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Writing a Eulogy

While the term 'eulogy' sounds rather formal it is simply a speech celebrating the life of the deceased. Often people find the task of writing and delivering a eulogy somewhat daunting, but it can be a positive way to remember and pay tribute to a loved one. A eulogy can include simple reminiscences, war stories, or even favourite jokes. It's about sharing memories of the life of someone you loved.

Here are some tips to help you prepare a eulogy.

Gather your material

First, gather the facts: age, marriage dates, places lived, children, etc. Now think about your stories of that person, or the sayings or behaviors that reflect their lives. Talk with others, so the picture you present will include their ideas as well.

Develop a theme

Find a theme to hold the eulogy together. It could be your mother's way of welcoming people into her home, and how she touched so many people's lives. Or when speaking of a friend, you might mention the different roles they played: Mike the family man, Mike the businessman, Mike the team player, and Mike, a friend to many.

Organise the material

Write your thoughts in point form on 3x5 file cards - one idea to a card. Then group the cards into piles of similar topics and sort each pile of cards into a logical order.

Draft your speech

Write your first draft. It's good to start with an amusing incident that sets your theme. Pay attention to your beginning and ending. It should be 4 to 8 minutes long – 3 to 7 typed pages at 14 point so it's easy to read.

As you write and polish the eulogy remember you are celebrating the life of your loved one and there we suggest, if appropriate, you may consider including humour or lightheartedness.

Practice your delivery

Practice your delivery by reading the eulogy aloud and timing yourself. Read it to friends and family and get their feedback. Edit where necessary.

If you are worried you might break down, ask someone to be ready to take over if necessary. Just knowing you have a backup may be all you need to get you through.
If you or your family find that you are not in a position to give the eulogy on the day of the funeral, please be comforted by the knowledge that the Minister or Celebrant will be pleased to deliver this for you. If you would prefer, a J.T Cock & Sons consultant of your choice will be available to deliver the eulogy for you