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How to Write a Eulogy

How to Write a Eulogy

How to Write a Eulogy: Writing a eulogy for a friend or family member may be one of our toughest challenges. It may also provide one of our more rewarding experiences. The act of delivering a eulogy is one of love and kindness. It actually is a gift to the deceased, as well as, the family and friends gathered for the funeral.

Our purpose is to help you navigate this challenge with grace and aplomb.

If you have found our site, it is likely because you have been charged with delivering a eulogy for a love one who has recently passed. Please accept our warmest condolences for your loss and our tremendous respect for your undertaking.

I believe we have assembled some of the finest content to assist your eulogy planning so please take your time in reviewing our materials. We are honored to play even the slightest of roles in the preparation of your tribute.

What is a Eulogy?

Eulogy is derived from the Greek word eulogia meaning “good words”. Today it is used to define a speech or tribute spoken at one’s funeral.

Eulogies are typically brief, three to ten minutes, depending upon the number of speakers and the full scope of the service.

But more importantly, a eulogy is an opportunity to reflect over a life lived. It represents an opportunity to punctuate the character and passions of the recently deceased while providing comfort and context to those paying tribute.

(Eulogy Definition)

 

How to Write a Eulogy

Studies have revealed that, as a society, our fear of public speaking is greater even than our fear of death. The inevitable punch line then is that at a funeral, the person in the casket is more at ease than the one at the lectern.

I suppose there is a bit of truth in the sentiment. After all, only one of the two can feel stress but in that context we would all much prefer to deal with a little anxiety.

Our objective is to help you to minimize that anxiety and we’ll jump into that process by offering our best advice on how to write a eulogy.

As with most things in life, having a plan or approach is critical to successfully crafting a eulogy. The time following the loss of a loved one can be both emotional and stressful, which only increases the significance of having a specific and effective plan.

Your plan should resemble the following:

 

How to write a eulogy, Gather InformationGather Information collect lots of information about the deceased. Talk to family, friends, or even co-workers. Although you might be tempted into thinking that you know everything about the departed, ask others about their favorite memories or stories. You may be surprised to learn something new and interesting that you’ll want to include.  More information on this topic.

How to Write a Eulogy, Organize your MaterialsOrganize and Outline Your Content Group similar traits, stories, and events. Plan to use a variety so you’re able to reflect the whole person. Be sure to illustrate with stories or anecdotes the qualities and characteristics held by the departed rather than simply inventorying them. For example, rather than simply sharing that your grandfather was a caring person, instead share a story of him teaching you to ride your first bike and bandaging your scrapped knee. More information on this topic.

How to Write a Eulogy, Write and Re-WriteWrite and Re-write Start to put your thoughts down onto paper. Write in a conversational tone so it will sound natural and have a flow. This will prevent you from bouncing topic to topic. The most important part of good writing is the re-writing. Put your thoughts on paper and then re-read and re-write your content. More information on this topic.

How to Write a Eulogy, RehearseRehearse and Fine Tune Practice saying the words out loud. This will help with some of the emotions as some memories may be hard to say out loud. Speaking the words will also help iron out some of the language. Sometimes we write differently from how we speak. Further, you do not need to memorize every word but the practice or reading will help familiarize yourself with the flow. Recruit trusted friends or family to listen and offer their feedback from the perspective of the audience. More information on this topic.

How to Write a Eulogy, Stand and DeliverDeliver with Confidence Be brave and poised when you step up to speak. Remember that you are giving a gift to both the deceased and the audience. Everyone in attendance is there to honor the deceased and they both appreciate and respect what you are doing. You are not selling or presenting a report as you might in other public speaking situations, instead you are giving voice to the group and paying high honor to the departed. Your eulogy is a gift and only through your preparations can you give well. More information on this topic.

 

How to Write a Eulogy, Eulogies Made Easy 2

 

Characteristics of a Eulogy

Your eulogy should reflect your personality as well as that of the departed. A blend of solemnity and humor is appropriate but find the appropriate balance that contributes to the memory.

Eulogies are typically short, three to ten minutes in length depending upon the number of speakers and the outline for the service. If you’re delivering the eulogy you’ll want to participate in these decisions or at least be keenly aware of what is expected.

An individual’s faith plays a strong role in their life, but an even stronger role in their passing. As a remembrance of the departed, share the role that their faith played in their life. Without sermonizing – this too is a balance to strike based on the principals – share the comfort afforded the deceased through their faith and acknowledge the natural opportunity a funeral service is for others to consider their own mortality. Perhaps there is an opportunity to learn from the departed.

A funeral service is a time to both mourn the loss and celebrate the life. Humor, as noted, can play a role here but so too can happy stories, celebrations of faith, or even music.

