3 Tips to Delivering a Meaningful Eulogy
We can probably all remember hearing a eulogy that stuck with us long after the funeral was over. Maybe there were stories that made everyone smile, or memories that brought loved ones to tears. In our work helping those in Queens and Astoria plan a final farewell for a friend or family member, we see how much a beautiful eulogy means to those left behind. It is a final gift to give to a person who died; a way to highlight events, tell the story of their life and shine a spotlight on what made them special.
Our care team at Farenga Funeral Home understands that giving a eulogy is an honor – yet can be extremely daunting. Not only do you have to speak in front of a crowd, but you’re doing so during an emotional time when the pain of loss is still fresh.
To help, here is a list of tips we’ve gathered so you can deliver a message that is both meaningful and memorable.
- Take time to gather stories and memories and write them all down without editing yourself.
When you’re brainstorming ideas to possibly include in a eulogy, don’t bother analyzing the wording or agonizing over how to deliver a story. Instead, think about the direction you want to go and the information you would like to mention. Do you want to focus on specific attributes, accomplishments, and passions? Give an overview of their life? Are there certain characteristics your loved one was known for that you want to be sure to talk about? Even if your ideas flow in every direction, having them all in one place will help you with the next step.
- Refine your work.
Now that you have a draft of ideas, it’s time to narrow it down to an appropriate length – usually 3 to 5 minutes. Because of the emotion and stress most people experience at a funeral, we encourage you to write a manuscript of the eulogy to have with you. You never know when you’ll be caught off guard by emotion, grow teary and lose your place, or draw a blank.
As you’re honing in on what you would like to share, remember that stories about a person’s life are always more interesting than facts and character traits. Think of it this way: It’s one thing to hear that Aunt Maria was a caring person who enjoyed baking and spending time with her family. It’s another thing to listen to a story about the time Aunt Maria baked a dozen pans of baklava, then delivered plate after plate to her neighbors during the blizzard of 2016 that kept everyone stuck inside for days.
Really, there’s no comparison. Even short, unpolished stories can strike an emotional chord and bring to mind wonderful memories.
- Remember to keep it positive.
While a eulogy is a simple way to remember who a person was, there are situations where it’s difficult to describe someone who was difficult or led a troubled life. If this is the case, bear in mind that most of those in attendance will be familiar with the person who died and will realize the pain of the situation. While thinking about what to say before the funeral, you can gather friends and family to reminisce on the good times or tell their own stories to incorporate. Before delivering the eulogy, ask someone you trust to read it aloud to make sure you’re honoring your loved one’s memory in an appropriate way.
If you would like additional advice or help writing a eulogy or obituary, our Farenga Funeral Home staff has decades of experience doing so and are here to assist you any way we can. At a time when grief can feel overwhelming, we will help you find the words to say.