Funeral Speeches and Eulogies

March 5, 2015

What is said at a funeral service is remembered forever by the family and friends of the deceased. Most often the person speaking has emotional ties to the one who has passed on and delivering the eulogy is difficult. Here are a few things for a speaker to remember that might make the experience less stressful and maybe even special.

Ask the funeral director or person who requested you to give the speech or eulogy if there is a time constraint. A speech can be 2 minutes or 20; you will want to know what is desired.

As you prepare your thoughts, keep in mind that memorial or funeral services are for the living. Those attending wish to both show their respects for the dead and their support for the family members who are now adjusting to a new normal.

Write down what you plan to say. Organize your thoughts by writing them out. Just be yourself and write like you talk. Begin by introducing yourself. Tell a story relating what your relationship was or how you met. Don’t assume everyone knows who you are.It is acceptable to give a short history of the life of the loved one. You can share details about family, career, hobbies and accomplishments.

It is okay to show emotion. Everyone present is there for the same reason: to remember a special person. Some people cry and others choose laughter as their cathartic expression.

Include a few short stories that stand out in your memory. The people who are listening want to connect with you and recalling shared celebrations or a heartfelt conversation will bring comfort to those hearing.

Adding a song, poem and scripture verse or passage (religious writings) to your speech is always a good idea. If the deceased was ill for some time before passing, chances are he or she had special words that brought strength or peace. If you are not aware of a specific poem or excerpt, do not be afraid to ask a family member if there is one the family would like for you to mention.

It is best to keep negative or hurtful remembrances out of your speech. This is not the appropriate time to bring up disappointments. A eulogy honors the dead and comforts the living.

Conclude your speech by offering your support to the family members. Thank the listeners for the opportunity to share with them.

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