Eulogies are sometimes given as part of funeral services at funeral homes. It is a special honor when you’re asked by the family of someone who has died to give a eulogy at their funeral service.
Eulogies are usually given by close friends or family members who knew the deceased person best. They are designed to share the warm feelings and good memories that were shared between the person who died and the person giving the eulogy.
Eulogies are typically no longer than 10 to 15 minutes, so it may seem like a daunting task for you to come up with a way to honor your friend or family member’s memory and legacy in such a compressed amount of time.
You might be able – and probably will throughout the rest of your life – to spend forever talking about your friend or family member. However, it’s important, for a eulogy, to find focal points about them that stand out in your mind as their greatest attributes or character traits.
Eulogies are not meant to be a life history of the person who died. Instead, they are designed to highlight a quality or two that made their lives matter and made them special to you and everyone else.
Authenticity is critical to giving a good eulogy. You will want to present your friend or family member as a real person, not a mythical legend. However, it’s important to stay positive in the stories you tell and the memories you share about the person.
Eulogies are meant to comfort the bereaved family and the mourners, so keep your promise to take the secrets about your friend or family member that might not be as comforting to your own grave with you.
Share things that you loved about the person who died. Talk about the things that they did for you, for their family, for their neighbors, and in their community. Highlight their acts of generosity or character that were an integral part of who they were.
Write your eulogy. Make sure the font size is large enough and spaced well enough that you can easily refer to what you’ve written while you’re giving the eulogy. It is not uncommon, no matter how confidant you are about what you’re going to say, to lose a thought or forget where you were in the story. Having a readable copy of the eulogy in front of you will make it easy to quickly find your place.
Practice giving the eulogy before the funeral. Even if you are accustomed to public speaking and feel quite comfortable talking in front of an audience, you may be surprised that speaking about such personal and emotional things in a eulogy is not quite so easy.
A good rule of thumb is to practice a few times in the mirror to get comfortable with the flow of the eulogy and then practice in front of your own family or a few close friends to make sure that your eulogy doesn’t have confusing or long-winded parts.
If you’re not used to public speaking, you may feel nervous about giving a eulogy for your friend or family member. This is more common than you might think. Try to take a few deep breaths before you give your eulogy to help calm down.
If you do stumble a little in giving the eulogy, just keep moving forward. People are very forgiving because they understand that this is emotional for you, and they appreciate the fact that you are willing to pay tribute to someone you care about.