Gathering the Building Blocks of a Heartfelt Eulogy
Facing the challenges of delivering a eulogy can be intimidating.
However, the service you can do for the deceased’s family and friends is invaluable.
If you are prepared, you can limit stress and feel good about your part in celebrating the life of your loved one.
The best way to get started in this is to gather the pieces of a cherished life. These are the building blocks of a genuine and heartfelt eulogy.
Make a List
Making a list of all relevant information about the person who died will start the organisation process. The following are suggestions you can put on the list:
Personal Information – full name, date and place of birth, age, cause of death, and places that he/she lived.
Family Information – spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, brothers and sisters, other significant family and friends, and include their places of residences of these and who of these are deceased. You should also include deceased’s pets.
Background – work and career information, education, hobbies and special interests, religion (church affiliation, etc.), civic organisations and activities, and military service. Other Significant Aspects of Life – special life events, accomplishments and awards, significant beliefs, philosophies, and values.
Be sure to include funny and light-hearted stories. A funeral may be a sad occasion, but celebrating a life that included fun and laughter is appropriate and very much appreciated by those in attendance.
Include your own stories and things that were very personal to you, if possible. If you were close to the deceased, you are giving the eulogy for that reason.
Following these steps will put you on the right track for a heartfelt eulogy. After gathering these building blocks, you will find the task less intimidating.
How to Organise a Eulogy
Once you have gathered the pieces of the eulogy, it is important to organise them in a way that makes sense. It is critical to hit the most relevant points without rambling or getting lost. Using the following organizational method will help you stay on track.
Outline – include an introduction, middle, and a closing. The beginning of your outline should introduce the theme, the middle should go into details about the larger points, and the end should sum up the points and reaffirm the theme.
There are many ways to organise your main points once you are ready to get into the details of the outline. Generally, the type of theme you have chosen for the eulogy will dictate how you organise it.
Chronological Organisation – It is customary to use this method when your theme is a life history of the deceased. You can move chronologically from birth to death, or in reverse from the later stages of life and move back through time.
Shared Memories – In a more personal theme, you can take your memories of the deceased and share them in a logical order. Make sure you have good transitions from one memory to another. These memories can have a shared theme such as ways the deceased has been generous with you and/or to others. You could also share memories about places the deceased traveled to. Those are just two examples of common theme memories. You may think of many others.
Three Points Method – This is a common method that helps the speaker stay concise and logical. You choose three main pieces of information about the deceased that you want to share, or three key points that you want those present to receive from the eulogy. The vast majority of your speech will stay focused on those three points. Be sure to include them in the beginning of the speech, and summarise them and show how they relate to each other at the end of the eulogy.
After you accomplish your detailed outline, write a draft of the speech. The outline will make this easy. Follow your outline like a road map. After you get your eulogy written, you can polish it up and revise it to make it be the best fit for you and the theme you have chosen.