There are many scenarios wherein you could be asked to deliver a eulogy for someone you didn’t like. For example, perhaps you were the decedent’s boss or coach and, though you didn’t see eye to eye on most things, he or she was a critical member of your team. Whatever the reason, adverse feelings toward the deceased only add pressure to the already stressful job of preparing and delivering a eulogy. Stop and give yourself credit though because, regardless of the negative feelings you had toward the person in life, you recognized the importance and value of the eulogy request, and you agreed to do it. By using the following tips when preparing the eulogy, you will be sure to write one that honors the decedent while still remaining faithful to the truth. When you do that, your efforts will be appreciated for a long time to come.
How to Give a Eulogy Speech for Someone You Didn’t Like
Focus on the Facts
The education, lineage, and career points of a person’s life are usually left to the obituary page, but it is appropriate to acknowledge life stages in a eulogy. Additionally, when you focus on the facts pertaining to the decedent’s life you will find that it allows you to remain neutral. This is also a good place to list the decedent’s strengths and accomplishments. Did he graduate from college? Was she a military veteran? Or, was he successful in turning his life around after years of struggle? These are all noteworthy accomplishments that should be included in the eulogy. Also, by listing a few affirming facts about the deceased, it will help keep you on a positive track.
In order to keep the eulogy constructive, talk to the decedent’s family and friends. Ask them to share inspirational personal stories with you about their relationship with the deceased, and then weave some of them into your speech. This will go a long way in maintaining a positive focus, and the mourners will appreciate that you’ve included them.
You want to stay as positive as possible, but always remember that the eulogy is for those who have been left behind to mourn. If the decedent was well known for being an aggressive, spiteful person, for example, don’t fill the eulogy with false pleasantries, because everyone in attendance will know that you’re being disingenuous. Instead, spin his or her well known faults into a learning lesson, such as “when we betray those who love us, we leave behind a legacy of sadness”. Don’t dwell on it, but it is okay to admit that the decedent wasn’t perfect. Remember though that there is a thin line between being honest and settling a score.
Poems and Quotes
If you simply don’t have enough positive things to say about the decedent, then it is appropriate to include an inspirational quote from a famous person, or a line or two from a relevant poem. Be conscientious about keeping them short though. You don’t want to give the appearance that it’s simply filler.
When preparing a eulogy for someone you may not have gotten along with it’s important to remember that you are giving the final statement on his or her life. So, while it is vital to be truthful, it’s just as imperative that you remain respectful in your honesty.
Go to Eulogy Writing Overview