A eulogy is a funeral speech. In a eulogy, your goal is to celebrate the life of your departed loved one or friend. There is a wrong and right way to write and deliver a eulogy. Unfortunately, many people have attempted to write a great, heartfelt eulogy that didn’t impress the deceased family member or friend. How to write a eulogy depends on a lot of factors like the individual you’re talking about and whether you want a serious or lighthearted tone.
When searching the Internet, you’ll find plenty of eulogy samples. These examples of eulogies are both good and bad. So, it’s important to know some of the common mistakes found in eulogy examples.
For example, explaining it was God’s will. Even if it’s the truth, you shouldn’t write it in the eulogy. Remember: not everyone may agree with the statement. Besides, you may intend those two words to comfort the family members. However, it can cause pain instead. Someone may think you’re trying to convey that God wanted the person dead. Keep those two words out of your speech even if it’s in a eulogy example.
Other Common Mistakes
• Diminishing the Person’s Death
Unfortunately, you’ll see this quite a lot in examples. Again, it’s an attempt to make the audience feel better, but it does the exact opposite. It’s like you’re saying that the person’s death is no big deal. An example of this is saying, “It’s hard to say a final goodbye, but at least she lived a long life.”
• For the Best
A lot of eulogies on the Internet talk about how it’s for the best that the person is dead. Even though the words are meant to ease grief, it may hurt to hear that the person’s death is the best thing that happened to the world. Those who loved him or her would definitely rather the person be alive than dead.
• Focusing on You
Eulogies are supposed to celebrate the person’s life. Sometimes you may talk about a story that includes you or someone else. However, a common mistake is that people start out talking about the deceased and end focus on you. Sure, you can mention yourself when talking about the deceased, but don’t make it a point of making it all about you. You’re not dead. The other person is.
• Sharing Jokes Between You and the Deceased
Jokes aren’t appropriate at a funeral. Inside jokes you and the deceased shared are even more inappropriate than regular jokes. Remember, a eulogy is supposed to easily convey details to a general audience.
Inside jokes don’t achieve that goal. Besides, the jokes take too much time to explain and set up. That’s why you should avoid writing jokes into your eulogy even though you may read them in many samples.
Keep in mind that writing funny stories in your eulogy is different than writing jokes or insider jokes. Funny stories should help celebrate the person’s life. For instance, in a eulogy for father, you may talk about the first time he taught you how to play baseball. You made a mistake and hit the window, but your father wasn’t mad.
Instead, he lovingly told you, “You’ll get better. Don’t worry.” Of course, he did make you do extra chores to work off the money he had to pay to replace the broken window. This is different from joking that your father wore smelling socks or your mother and father had a code name for their private parts.
Common Ways to Start a Eulogy
Although there are a variety of ways to start a eulogy, you’ll have to pick on depending on the person you’re eulogizing and the audience. If you’re looking for help starting your eulogy, consider these examples.
Shared memories start with you sharing your personal memories of the person you’re eulogizing. Examples usually have a painful, but bitter sweet memory.
These are threaded throughout the eulogy. Most examples use specific themes such as a religious theme. Another theme is a toast. For example you can start off the eulogy with, “Today we lift our preverbal glass to (insert name) that has graced our lives for (insert number of years).” Another theme option is a musical theme.
A legacy theme allows you to write a eulogy like you would a tribute speech. It focuses on using the person’s achievements and personal stories to tell and celebrate the person’s life.
4. Key Moments
A key moments eulogy, also sometimes referred to main points, take certain key moments from the person’s life and explains how these times defined who he or she was. When searching for samples, you’ll find a lot of key moments eulogies.
You notice in this type of eulogy sounds like an obituary rather than a speech. You list their accomplishments in chronological order. You may also include stories about relatives such as spouses and children. The drawback of this type of theme is that it’s not personal. You’re relating stories that you’ve heard second hand.
Alternative to Picking One of the Common Eulogy Samples
The best, most touching eulogies have elements of all the above. You share touching memories of the deceased, give tributes, include main points that defined him or her and provide a theme. You want the audience to leave the funeral satisfied that the individual was properly eulogized. There’s nothing worse than a family member or friend wishing they’d chosen someone else to write the speech.
Remember, a eulogy is the toughest piece of writing you can compose in your life. It’s the hardest thing because you have to write something for someone who has died. So you can’t call or email him or her for advice.
Another reason why it’s so hard is that you’re dealing with your own grief and emotions about the loss. Instead of focusing on preparing to attend the funeral, you have to prepare a speech to give in front of family members, strangers and friends.
It’s important before you start writing a eulogy to look at some examples for inspiration.
However, make sure these are good eulogies that do not include some of the common eulogy mistakes. You want to choose the examples which provide inspiration and guidelines on what a eulogy should sound like. It’s all right to pick and choose among many different examples. You may want to look at a couple famous eulogies for inspiration too.