1. Interview family and friends
Don’t feel that the complete weight of remembering your loved one is on your shoulders. Instead, ask family members or friends to share their stories of your loved one. This process itself can be very cathartic, as the act of remembering and sharing can help in the healing process itself.
2. Tell a story (or stories)
Everyone at the service will appreciate your personal memories of your loved one. Don’t worry about remembering each detail, perfectly; just share the details that matter to you. To think about a good story, try out some of these prompts:
- What’s a favorite memory you have?
- What made them laugh?
- What was their proudest moment in life?
- What did they most enjoy?
- What’s a little known fact about your loved one?
These questions will help you to remember some enjoyable stories and can serve as a jumping-off point.
3. Don’t think about it as public speaking
Sure, you might be speaking in front of a lot of people. But, no one is judging you or analyzing what you’re saying. They’re simply listening and appreciating, and thinking about their own personal connection to the deceased. However, if you want to feel more confident while delivering your lines, it can be helpful to write everything down in case you experience a moment of nerves up there, as we all often do.
4. Keep it brief
Share as much as you want to share, but don’t feel that you have to overburden yourself with pages of stories. Choose the one or two that are most meaningful to you, and you’ll have a eulogy that truly does justice in celebrating your loved one.
5. Read it out loud
Before the service, read the speech out loud to yourself or to a trusted family member or friend. They’ll help calm any nerves, make any suggestions about what resonates the most with them or pick out any particularly inspirational elements to focus on further.
6. Humor heals
It’s OK, and perfectly acceptable, to be funny or tell a humorous story in a eulogy. At a time that brings sadness to many people, it is important and hugely helpful to be celebrating a life well lived with funny memories and entertaining anecdotes.
7. Take a deep breath
Finally, relax. It can be difficult given all that you’re going through right now, but be at peace knowing that you’re honoring and celebrating your loved one.