A Few Words about the Eulogy

The telephone rings. A friend has passed away. You are asked to “say a few words” (in other words, give the eulogy) at the funeral. You agree. After you hang up the phone you nervously ask yourself, “Now what do I do?”

First of all, remember the purpose of a eulogy: to pay tribute to the person who has passed away. Here are a few tips to help you prepare those words of praise and fond remembrance:

“A few words” should really take no more than five to eight minutes. As you write it, read it aloud. Things that might be fine when you read them silently might be quite different when you read them aloud. Also, you’ll get a better sense of length.

Be upbeat and factual. Prepare an opening statement that is easy to say and won’t “choke you up”. It will get you off to a good start. Continue by high-lighting interests, hobbies, and character traits of the deceased.

If you find any material is too hard for you emotionally, leave it out. If you feel yourself losing control, pause and breathe deeply before continuing. Most importantly, rehearse your eulogy often-so that when you give your eulogy, it won’t seem like you are hearing it yourself for the first time. This will help you to keep control and feel prepared.