“The eulogy may move us to tears, but it also has the power to heal. It can help us get things in perspective. We start to understand that we can cope best with bereavement not by pushing away what has been taken from us, but by bringing the memories closer and finding ways of moving on with those memories still within us.”

Andrew Morton – Poet Laureate UK

These are the words that will tell all of who the person was, or desired to be, and this is the opportunity to properly celebrate and honour the life that was lived.

Talk to me and I can help and guide you in the preparation of a eulogy.

Eulogy Questions & Topics

How do I write a eulogy?

A Eulogy is a speech delivered at a memorial or funeral, as a special tribute to someone who has just died.

I will help you with this and will include your speech in the Ceremony script and so it is important that you speak with me so that I can offer you guidance and assistance and help you find the words.

The word eulogy, come from the Greek word, ulogia, Classical Greek, eu for “well” or “true”, logia for “words” or “text”, together for “praise”, so ‘true words of praise’.

There are many considerations in writing a Eulogy including:

    • Preparation
    • Where & how to deliver
    • Will all be able to hear you?
    • Structure & Tone
    • Content
    • Audience
    • Time
    • How would the person like to be remembered?
    • What made them special?
    • Favourite interests, likes and dislikes?
    • When were they happiest?
    • Who was close to them?
    • What did I really like about them?
    • What did other people really like about them?
    • What are the highlights of the life story?
    • If you could say only three things about the person, what would they be?
    • What to wear – Talk to me and I can help, or you will find some great tips on

Structure & Tone

The eulogy should be memorable and interesting for the audience.

The tone should suite the audience while honouring the wishes, character and history of the deceased.

Should it be sombre or funny?

At the start of the Eulogy you should briefly introduce yourself so that the audience knows the context and relationship, especially if there are people in attendance who may not know you.

The structure itself can be categorised into:

    1. Chronology-a history given in chronological order
        • Follows a theme that ran through the person’s life or
        • Highlights, key events in the life
    2. Narration – A story with a Beginning, Middle & Close.
      • Set the tone with the opening sentence.
      • The middle is then an expansion of the opening sentence, and
      • The end summarises in a sentence, what was said.

Content – What to include?

The Eulogy is a brief life story that should encapsulate the character, history, relationship, and mark left on the world. This is the last chance to Celebrate the life and times of the person.

A sentence that summarises that person’s life is always a good place to start.

Inclusions can be:

    • Achievements
    • Career
    • Challenges faced how overcome
    • Characteristic appearance, sayings or their habits/foibles
    • Education & employment
    • Family history & connections
    • Favourite sayings
    • Funny things they did or said
    • How they interacted with the community or friends
    • Loves
    • Talents and skills
    • The challenging times
    • The happy times
    • Enduring qualities
    • What impact was made and what heritage is left for the next generation
    • If anyone else is going to speak make sure you find out what they are saying to avoid duplication.

TIP: Check facts and pronunciation with one or more family members to ensure accuracy.

Time

There are two important factors:

      1. length of speech
      2. length of service
  • 1: A Eulogy should not be too long. Remember that ‘less is more’,

Allow for about 10 minutes in total.

An overly long speech becomes boring. People might even leave.

If it is too short, it  may not convey all that needs to be said but a speech that has concise content can have sufficient content and make a significant impact.

An average Eulogy runs for 6 -10 minutes  on its own but if there is more than one speaker, the first should be shorter, so only about 5 minutes, and those that follow, should then speak for only 2- 3 minutes each.

The ideal is where one person may provide a Chronology or history (usually the Celebrant) running for about 5 minutes and this is then followed by  family members and/or close friends who deliver short  1-2 minute personal stories.

A typed page takes about 3 minutes.

In calculating time, remember to allow extra time for pauses.

  • 2: The length of the service.

A service that is too long may become boring or even more distressing but an important consideration is the length of time that the chapel is booked for. A one-hour booking at some cemeteries means that the is only enough time for a 30-minute service as 15 minutes of allowed for preparation of the chapel and 15 minutes for exit cleanup. So a eulogy that runs for too long in one of these chapels may result in an extra fee and/or delays in other funerals which can be very distressing.

