When somebody close to us passes away, we often have to write a eulogy. This can be a daunting task, as it is not something we think about or have to do often in our lives. Just like picking out a cremation urn, this may be the first time you have to do this, and you have no clue where to start. I have given a a couple of eulogies for family members who have passed, and I can tell you from my experience what worked for me. 

Here are some common questions about giving a eulogy and some tips from me:

First of all, what is a eulogy?

A eulogy can be whatever you want it to be. It doesn't have to be some grand speech like you see on TV or in the movies. What you say about the deceased should match your personality and your relationship to them. You can read a poem, show photos or videos, share a funny story, or just talk about how much they meant to you. 

How do you start a eulogy?

The easiest way to start to write a eulogy is by introducing yourself and your relationship to the deceased. This will help the audience understand why you are speaking and give them some context for what you're about to say. After that, you can launch into your tribute.

How long should a eulogy be?

A eulogy is typically between three and five minutes long. Depending on your comfort level with public speaking this may seem like a short amount of time, but it is important to remember that people are grieving and may not have the attention span for a long speech. Also, there may be others who would like to speak as well. 

What if I can't think of anything to say?

If you are finding it problematic coming up with material to write your eulogy, try reaching out to others who knew the deceased. Ask them to share their favorite memories or stories about the person. This can help jumpstart your own memory and give you some ideas for what to say.

Tip #1: Focus on the good.

When giving a eulogy, it is important to focus on the positive aspects of the person's life. Try to recall all of the fantastic times you shared together and what made them special. Start by brainstorming all of the positive things you remember about the person who has passed away. Write down everything that enters your mind, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Once you have a long list, you can start to narrow it down and organize your thoughts.

Tip #2: Make your eulogy personal.

A eulogy should be personal and from the heart. No one expects you to have a perfectly polished speech at the ready.  Gather your thoughts and speak from the heart. Your words will be much more impactful this way.

Tip #3: Don't be afraid of your emotions.

It's okay to get emotional when giving a eulogy. In fact, it is often expected. It is easy to feel overwhelmed so take a few deep breaths if you need to, and focus on what you want to say. I find the 4-7-8 breathing technique very helpful.

Tip #4: It may a solemn occasion, but that doesn't mean you can't be funny.

Don't be frightened to inject a bit of humor into writing your eulogy. This can help to lighten the mood and make it more bearable for everyone involved. Just be mindful not to say anything that could offend someone. It is not a best man's toast, after all!

Tip #5: Brevity is your friend.

Keep it short and sweet. No one wants to listen to a long, drawn-out eulogy. Instead, try to focus on one or two key points about the person's life. This will make it much more memorable and easier for everyone to digest.