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Eulogy writing tips - anyone got any experience?

Old 12-16-12, 06:54 PM
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Eulogy writing tips - anyone got any experience?

OK, the family has had a REALLY bad week and on Thursday I'll be delivering a eulogy at the 'double-header' funeral for my grandmother and father (died 8 days apart).

Any suggestions or tips for structure? Any traps to watch out for?

I've got a ton of material and can reference the whole family. Plenty of gags and lots of segues.

While I am an experienced public speaker, I've never done a funeral.




And, yes Foosters, we are getting some sort of two-for-one discount from the funeral home. (I know you were thinking it...)
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Old 12-16-12, 06:57 PM
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Man, I have nothing of value to add. I've never written one. With that said, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Rick
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Old 12-16-12, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Couch View Post


Man, I have nothing of value to add. I've never written one. With that said, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Rick
If you ever do write one I'm sure it will be entertaining. However, I'm pretty sure there are laws against burning furniture in my home town and the family wouldn't get the Foo in-jokes.
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Old 12-16-12, 07:03 PM
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I usually like to tell a few dirty jokes first to break the ice and win over the crowd.
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Old 12-16-12, 07:05 PM
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There was this Irishman who requested his favorite whiskey be poured over his grave when he died..........................
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Old 12-16-12, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by spry View Post
I usually like to tell a few dirty jokes first to break the ice and win over the crowd.
I got plenty of stories about 'inappropriate' questions my grandma used to ask my girlfriends.

"Nanna, you don't need to know that."

"No, but I'd like to know. I was your age once."
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Old 12-16-12, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post
I got plenty of stories about 'inappropriate' questions my grandma used to ask my girlfriends.

"Nanna, you don't need to know that."

"No, but I'd like to know. I was your age once."
The story has to include the deceased,not about you or girlfriends telling granny ya struck out again,OK?

Find an embarassing story about the deceased you are now free to blab.
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Old 12-16-12, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post
OK, the family has had a REALLY bad week and on Thursday I'll be delivering a eulogy at the 'double-header' funeral for my grandmother and father (died 8 days apart).

Any suggestions or tips for structure? Any traps to watch out for?

I've got a ton of material and can reference the whole family. Plenty of gags and lots of segues.

While I am an experienced public speaker, I've never done a funeral.
First, Honor them. No need for dirty laundry.

Otherwise, just get your strongest memories and share them, incidents that offer insight into their character. Write them all down, and edit away. Humor is good, when you show their sense of humor. Keep the focus on them.
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Old 12-16-12, 07:21 PM
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Humor is good. Seriously.
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Old 12-16-12, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
Humor is good. Seriously.
my man
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Old 12-16-12, 07:53 PM
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You could always wear a Couch shirt while you are up there. That would make them laugh.

Couch
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Old 12-16-12, 08:06 PM
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I'm sorry for your loss OP and hope you find peace soon. I unfortunately don't have any grand tips for you. I think the best thing you could do, and something I would do if I were in your position, is to sit in a quiet place and spend some time writing absolutely nothing. Think about your loved ones for an hour or two with no distractions. Then, begin your writing from the heart and see where it goes.
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Old 12-16-12, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
I'm sorry for your loss OP and hope you find peace soon. I unfortunately don't have any grand tips for you. I think the best thing you could do, and something I would do if I were in your position, is to sit in a quiet place and spend some time writing absolutely nothing. Think about your loved ones for an hour or two with no distractions. Then, begin your writing from the heart and see where it goes.
The Couch shirt my be a good "crowd pleaser"if his writtin speech bombs.
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Old 12-16-12, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Couch View Post
You could always wear a Couch shirt while you are up there. That would make them laugh.

Couch
You get enough of those shirts out there in America,you'll have good face recognition and a shot of winning a seat in Congress.
Keep up the good work homeslice
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Old 12-16-12, 09:21 PM
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Personal stories, remembrances of what made them special, humor, sincerity

good luck
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Old 12-17-12, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Couch View Post
You could always wear a Couch shirt while you are up there. That would make them laugh.

