay to acknowledge the shortcomings of a person if, in the end, you believe that highlighting these things will lead to something better for those listening. For example, if your loved one battled addiction, it’s okay to share their struggles, as acknowledging this may lead others to seek help or recovery. Writing a eulogy can be difficult if your relationship with the deceased was strained. Just remember that a eulogy isn’t solely for you; it’s for everyone at the funeral. You can honor your own feelings and experiences while also honoring the life of another person.
The end of the eulogy is often the most emotional part for the person speaking. It’s okay to feel vulnerable, and to write from a place of vulnerability. This is your chance to say goodbye to your loved one, and also leave those listening with a sense of peace. Ending the eulogy with words of comfort, friendship, and love will allow the healing process to begin for everyone present. It will also allow you a final goodbye to your loved one. While those who pass on are never really gone, ending the eulogy with words of love will keep their memories alive.
We hope that these five suggestions will bring you peace as you write a meaningful eulogy for your loved one.
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