A eulogy is often a crucial part of a funeral – giving those the closest to the deceased the chance to look back on their life, experiences and cherished memories.
But often that can lead to uncomfortable situations with those feeling too emotional. Some who have been fortunate to not have given or witnessed enough eulogies may be confused about what to say.
Sometimes people make the mistake of making jokes at an inappropriate moment to lighten the moment.
It may be true that there is no right or wrong answer to what you should say at a eulogy. But for those that are anxious, it would be helpful to have a template to follow before speaking from the heart.
The Mirror spoke to Laurence Jones, Partner of Laurence Jones Funeral Directors, Bebington, to get some expert advice on this very topic.
So, what kind of things should you include in a eulogy?
Start with some basic information on the deceased such as their family life, career, hobbies and their partner.
Write down the names of the family members you’d like to include in your eulogy, as you may be feeling overwhelmed on the day and forget.
Mention a quality of the deceased, and back it up with an anecdote to emphasise their personality.
You could also dedicate a section of the eulogy to their partner and talk about how they met.
Don't forget to include any favourite songs, quotes or poems that were particularly special to your loved one.
Laurence Jones said: "Firstly, begin with a potted history of the person, if it’s a lady, talk about their maiden name and where she went to school, what her job was and where she met her partner.
"Family details and interests are really important to talk about, you’ll be amazed at the number of people who learn something new about their loved one from a eulogy."
In terms of humour, Laurence advised to be careful, as there often can be situations where "everybody sits there with a pan face" when they don't find something funny – this isn't a best man's speech after all.
"If you can think of any human stories to relieve the tension that’s good, it’s all about anecdotes and talking about their history."
How long should a eulogy be?
In general, a funeral eulogy should be between 500 and 1,000 words, and will take around five to 10 minutes to read aloud.
Once you’ve got all your information collected, spend an hour or so revising the speech to ensure it all sounds okay.
Think about whether there’s a theme that pulls all the stories together, or would you rather talk about your loved one’s life in chronological order.
Laurence advises: "You really need to work out how long it’s going to be, you’ll be surprised at how much you can say in ten minutes.
"I have people at funerals that say they’re only going to be ten minutes, and after 25 minutes, they are still going strong."
Delivering the eulogy
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You’ve done your research and written a beautiful piece about your loved one, now it’s almost time to deliver your eulogy.
Be sure to practice practice practice, because the thought of public speaking is bound to make anyone feel nervous.
Take deep breaths and read your eulogy slowly so that you can be heard clearly.
- Make eye contact if you can
- Have some tissues nearby if you get emotional
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you’re here in memory of your loved one and they’ll be proud regardless.
To summarise, Laurence said: "We know certain parts of people's lives but not others, a eulogy is all about completing life’s pattern."
For funeral notices in your area visit funeral-notices.co.uk
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