Plan to touch upon multiple phases and components in the life of the departed – childhood, youth, education, marriage, family, work, hobbies and faith are all facets that weave together into the story of our lives. Pull threads from several of these to craft your best tribute.

 

How to Deliver a Eulogy

When the day of the service arrives, the bulk of your preparation should be complete. You have gathered information and prepared your talk. Perhaps you have not committed the speech to memory word for word, but you are familiar with your outline and anchor points. Now, there are a few last minute tactical steps you can take to finalize your prep.

Read through one more time aloud and practice your tone and tempo. You want to be over prepared to the degree possible.

Wear loose and comfortable clothing. Dress appropriate for the setting, but purposely choose an outfit that is not tight or restrictive. Any discomfort afforded by your clothing will be amplified throughout the event.

Keep a printed copy of your notes handy. Even if you think you have it memorized, have the notes available as a backup. They are there if you need them and they provide confidence if you do not.

Double space and use a large font when printing. You do not want to be squinting to read your notes.

Provide someone with a copy of your notes. Emotions may get the better of you in the moment. That is fine and perfectly understandable. With notes, someone else will be able to step in and share your thoughts, your gift, if you are unable.

Empty your pockets. You do not want nervous hands rattling car keys or spare change. Nor do you want a cell phone interrupting your moment of tribute.

Meanwhile, have both a bottle of water and handkerchief handy. Sweaty palms and a dry throat are common symptoms of nerves. Knowing you can address both can provide an extra measure of readiness.

Take deep breaths. Filling your lungs with air will prevent you from taking shallow gulps of air. Take a deep breath before walking to the lectern and again as you steady yourself to speak. Pause to repeat while speaking either at natural breaks or as you need to regain your composure.

 

Most importantly, remember why you are presenting the eulogy. Either you were asked or you volunteered and there are clear reasons for either. You and the deceased shared a significant relationship and this is an opportunity to honor that bond. Know that they are proud of you.

 

We Are Here to Help

We hope this is starting to provide a measure of comfortable and readiness as you prepare to write a eulogy. A number of articles and resources are available for you on this site and we hope you will find exactly what you need to ready your preparations.

Thanks for sharing this time with us and please accept our sincere condolences on your loss.

photo: unfrienzied space

 

How Much Does Cremation Cost?

How Much does cremation cost

Currently, a little over 40% of families in the United States are opting for cremation services over traditional burial services when deciding how to say goodbye to a deceased loved one. It’s projected that within the next several years, for the first time ever, the number of people who are cremated in the United States will actually exceed the number of people who are buried. While there are a number of reasons for the shift, the biggest reason is cost. A standard funeral service and burial can cost $10,000 or more, but a basic cremation can cost about one quarter of the price.

Of course, the cost of a cremation, just like with a traditional burial, increases with each added service. For example, one estimate lists $474 as the national average cost of using a funeral home for the purpose of conducting a viewing prior to cremation. If you would like to use the funeral home for the purpose of a funeral service as well, you’ll add on another $544 on average. The cost of an average urn is about $250. Including the physical cremation itself, the entire cost, when including the use of a funeral home, can run between $2,000 and $4,000. However, if the cremation is arranged directly through the crematory, the total cost averages between $1,500 and $2,500.

 

Additional Costs

When you opt for cremation, you save money on certain items, such as embalming, a gravestone, a casket, and a cemetery plot.  Cremation doesn’t require any of those things, though a couple of them are optional. There are, however, other charges associated with the cremation process that you may not automatically think about.

Additional expenses can run well over a thousand dollars total, but, again, unlike with a traditional burial, many of them are optional. It is best to be prepared for them, though, in order to eliminate any negative surprises.  Here is a list of some of the services you may need to calculate into the final cost:

 

  • Getting a certificate that releases the body for cremation – typically by way of a coroner or medical examiner
  • Transporting the body to the crematory
  • Obtaining the certified death certificate
  • Cost of disposing of the cremated remains (optional)
  • Renting a casket for the viewing (optional)
  • Purchasing a vault or burial space (optional)

 

The death of a loved one never comes at an opportune time. Many families are left coping with the loss while also trying to figure out how they’re going to pay for the funeral. For those who are struggling financially, it is possible to reduce the cost of cremation to below the $1,500 average. By eschewing all funeral home services, dealing directly with the crematory, purchasing a basic urn, and opting out of a burial vault, you can spend $1,000 or less total.

As the cost of traditional funerals continue to rise (an average casket alone is around $2,500), more and more people are turning to the option of cremation. It’s a much more affordable option than a burial service, and it’s important to remember that the amount of money you spend to say goodbye to your loved one has no bearing on how much that person was loved in life.

 

See Funeral Planning

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