Delivery

  • After you have written your first draft, read it out aloud.
  • Practice reading the Eulogy to a friend, or in the mirror.
  • This will help you to see if it flows well and you can identify the need for any adjustments.
  • When you walk up, pause in front of the coffin and then respectfully bow slightly before going to the lectern
  • At the lectern, pause again and focus.
  • I will place a typed copy of your speech or reading on the lectern in front of you and will be at your side at all times.
  • Stand up straight so that people can see you
  • this helps with breathing, focus and projection
  • Do not fidget or make any unnecessary gestures
  • Speak to people at the back of the room to ensure that your voice caries and so that no one is excluded (your words are important and honour the deceased)
  • When reading, run your index finger of your left hand down the margin as you read to mark the line you are reading and the index finger of your right hand to mark & follow the words along the line (so you won’t get lost)
  • Speak clearly and slowly
  • Do not worry if you miss anything as no-one will notice. Just carry on
  • If you get overcome with emotion, just pause, lift your chin, & take a deep breath. This closes the tear ducts and crying stops (hence the old expression of ‘chin-up’)
  • lifting your chin also opens your air-passage and you can take a deep breath and regulate your breathing
  • don’t worry about pausing, pauses are good, and everyone will understand or be moved by the moment
  • When ready, resume reading or speaking
  • If you are unable to continue, just turn to me and give me a nod, and then step to the side and I will take over
  • When finished, pause for a moment, step to the centre, pause and bow toward the coffin, return to your seat.

Tips for speakers

I will be right beside you with a copy of the eulogy or reading (that’s why you need to be sure I have been given a copy of anything to be said or read).

  • When you walk up, pause in front of the coffin and then bow slightly before going to the lectern
  • At the lectern, pause again and focus.
  • I will place a typed copy of your speech or reading on the lectern in front of you and will be at your side at all times.
  • Run your index finger of your left hand down the margin as you read to mark the line you are reading and the index finger of your right hand to mark & follow the words along the line (so you won’t get lost)
  • if you start to choke and find you cannot speak, lift your chin, pause and take a deep breath:
    • when your chin is raised it closes the tear ducts and crying stops (hence the old expression of ‘chin-up’)
    • lifting your chin also opens your air-passage and you can take a deep breath and regulate your breathing
    • don’t worry about pausing, pauses are good, and everyone will understand or be moved by the moment
    • When ready, resume reading or speaking
  • Speak to people at the back of the room to ensure that you voice caries and so that no one is excluded (your words are important and honour the deceased)
  • If you are unable to continue, just turn to me and give me a nod, and then step to the side and I will take over
  • When finished, pause for a moment, step to the centre, pause and bow toward the coffin, return to your seat.

What happens if I start to cry or can’t finish reading?

  • I will be right beside you, to support you.
  • I’ll have a copy of the Eulogy or reading (one reason why you need to be sure I have been given a copy of anything to be said or read); and I will be ready to help you read if needed, or to even step in and take over.
  • These tips will help you continue:
  • If you start to choke and find you cannot speak; pause & lift your chin, then take a slow deep breath.
  • when your chin is raised it closes the tear ducts and crying stops (hence the old expression of ‘chin-up’)
  • Lifting your chin also opens your throat & air-passage and so you can take a deep breath to remove that lump from your throat and to regain control of your breathing. Breathing oxygenates your blood stream and brain which serves to improve your concentration and control.
  • Don’t worry about your pauses because pauses are a part of communication and everyone will understand or be moved by the moment.
  • When ready, resume reading or speaking

Is it appropriate for family members or friends to give a eulogy, a reading or just speak at a funeral?

Letting close family members of friends speak at the service helps to make it a very rich & personal Ceremony.

It is best if I, as the Celebrant, get a copy of anything that is to be said/read so that I can ensure that it will be appropriate and of course, if there is a time limit for the Chapel, that it will fit within the necessary time frame.

When we meet, we can plan the best way to incorporate this into the service.

What is the difference between a Eulogy and an Obituary?

A Eulogy is a speech delivered at a memorial or funeral, as a special tribute to someone who has just died.

An Obituary is a notice of a death, especially in a newspaper, typically including a brief biography of the deceased

Will the celebrant write the Eulogy if we give her/him the information?

A Eulogy is always best when it comes from a loved one but that is not always possible and so I am happy to write and/or deliver the Eulogy.

When we meet, I will ask a series of questions about your loved one ranging from likes and dislikes, favourite memories and past-times, hobbies and sports, loves and hates, work & career, favourite books or movies & songs, and so on.

This will give me the information I need to prepare the Ceremony but will also enable me to write a eulogy.

What to Wear?

What you wear should not be a distraction to your audience.

Wearing clothes that are appropriate for the occasion is important and respectful.

A funeral or memorial is not usually the time or place to show off your sexiest outfit.

For a choice of colours, see the separate question on funeral colours

Consider the customs and traditions of the family of the deceased and dress conservatively (simple & modest), unless asked to do otherwise.

Some cultures require head coverings, so if you are in doubt, do some research.

Generally, it is always best to dress modestly; a funeral is not the place to show too much skin.

