If someone significant in your life has passed and the responsibility to deliver a eulogy is on your shoulders, it is undoubtedly a tough time for you. But it’s a way to express your love for the departed soul. It is an opportunity for you to spotlight the incredible work this person did, the good things they said and did, and how they touched your life. It is a wonderful way to honor the person who has passed. Of course, it is a sad time, but it does not mean there cannot be some lightness brought into it, even humor when done appropriately. This is not a chance to look good but to mention what was unique in that person. By following the steps discussed below to give a eulogy, you will not have to worry about sweating or falling apart during your talk. You will have a system in place for getting through the day in the best way by honoring the person who has passed.
Focus on one great strength
The first thing to do to prepare a eulogy for a lost loved one is to focus on the most remarkable thing about the person and what the person had the best in him. Isolate in one sentence what was the best thing about the person. It may be his compassion, humor, selflessness, or intelligence. Everybody has some strength inside, which is unique and special. Instead of trying to cover everything the person did that was wonderful or say that he was great at everything, it is better to isolate the quality that made this person special to you and many other people in the room.
Accomplishments of the person
After identifying the one most incredible quality or key thing about the person, think about two or three achievements or traits of the person that stand out and are widely known so that people in the room can relate to them and the things that made them special and unique. Do not make an extensive list as it is not time to write a biography on the person. It is the time to highlight the special moments of the person’s life, especially if they also affect others in the room.
Add stories to highlight the traits
Now you have the skeleton of the eulogy; i.e., the number one quality of the person and a few other achievements and traits you want to focus on, and now you must put meat on the bones. The meat of a good eulogy is stories people like to listen to, understand and relate to. The story involves recounting an honest conversation with the person; you can describe the situation, how you felt at that time, the circumstances, and what happened. For example, if a son is giving a eulogy about his mother, he can spotlight the overwhelmingly positive behavior and approach she had in her life and how kind she was to her son, and how she influenced his life. This quality can be highlighted by recounting the son’s earliest childhood memories, such as when his mother would hold him on her lap and say, “You are the smartest son in the world.” The boy replies, “What about the universe?” and she says, “You are the smartest boy in the universe.” These words can explain how unrelentingly positive she was and how much she boosted him. She gave him the self-esteem that made him think he could take over the world.
The story can be funny, although it does not have to be. At this point, you must not go through a biography. It would be best if you do not talk about where the person went for his elementary education, college, university, etc. This is unimportant, and people do not want to hear it now. They want to hear about how you connected with the person at the human level. Your story must not be so creative and adventurous that it can be turned into a movie. It does not have to be funny, although it can have some humor if it is not mean-spirited. People are sad and feel tense. A little laughter can provide relief at specific points in a eulogy. Don’t steer away from humor if you have a funny story to tell which is authentic, not something from a joke book. It should be something that evokes the memory of the person who passed. The stories must be memorable and make the person’s traits come alive. Your story doesn’t need to be 30 minutes long. You can even tell a story in a minute. You may have multiple stories in your eulogy. Brainstorm on stories magnifying the strengths and positive qualities. You share experiences and don’t read or memorize anything artificially. A good eulogy is all about sharing good experiences you had with the person who passed.
Prepare cheat sheet
Now put together the outline of the eulogy on a piece of paper, focusing on a handful of points like the significant strength you want to cover, the primary traits of the person, and stories covering all the traits. All this must be on a simple sheet of paper that is not too large, and the font on the sheet must be large enough so that you can read it from a distance without glasses. You may be misty-eyed, so you should have your notes clear enough to understand while staying in the audience’s view. Your outline must not be more than a single sheet; if it is more, it means that you have not edited down to the essential points of the eulogy.
Giving a eulogy after a dear one passes is hard and emotionally challenging, but preparing yourself the right way can make the job easy for the day and you can honor your loved one the best way. Outline the eulogy, first focusing on the person’s most prominent quality. Then list two or three traits or achievements of the person. Add stories to make these traits come alive. You can add appropriate humor to the story. It is fine to make a cheat sheet on a single sheet of paper containing the outline or main points you want to discuss in the eulogy.