“Ann was a southern girl with a radical heart. At the center of everything she did was a true sense of compassion and caring for people.”
~ Ann Dudley
A eulogy is a remembrance spoken at a funeral by a close friend or relative of the person who has died. It is not an obituary printed in a newspaper listing accomplishments and those who live on. A eulogy is a testament to the meaning in your life.
As an exercise, writing your own eulogy allows you to pause and consider, “How will I be remembered? Does my life reflect the values that are important to me?” It can help bring focus to your journey of life.
And, if your eulogy does not fill you with gratitude, it is time to make changes in your life. Fortunately, you still can.
To write your own eulogy you must step outside of yourself. Think of the stories that someone might tell about you, a turn of a phrase or a typical behavior that captures your character so well. If you wish, talk to friends and relatives and include their ideas.
5 Tips for Writing Your Eulogy
Choose a tone. Is your eulogy funny, serious, or a lesson to be learned? Your values might inform the tone. Imagine yourself on your deathbed, reflecting on your life. What moments seem the most precious? Are you grateful for certain choices you made in life? Who makes your heart sing? What is an important life lesson you want to share? Set the tone that matches your life style.
A theme gives unity to your eulogy. By choosing a theme you help your listeners see a rich pattern in your life. For example, if you like to travel, you might be a person who has the ability to make a home wherever you hang your hat. Can you find a similar theme for your own life?
Tell a story with specific examples. Listeners like to told a story with depth and detail. If you are a generous person, share the story of the time you helped Sarah, a homeless woman, find housing and community support. For contrast, if you are a snappy dresser you might mention the time you left the house with a bra dangling from the back of your sweater like a tail.
Speak to your audience. Who will be sitting at your funeral service listening to your eulogy? What will they want to hear from you? If you want, you can address persons directly. Avoid lists of any kind but you can group members of your audience into various categories and tell a story for each of them.
Keep it short. Eulogies are most poignant when they are no longer than 3 to 5 minutes. Your first draft might be long with lots of examples. Choose the stories that most closely demonstrate your theme and reach your audience.
If you have an opportunity, it serves you best to speak it to those who bring you joy.