Colour ·         In the western culture, black is traditionally the colour for mourning but other cultures and traditions have other colours. (see also funeral colours). Wearing other colours and prints does not show disrespect as long as you keep the tones subdued.
Cultural Dress ·         It is often appropriate and respectful, to wear traditional cultural dress as a mark of respect.
Exceptions ·         There are exceptions to the above. If the deceased held a passion for particular lifestyle, hobby or sports team etc. it may be appropriate to wear something consistent with that, but check beforehand with the Celebrant, funeral director or family.·         If your religion or the religion of the deceased calls for a specific style of dress, such as head coverings, follow the rules.
Makeup ·         Keep your makeup to a minimum and as you may cry, make sure your mascara is waterproof.
Men ·         Men are generally safe wearing suits or dress slacks and jacket.
Pallbearers ·         Pallbearers should always dress conservatively.
Perfumes ·         There may be consoling hugs and kisses, and it may be crowded in a confined space so avoid wearing strong perfumes or scented body lotions. Some people are highly allergic, and you don’t want to be the cause of others coughing and sneezing during the services.
Uniforms ·         It is appropriate and respectful, for others of service, to wear a dress uniform to the funeral of someone who has served in the armed forces, emergency services or religious service (clergy).
Women ·         Women may wear dresses, pantsuits, or skirts and blouses as long as they don’t call attention to the outfit. Avoid mini-skirts, low-cut blouses or dresses, bright florals, and spandex. Keep your accessories simple and don’t wear a floppy beach hat. Jewellery should be understated, so no noisy bangle bracelets but you may wear a string of white pearls. You may find yourself walking in the grass or on uneven ground, so leave your stilettos and wear more sensible flats or low-heeled shoes.

Usually simple and conservative.

See also:


If you don’t find my page helpful enough, there are also some great tips on Wikihow.



A Life Celebrant – Lou Szymkow

 

The Celebrant of choice

Friendly, professional, reliable, helpful, approachable.

  • Civil, Marriage, Commitment, Naming & Funeral Celebrant
  • Commonwealth- Registered Marriage Celebrant
  • Manyana NSW. Australia – covering the Shoalhaven, South Coast to Sydney and out to Canberra & Goulburn

 +61 (0) 457 00 1922    lou@alifecelebrant.com.au

A celebrant for all special occasions in your journey of life.

   

Your Life Events: Weddings, Commitments; Naming Ceremonies; Funerals, Memorials & More

 

#ALifeCelebrant; #Anniversary; #AustralianCelebrant; #AustralianWedding; #Birthday; ##ALifeCelebrant; #Anniversary; #AustralianCelebrant; #AustralianWedding; #Birthday; #bride; #Burial; #Celebrant; #CelebrantStClair; #CivilCelebrant; #Commitment; #Congratulations; #Cremation; #dating; #Eulogy #FamilyCelebrant; #Funeral; #FuneralCelebrant;  #FuneralCelebrant; #FuneralHomes; #FuneralNotices; #Fun Wedding; #Grief; #IDo; #Kemps Creek Wedding; #lifecelebrations; #lifeevents; #Lifeunion; #Loss; #LouSzymkow; #LouTheCelebrant; #love; #LudwigSzymkow; #LudwigTheCelebrant; #marriagecelebrant; #MarriageEquality; #MusicforFunerals; #Naming; #NamingCeremony; #Naptuals; #NepeanCelebrant; #NepeanCelebrants; #relationship; #rings; #samesexmarriage; #StClairCelebrant; #SydneyCelebrant; #TheVow; #TheWeddingExpert; #Tietheknot; #Venues; #Vow; #Vows; #wedding; #Wedding; #WeddingCelebrant; #WeddingPlanner; #weddingQuestions, #WeddingSongs; #lou; #a life; #birth deaths and marriages; #births deaths marriages NSW; #celebrant; #celebrant funeral; #celebrant near me; #cheap reception venues; #crematorium; #NowraCelebrant; #Manyana Celebrant; #South Coast; #Sth Coast; #Ulladulla; #Milton; #Sussex Inlet; #Nowra; #Conjola; #Lake Conjola; #Beach Wedding; #BomaderryCelebrant; #Gerringong; #Kiama; #Canberra Celebrant; #Goulburn Celebrant; #Kangaroo Valley; #KangarooValleyCelebrant;#Celebrants Australia; #Marriage Celebrant Jervis Bay; #MarriageCelebrantNowra; # All Ceremonies Celebrant Services;  #The 10 Best Celebrants in Nowra, NSW; #Marry Me; #MC; #Master of Ceremonies; #Finding a Celebrant; #Finding a Marriage Celebrant; #Finding a Funeral Celebrant; #Finding a Naming Celebrant; #Baptism; #Christening; #Life Celebration; #Gerringong; #Kiama; #Canberra Celebrant; #Goulburn Celebrant; #Kangaroo Valley; #KangarooValleyCelebrant; #Best Celebrant; @Fun Celebrant; #Manyana Marriage; #Manyana Marriages, #South Coast Celebrant; #Manyana; Justice of the Peace; # Best Celebrants in Shoalhaven; #Best Celebrant;