The sudden loss of a loved one is extremely difficult, affecting every one who knew the deceased in a unique way. The eulogy is a wonderful way for you to relate your experience with the dearly departed with other grieving family and friends, but a lot of people ruin the experience because they make common mistakes. Here are four common mistakes people make when writing a eulogy and some tips on how to correct them.
Sharing a fond memory you had of the deceased can be very cathartic for you and other grieving funeral attendees, but don’t let the speech sound too euphemistic. The purpose of the eulogy is to honor the deceased in a way that stays true to him or herself. Remember, family and friends are gathered there to remember a human being, not a fairy tale. Try to remember any strange quirks, favorite sayings, or shortcomings when delivering your eulogy. This will give your speech some realism and may even jog others’ memory of the dearly departed.
2. Making the Speech Too Long
The death of a loved one conjures up a lot of different emotions. Your first instinct may be to spew out a 30 minute speech of the departed’s entire life story.
Instead, keep it short and simple. Give yourself a ten minute time frame to give enough room for others to express their thoughts too.
3. Not Practicing Before the Final Eulogy
With all of the time and effort that goes into planning for a funeral following the loss of a loved one, preparing a speech might be the furthest priority on someone’s mind. However, a lot of people make the mistake of just throwing the eulogy together at the last minute because they downplay its importance. Actually, the eulogy can play a vital role in the healing process because it gives the grief-stricken an opportunity to express themselves in front of a crowd of people that are feeling the same emotions. Write down key words and phrases on note cards. Stand in front of the mirror and practice until you reach your highest comfort level. Grief counselors recommend talking about the event 100 times before starting the healing process, so this will certainly be a great starting ground to recovery.
4. Making the Eulogy Too Serious
You’re not going to find too many smiling faces at a funeral, but they say that laughter is the best medicine. A lot of eulogy writers make the speech too dull or serious. The funeral procession doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom; spice it up with some funny anecdotes and stories that will make the audience laugh. Be sure to make them appropriate and relevant.
In summary, a good eulogy will always be written in a concise manner while capturing the true essence of the nature of the departed. While eulogy writing is probably not something you want to get good at in life, these few tips will hopefully bail you out when that unfortunate and inevitable event occurs.
Mark Rattner is a blogger, eulogy writer, and professional resume consultant. When he’s not writing for the web and assisting clients, you can find him enjoying the great outdoors in Central Texas with his dog Bogart.