Eulogies & Obituaries
Giving a meaningful, moving eulogy can be a nerve-wracking situation for even the most accomplished public speaker, but it need not be. How can you summarize somebody’s life in a few short minutes, while being both somber and funny at the same time? Writing and delivering a eulogy is a therapeutic tool to help deal with your grief, and being chosen to give a eulogy is an honor and should be treated that way. Here are some tips for writing and delivering an eloquent and memorable eulogy.
- Gather information. Talk with family members, close friends and co-workers to get important information on the deceased. Some important information to include in the eulogy is the persons family and other close relationships, their education/career, hobbies or special interests, places the person lived or travelled too, and any special accomplishments they had.
- Organize your thoughts. Jot down your ideas by whatever means are most comfortable and familiar to you. Create an outline of your speech, and fill in the information that you gathered about the person.
- Write it down. This is not a toast at a wedding where you can make off the cuff remarks, and you should not adlib a eulogy. Writing it all down allows you to include and remember every detail you wanted in your eulogy. When you bring a copy your eulogy to the podium make sure it is easy to read, print it out in a large font, or if it hand-written leave a few spaces between the lines. Keep in mind your time constraints, it’s best to keep things on the short side, especially if there are other speakers.
- Review and Revise. Your first draft will not be the last. When you think you are done, sleep on it and look it over in the morning when it is fresh again, that will be the time to make any necessary revisions.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. Read over your eulogy several times in order to become familiar with it. Practice in front of a mirror, read it over to some friends or family and have them give you feedback. Become familiar with your speech so you can recite it without making it look like you’re reading from a script. The more you practice the more comfortable you will be.
- Make them laugh, but be respectful. A funeral is not a roast, however there is room for humor in your eulogy. Fondly remember a story about the person that everyone can relate too. Keep it appropriate, there will be children and the elderly there that may not share the same sense of humor. Laughter is truly the best medicine, and some well placed humor will help people cope, and will bring back fond memories of the deceased.
- Don’t be afraid to show emotion. Funerals are an extremely emotional event, nobody expects you not to shed a few tears. However, if you feel that you will be too strongly overcome by your emotions, have a back-up plan in place where someone you trust can deliver the eulogy for you. Give them a copy well in advance if you feel this could be an issue.
- Have a glass of water as well as tissues handy.
Writing an obituary is a difficult and emotional task. Your director can assist, during the arrangement conference, to start the conversation and help write the obituary for local newspapers. An obituary accomplishes several goals;
To notify friends and the public that someone has passed, to tell the story of their lives, to announce the time, dates, and location of services, to notify those reading of planned events after services, to announce any desire for charitable donations to be made to organizations in name of the deceased,
If family would like to write an obituary themselves, or if someone pre-planning a funeral wants to have something written down, be sure to discuss the following as part of the tribute.
Typically, an obituary reads a certain way to impart information easily. For Example,
[GIVEN NAME] [MIDDLE NAME ( "NICKNAME"] [SURNAME ], [AGE], of [CITY], [STATE], passed away on [DATE OF DEATH] in [LOCATION OF DEATH].
[NAME] was born in [LOCATION OF BIRTH] to [PARENT’S NAMES] on [DATE OF BIRTH].
(From here you can start to tell the life story, including details about someone's EDUCATION, OCCUPATION, ACTIVITIES/HOBBIES, AWARDS/HONORS RECEIVED, COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT, and so on.)
Discuss with those writing, what would you like people to know about your loved one, and what would our community remember them for?
Next comes the Family Record. List who the person is predeceased by, starting from the closest relatives and moving forwards. Next, list those relatives who the deceased is survived by.
You may want to announce that donations can be made in someones name. Your director will help you find an address of a local chapter of any organization if you wish. The closing of the obituary is also a place for thanks and gratitude the family may wish to express to doctors, nurses, friends, or any who supported the deceased or their loved ones.
An obituary closes with the announcement of services, location and times.
An addition of a photo is a wonderful way to add personality.
Keep in mind that most newspapers now charge by the line.
Adjustments can always be made before a printing deadline and
your funeral director will give the family an estimate beforehand.
Actual charges come direct from the newspaper after they have received the obituary.
All obituaries at Walter J. Kent Funeral Home have the option of being
placed on our website, free of charge regardless of length.