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Important Tips for Preparing a Eulogy When a loved one dies, those who remain are left to plan the funeral, compare caskets and services, and notify others of the death, all while grappling with their own grief. But often, the thought of having to prepare a eulogy and then publicly express how much that person meant to them can be the most personal task of all. It can also be the most emotionally overwhelming. Public speaking is difficult enough without having to contend with the grief associated with such a profound loss. So, it makes sense that delivering a eulogy is considered to be the most difficult speech a person ever has to give. Fortunately, for those who find themselves in that position, there are steps that can be taken to make the process of writing the eulogy a little easier. Length of the Eulogy The first step is to establish a time limit for the eulogy. Traditionally, they are under ten minutes in length, though it’s important to consult with the funeral director and family before writing it just in case they have a more definitive time limit in mind. As the outline is written and practised, and the timing is gauged, add a buffer of about one minute for pauses, personal nerves, and emotion (crying, laughter) from mourners in attendance. The Basics A eulogy is a speech, and as such, it should have a beginning, middle and end. The start of the eulogy will set its direction and tone, so how it begins is important. When considering the kind of tone to set, consult the family, but also take into account the personality of the decedent. For example, if the decedent was a happy-go-lucky person, consider inserting an appropriate quip or funny memory near the beginning. The very opening of the eulogy should include the name of the decedent and a quick acknowledgement of his relationship with the person delivering the eulogy (brother, boss, friend). The immediate family should be acknowledged by name shortly thereafter. The body of the eulogy should include relevant personal information about the decedent, such as a brief statement on his education, employment and military history. Make it even more personal by highlighting his achievements and awards, and hobbies and interests. If a line from a scripture or verse, or a poem stanza or song lyric is going to be added, that will typically be inserted near the end of the eulogy. The ending is also where the eulogy will be summarised. Consult the family and friends of the deceased Before preparing the eulogy’s outline, contact close family members and friends of the decedent to ask that they share their memories, and then select one or two stories to add to the body of the outline. When their stories are included, they will be appreciative, and it adds a personal touch, as well as a sense of community. Of course, not every story shared will become part of the eulogy, but the act of sharing will foster a sense of inclusiveness and may help in the bereavement process. It’s an honour to be asked to write and deliver a eulogy. After all, a eulogy represents the decedent and his family. The impact the speech has on the mourners will establish the mood and tone for the remainder of the funeral service. So, it’s important that proper care and reverence is given when preparing the speech. Above all, keep the focus positive, respectful and inspirational from beginning to end.

JCWalwyn - Important Tips for Preparing a Eulogy  
JCWalwyn - Important Tips for Preparing a Eulogy When a loved one dies, those who remain are left to plan the funeral, compare caskets an...