Eulogy is a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, especially a tribute to someone who has just died. It is a speech of:
Death is something all of us have imagined at one time or another, it is inevitable that it will come. In fact death is one of the two things that are very certain in life; the other being birth. So, instead of fearing death and avoiding talking about it, why don’t we live our lives death ready. What would it be like to die and attend your own funeral? Imagine for a moment that you have an out of body experience and you are able to witness your own funeral!
- Who would be there?
- How many people would come?
- Will the woman who spurned your love be devastated and finally realize how great you were?
- Will someone you thought you were close with be surprisingly absent and how would that make you feel?
- What will people say about you?
- What will people remember about your life and how you treated them?
- What would be your legacy?
- How will you be eulogized?
The answers to these will depend on the following:
- What are some of your fondest memories in life and who did you share them with?
- What do you value most in life and was it obvious to others?
- What are some character traits that people admired in you?
- What talents do you possess and who benefited from them?
- What did you like to talk about all the time? – Work, family, service to country, faith etc.
- What makes you smile?
Now, let us take these imagination one step further because now you are presented with the opportunity to write your own eulogy. It may at first sound a little morbid, but we all must confront our mortality from time to time. Because the society does a bang up job of hiding death from our view and many of us live in a state of denial about the fact that we will one day be dead even if we live until we’re 99, that day will arrive faster than we can imagine. Life is short: carpe diem!
A day is coming when we will all be dead and pushing up daisies. Acknowledging this fact can help us concentrate on living each day with purpose.
In considering what to say or write, ask yourself these two quick questions:
- “What story, conversation or event will people remember when they think or remember you?”
- “Is that remembrance something that would bring comfort to others in the audience?”
Consideration for your audience” is the most crucial task when writing or giving a eulogy.
How to Write Your Own Eulogy
Of course you can’t come up with your own eulogy without knowing how to write one in general. The easiest kind of eulogy to write is a “chronological eulogy” where you start from the beginning of your life, and give a run-down of where you were born, lived, education, marriage, family, kids, career, accomplishments, and so on.
Step 1: Write an outline.
- Sit down and imagine that you lived until you were 120 and then passed away.
- Now picture what you did during your 120 years of life. – This is your life as you hope to have lived it.
Where you lived.
- Did you stay in the town you were born in or did you live in a far-flung land?
- Did you move every few years and where did you retire?
How you lived.
- Jot down some “memories” of yourself, your hobbies, what did you enjoy doing in your teenage years, young adult, and adult life.
- What did you enjoy doing with your family and what kept you busy in retirement?
What kind of relationships did you have?
- Did you get married and if so how many kids did you have?
- How many friends did you have – many or a few really good ones?
What did you do for work?
- Did you stay with one company or job your whole life or did you change careers many times?
- Did you win any awards or accomplish any noteworthy feats?
What was most memorable about you?
- Your sense of humor or lack of it or your delicious cooking?
- Your insatiable love for adventure or your passion for the outdoors?
- Your unshakable faith?
What was it about you that people admired most?
- Your unwavering loyalty to friends, your honesty?
- Your work ethic or your leadership qualities?
- Your love for your family?
- Your patience?
What will people miss most about you?
- The creative homemade gifts you gave every Christmas?
- What a good listener you were?
- The handwritten letters you sent to friends?
- The way you could turn every mishap into something to laugh about?
Step 2: Turn your outline into a eulogy.
Now you’re going to take all of the ideas you just jotted down and coalesce them into a finished project. Your eulogy doesn’t have to be an endless epistle but it must hit the high points of your life; the really important stuff.
Now that you have seen what a eulogy captures and how it is presented, the question is how will your eulogy read should yours be read today? The essence of this material is for everybody to think about each day that we are privilege to live so that at the end, our report card can give comfort and pride to our families.