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You’re being asked to do something at the very moment when nothing can be done.You get the last word in the attempt to define the outlines of a life.Used cautiously, humour can help convey the personality of the deceased and illustrate some of his or her endearing qualities.
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For example, don’t make any jokes or comments about the deceased that would be a mystery to the majority of the crowd.
How serious or light-hearted do you want the eulogy to be?
In a few words describe your relationship to the deceased.
Writing and giving a eulogy is a way of saying farewell to someone who has died that, in a sense, brings the person to life in the minds of the audience.You may have all the information you need, or you may want to speak to other people close to the person to get precise details and check your facts.You may have arranged the funeral as a friend of the deceased, not knowing too much about them and having no relatives to turn to for information, in which case you can base your eulogy on your impressions of them as a person.Once you have the material and have thought about it in relation to the people you are talking to, you are ready to start putting it together.The hardest task in preparing any talk is often not so much deciding what you’re going to say as deciding how to organise it into a structure with a beginning, middle and end.There is no right or wrong way to write a eulogy: each is as unique as the person giving it and the person it describes.But even if you’re used to speaking in public, finding words to say can be difficult because of the special circumstances of a funeral. You may feel a heavy burden of responsibility to get it ‘right’, in terms of both content – what to say – and tone – how to say it.There are no hard and fast rules – here are some suggestions about preparation and use our Guide to Public Speaking for more in depth tips. If the person was difficult or inordinately negative, avoid talking about that or allude to it gently.Make sure you don’t say anything that would offend, shock, or confuse the audience.The current sense dates from the late 16th century.(Oxford Dictionary) Start by thinking of the people you are addressing, as well as the person you are describing: the eulogy is about the person, but for the audience. Listening to you will obviously be highly emotional for those closest to the person, and some people will be in tears.