Many people dread regular day-to-day writing, so it’s no surprise very few people approach writing a eulogy with a sense of confidence or desire to take on the task. Truth be told, a eulogy is one of the most difficult things you’ll have to write.
If you find yourself in the tough position of having to write a eulogy here are a few pieces of advice and insights that can make the process easier from start to finish.
Do You Really Need to Write a Eulogy?
Since a eulogy isn’t published anywhere, does it need to be written down? Technically, the eulogy doesn’t have to be written. Plenty of eulogies over the course of history were given on the spot with little to no preparation. But writing out your thoughts is a very good idea.
A eulogy should be heartfelt and not sound rehearsed, but you also want to have your thoughts collected so that it’s coherent and makes the best use of the little time you have. Writing out a brief eulogy that you can review before the service will help you gather your thoughts and feel more prepared to deliver the eulogy.
How Eulogies Are Different Than Obituaries
Anyone who has written an obituary luckily had a basis for what they were doing since most adults have seen obituaries in the newspaper or read one online. And while you may have heard a eulogy, it’s not there for reference when you need to write one like obituaries are.
That’s just one key distinction between eulogies and obituaries. Below are a few more.
Written and Spoken
Writing a eulogy is different than writing an obituary. An obituary is strictly in print either in the newspaper and/or online. A eulogy is spoken during the memorial service. The idea of pairing public speaking with emotional remembrances makes writing a eulogy incredibly difficult for some people.
Eulogies tend to be more personal than an obituary. Obituaries can include personal stories, but they aren’t quite as intimate as a eulogy.
For starters, an obituary is meant to inform others of a person’s death more than anything else. They include specifics like the date of the death, the names of surviving relatives and where the funeral services will be held.
None of these matter-of-fact details are included in a eulogy. Instead, it’s a reflection of the person’s life told through stories and recollections. It’s a personal account of your experiences with them and what they meant to you.
Our Top 3 Pieces of Eulogy Advice
After more than 20 years in the funeral industry we’ve heard more eulogies than most people. We’ve also helped many people through the process. This is the advice we give our clients when they aren’t sure what to write.
Find Something Specific
Find a specific event, conversation or accomplishment that is memorable and make that the centerpiece for your eulogy. Focus on what made that specific thing so special and stand out in your mind.
Don’t Shy Away From Happiness or Hope
Too often people think a eulogy has to be serious and somber because it’s part of a funeral service. The truth is, some of the most memorable and heartfelt eulogies are humorous. A eulogy can even be inspiring and make people hopeful despite the loss of a loved one. During such a somber time a little ray of hope and happiness is appreciated by everyone.
Know That It’s Okay to Get Emotional
Many people are understandably uncomfortable with the idea that they may get emotional in the middle of giving the eulogy. Honestly, no one is expecting you to be perfectly composed the whole time. Getting emotional is perfectly fine. If it’s something you’re worried about writing the eulogy out and practicing can help you know where you might get emotional so you can give yourself a moment.