Writing a Eulogy for a Friend

Friends mean a lot to us. They share our fears, hopes, dreams, and friendships. That’s why being called upon to eulogize a friend is a very daunting. Grief is personal, and it’s often easier for you not to pass the responsibility for eulogizing a friend to an impersonal guest. There is no right or wrong method when it comes to developing and eulogizing a friend. However, a level of professional assistance can go a long way in helping you deliver a memorable eulogy. There are a couple of issues to think about as you sit down to craft the eulogy.

Understanding Eulogies. A tribute to a friend ought to be personal, conversational, lengthy and heartier. It’s a form of posthumous honor that captures the grief of those left behind. In many ways, the eulogy ought to immortalize your friend. At the same time, it should anchor their life in the context of how they lived and what they did. Everyone has to find some sense of relatability in the eulogy. Remember your friend had many lives and his life meant different things to different people. A eulogy is a time to bring up the positive aspects of his life that were hidden from those close to him.

Planning your Eulogy. means condensing decades of their life into a few minutes. That’s tricky. Even then there are a few things that can help you nail that. Pick one thing that you think symbolized his life and focus on it. Let everything you say, highlight, or explain, build up that symbol. It could be love, adventure, friendships, his personality or the virtues he stood for. What impression did your friend leave on people? What are some of your favorite memories? What kind of influence did he have?

What was quirky or notable about him?

Which Tone To Adopt. The tone you adopt is just as critical as the message. In fact, the tone is part of the message. Your tone should take into account the cause of death, respect for the bereaved and the funeral setting. Conventionally the tone of eulogy for a friend gives you greater leverage depending on the depth and length of your friendship. You can afford to be light, humorous and positive in your tone. Make sure you oscillate between a light tone and a more serious one as you wiggle through the eulogy. No doubt the family will adopt a serious tone, therefore be the one to alter the mood a bit.

Plan Ahead. Make sure you know your assigned duration. A befitting eulogy lasts between 5 and 7 minutes. So it’s best to avoid too many backstories that might derail your message. Remember people will decide whether to listen to you or drift off within the first few seconds. Therefore have a powerful start. It could be a quote, verse, a story or even a short song. If your eulogy is too brief, it won’t deliver your theme well. If it’s too long, then the message will get lost in the narrative. Keep it short, neat, free flowing and concise.

Drafting and Delivery. Armed with these facts, you can come up with an outline that has an introduction, body, and conclusion. A eulogy is meant to be celebratory and honorary, something that should reflect in the message. It should adopt your voice, feelings and nuance towards your late friend. Once drafted you can read it out loud to a trusted friend and let them help you make sense of it. The best way to deliver a speech is to internalize the message. Pick the most important points that carry the eulogy and memorize them. This allows you to flow smoothly and look up from the message from time to time to avoid making it a monolog.

Sample Eulogy: We’ve all gathered here to celebrate the life of our friend, brother, cousin, uncle and nephew, Peter. In his life, he lived up to the meaning of his name; a rock. He was the firm voice that kept us grounded in the many times that we faltered. And there were many times that we did. We are not here to mourn. We are here to celebrate. To relieve the memories that he’s left us with. We are here sad but comforted that his words, his deeds, his laughter and his long battle with illness will inspire us to be better and do more. Even in his death he remains the rock. For his voice continues to be the anchor that carries us through this grief.

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