What is a eulogy (funeral speech)?
The purpose of the speech is to pay an uplifting and inspiring tribute to the deceased in which their life is remembered and celebrated.
If you are asked to make a funeral speech, you should take it as a great honour. However, it is an important responsibility and you may find it the hardest speech that you are ever asked to give.
The most important thing to remember is that there are no right ways or wrong ways with funeral speeches. A good analogy is that the speaker is painting a personal picture of the deceased for the audience drawing on aspects of the person’s life including what they did, their family, their interests and their character. There is no doubt, the most touching and meaningful funeral speeches are personal ones written and delivered from the heart.
Any speech you make will be well received. The audience is on your side and you will be surrounded by family and close friends. In the circumstances, even a simple scorecard of the person’s merits and achievements will be appreciated.
If your speech manages to capture the essence of the person’s life then it will be long remembered. Whilst the person’s enduring qualities and virtues must be recorded, it will be the character traits, the untold kindnesses, the laughter and the unusual foibles that you should try to celebrate and enjoy. These are what will bring the deceased most vividly back into the minds of your audience. When you find the audience is simultaneously smiling and crying then you know your speech has succeeded.
A good speech will also provide considerable comfort and reassurance to the person’s close family. They will particularly appreciate the public affirmation that their loved one’s life was important and meaningful to others.
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