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The eulogy can be given by an immediate family member, relative, close friend, clergy, or funeral director. Sometimes there is more than one eulogy.
It can be the most remembered part of the service.
Personalization is Key
A eulogy should strive to capture the personality of the departed and highlight defining moments from their life. A eulogy that beautifully captures the essence of the deceased can be of great comfort to a grieving family.
It is the personal details and specific instances that make a eulogy special. If something sounds cliché or can easily be said of someone else, it’s important to try to go deeper. For example, expressing that a loved one was a great cook, or maybe a great golfer, really isn’t all that telling, but saying how they always made eight different pies for Thanksgiving, or how they could always be found at the golf course from dusk until dawn, paints a more detailed picture. It’s in the details that the essence of a loved one can be brought forth.
You’ll want to consider including quirks, dislikes, likes, habits, and other telltale traits that come to mind such as: how Uncle George called to check in at the same time every day for the last five years; how Aunt Sally had many endearing superstitions; and how you can still picture Mom jumping a mile in the air at the sight of a spider.
For some, it’s difficult deciding what the defining moments were or what character traits to share. Looking through photo albums may generate some ideas, or watching home videos. Walking around the deceased’s house, seeing their belongings, and glancing at the photos on the wall may also help spur memories. Scrolling through their Facebook page can be insightful. Writing a letter to a departed loved one, explaining what they meant to you and others close to them is another way to surface sentiments.
It’s also important to speak with other family members and close friends, to incorporate their sentiments and memories into the eulogy too.
Here are some helpful suggestions for delivering the eulogy:
Practice Out Loud
It’s important to practice reading the eulogy several times beforehand—out loud. Practicing ahead of time will help words flow more naturally when you are actually in front of the audience. Also consider practicing before another family member, so that they may offer you helpful suggestions.
Explain who you are in relation to the deceased, and if you happen to be immediate family, be sure to thank everyone for coming, especially those who traveled a distance. If you’re not an immediate family member, it’s important to express your condolences to those who are.
Keep It short
A eulogy should be delivered in under ten minutes, after that, people’s minds may begin to wander.
Ensure You Can Be Heard
Try to speak clearly, slowly, and loud enough for everyone to hear with ease. If you will be using a microphone, it’s a good idea to practice beforehand. Find out how close you should stand to the microphone for best sound quality and to prevent feedback.
Make Eye Contact
If you're reading your eulogy from a piece of paper, it’s important to look around the room from time to time to connect with the audience.
Have a Backup Reader
Even if you do not think you will be overcome with emotion, you may. For some people, a moment to compose one’s self might be all that’s needed, in other instances, some may feel unable to continue. In any event, having a backup reader is a good idea.
Be Easy to Follow
Even if the content is powerful, if the audience has trouble following along, the eulogy will be less effective. Telling of the deceased’s life in a chronological way is easier to follow than one that goes back and forth.
If More Than One Eulogy
If there will be more than one eulogy, it’s important that they are each unique. Consulting with the other eulogist ahead of time can eliminate redundancy.
The honor of delivering a eulogy may one day be bestowed upon you or a close family member. With that, we hope we’ve provided you with some useful information for yourself or to pass on. If there’s anything we can help you with, please reach out to us, Raynor & D’Andrea Funeral Home, at (800) 737-0017.