Presenting a eulogy is a great honor. The purpose of a eulogy is to acknowledge and share information about a person’s life and is an important part of the grieving process for the presenter, as well as the audience. It is natural to be nervous when you are to give a eulogy, but the opportunity to share memories about how a person you loved impacted your life, and the life of others, is something to be proud of.
A good place to start is to make a list of thoughts and memories you would like to share. Talking with family members and friends can be very helpful in developing this list. While they may not be comfortable or able to give their own eulogy, they may find great comfort in sharing memories with you that you could incorporate into the eulogy. Things you might include in the eulogy are stories, quotes, expressions of love or prayers, all of which can be delivered in a serious or humorous manner, depending on what you feel is appropriate for the person being eulogized. The sooner you start your preparation the better, so that you can develop the eulogy over some time instead of in a mad rush at the last minute, leaving you second guessing yourself about things you wish you had or had not included.
In an effort to have the audience connected and involved in your tribute, the eulogy can be compiled from private memories that your audience may not be aware of, as well as personal traits and details of the loved one that all will remember. You will want to include any accomplishments or honors no matter how big or small that were especially important to your loved one. Memories shared should always acknowledge the person in a positive manner and recognize them for who they were accurately.
Once you are ready to write the eulogy, decide on how you will begin, pick the main thoughts and memories that you wish to share, and determine how you will close. You need to properly introduce yourself when you begin and to have a summarizing statement to share when you close. Whether you will be reading your eulogy from written notes, following an outline, or speaking from memory, it is important to practice the eulogy out loud. Practice speaking slowly and clearly and change any part that does not feel like natural conversation in your own words.
Presenting a eulogy can cause great anxiety. Stopping at anytime to collect your thoughts or emotions, and then continuing when you are ready is understandable and acceptable. If you decide that you cannot continue, simply skip to your final statement. It is the message about the impact of your loved one that is important, not the delivery, just be yourself.
John B. Earthman
Earthman Funeral Directors & Cemeteries