A family bereavement can raise a lot of anxiety. As well as financial and practical worries, many are also faced with the daunting task of giving a eulogy. Public speaking is one of the world’s most common phobias, and the desire to eulogise the deceased in a way that is worthy of their memory only adds to the pressure. The important thing is not to panic. By following a few simple guidelines, you can give a eulogy that is both effective and appropriate.
Think about what the deceased would have wanted
A eulogy is a highly personal thing, and there is no one size fits all approach. There is nothing worse than a generic eulogy that fails to capture the spirit of the person who has died. Consider their personality. If they liked to laugh, include some jokes. If they were passionate about something, make sure that you mention it.
Do some research
If you are giving a eulogy, you are likely to have known the deceased extremely well. However, there may still be aspects of their life that you were less familiar with. Talk to other friends and relatives to try and get a complete picture of who they were. If you met them later in life, try to track down their childhood friends. This will make your eulogy feel more rounded as you will not just be talking about your own relationship with the deceased, but how they affected the lives of all those around them. You might even get some good stories that you can use.
Practise your eulogy
It might feel a bit strange, but it is a good idea to practise your eulogy beforehand. This allows you to get a feel for how it sounds out loud, and to work out how long it lasts. A eulogy should usually be somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes. Detailed enough to be respectful, but not so long that the audience becomes restless or uncomfortable. Performing the eulogy to a close friend or family member also allows them to tell you if you have missed any important details.