Couch
Might need to get a Couch shirt anyway - just for loungin' and shootin' the breeze here.
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Old 12-17-12, 05:20 AM
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I'm so sorry to hear that, Jonny. Since you're experienced at public speaking, I won't offer any tips about delivery -- just make sure that you keep the focus on the people you're honouring. My condolences, and good luck.
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Old 12-17-12, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
First, Honor them. No need for dirty laundry.

Otherwise, just get your strongest memories and share them, incidents that offer insight into their character. Write them all down, and edit away. Humor is good, when you show their sense of humor. Keep the focus on them.
This +1000

Probably one of the best I heard in recent years was written by the deceased just prior to his death. I knew him through Toastmasters, and both he and his wife were excellent storytellers. Essentially, he defined himself as the rock thrown in the stream, and the ever larger ripple affecting others around him. His joy in helping others grow, his legacy giving others a bunch of rocks to carry on.

The other was of my grandmother given by my uncle. This one, obviously was in 3rd person, and focused on her dedication to life, work and church - including the hardships (or lack of modern conveniences) in the 1920's and 1910's. The priest was asking for a copy of it as it described the early life of the parrish.

What is common in both is finding a story or theme about the person and developing a relatively short speech around it. Source material could be (positive but interesting) stories told at family gatherings, particurally if told by the deceased. If they have written a book even better. That same uncle recently wrote a book about his grandfather but in it revealed stories about his early childhood interaction with his grandfather, like accidently breaking a bottle of moonshine on the way to a 'high society' party, or when given a .410 and told to stand guard at a fence where wild hog dug through as the adults went through the field flushing him out, and how ineffective a .410 was as the hog kept coming straight at him, etc.

Just look around for stories that are amusing interest to the audience.
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Old 12-17-12, 07:21 AM
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I've never done a eulogy, but I've done several speeches as best man (maybe they're sort of similar). Make your speech/writing a celebration of their lives and don't dwell on the loss. If your grandmother was known for dirty questions to dates, then that is perfectly acceptable to use. The eulogy should be a reflection of their personalities and what made them, them.
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Old 12-17-12, 08:38 AM
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First, my condolences to you and all your family on your loss. I will pray for you.

Second, remember that the eulogy and funeral are not for those that have left but for those that are left behind. Think about who in attendance may be grieving the most and try to find a way to bring some light to their darkness right now. A story about how that person and the departed interacted, or how that person was recalled fondly by the departed, etc.

Third, take some time to take care of yourself during all this. Sometimes I will focus so much on serving the needs of others that my own needs get neglected and for me, that plants the seeds of discontent.

Peace to you during this time.
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Old 12-17-12, 09:18 AM
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Maybe this will provide inspiration

...has some nsfw language...

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Old 12-17-12, 09:19 AM
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Don't quote a known Nazi, like the guy who spoke at my FIL's funeral did.
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Old 12-17-12, 09:45 AM
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Good replies. I dread the day I have to do that. Just be mindful of the audience and try to avoid going too far and regretting it later.
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Old 12-17-12, 09:47 AM
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Sadly yes I have experience..

Keep it brief, keep it light and joyful (it's not a comedy night club - some people will be offended by jokes but a nice sweet story is OK), don't share too much personal information.

Eulogy no no: Went to a funeral several years back; the wife of a close friend died suddenly. I knew she was ill but her husband didnt share that much. Her brother got up to do the eulogy... he went on to tell us all about her depression and mental illness and how when she killed herself, she didn't realize the pain she would cause... WHAT? MENTAL ILLNESS? SUICIDE??? None of us knew about this and clearly her husband did nto want to share the details... it made for a very ackward afterwards.

Keep your audience in mind... many are in pain and only want to hear encouraging things; things that sooth away hurt. For instance "I always loved visiting Grandma Christmas morning... she would take each child aside and give us a special cookie with our name on it and told us Santa brought it... I knew years later she baked them but I always hoped she and Santa were close friends..." Something sweet like that.
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Old 12-17-12, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by etw View Post
Personal stories, remembrances of what made them special, humor, sincerity

good luck
I too am sorry for your losses.
I'd guess the above. I've doe a lot of public speaking, but never a eulogy. I learned early it usually doesn't matter what you say when it's time to share some memories of the deceased at the funeral as long as it come from the heart and is respectful.
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