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What is a Eulogy?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated May 23, 2024
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A eulogy is somewhat like a personalized speech. It is given at a funeral as a testimonial to the life of the deceased. It is usually given by a relative or a close personal friend of the person who passed away. The eulogy is a way to share details and fond memories of a loved one that other people may not be aware of, or that they may find comforting. Giving a eulogy can be very difficult, since emotions are high when a loved one passes on.

It is perfectly acceptable to write the eulogy yourself and ask someone else to read it for you. This is a good idea if you were especially close to the deceased and do not feel you will be able to speak. On the other hand, people expect raw emotion at such a difficult time, and will certainly understand. This being the case, if you feel it is important that you give the eulogy personally, do not be embarrassed about showing emotion while delivering your speech.

It is a good idea to prepare the eulogy ahead of time, and to write down what you want to say. You may need to walk away from it for awhile, and look it over again later. It is often difficult to express yourself under such strain. If overcome with emotion, give yourself some time before attempting to finish writing the eulogy.

Once you are able to collect your thoughts on paper, you may wish to rehearse the eulogy a few times. Reading aloud will help you catch errors and notice awkward lines, giving you the opportunity to rephrase. Practicing the eulogy might also trigger another memory that you would like to add.

Bringing note cards with you to the funeral is also a good idea. It is easy to forget what you want to say when you are standing before a group of people, caught up in the sentiments of the moment. Bring tissue with you to the podium as well. The most important thing to remember is that the eulogy is your way of honoring your loved one, and what you say is far more important that how you say it.

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