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Writing a Eulogy

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Writing a Eulogy


Postby moorfield » December 5th, 2018, 10:48 pm

Not sure where to post this one ...

I've got 10 days to write a eulogy for the old man, at possibly the sh****st time of year to do such things, and am at a complete loss where to start.

Can anyone give me any pointers on how to construct such speeches ? "Best Man" speeches suddenly seem simples ...

Thanks in advance (and may not be visiting LF for a long while now)

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Re: Writing a Eulogy


Postby Sussexlad » December 6th, 2018, 7:30 am

I have no practical experience but I thought these three eulogies from G H W Bush's funeral were really touching and may provide a few clues,

Brian Mulroney & Alan Simpson

George Bush jnr

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Re: Writing a Eulogy


Postby yorkshirelad1 » December 6th, 2018, 8:18 am

moorfield wrote:Not sure where to post this one ...

I've got 10 days to write a eulogy for the old man, at possibly the sh****st time of year to do such things, and am at a complete loss where to start.

Can anyone give me any pointers on how to construct such speeches ? "Best Man" speeches suddenly seem simples ...

Thanks in advance (and may not be visiting LF for a long while now)

I spoke at my Mum's funeral. I decided to avoid giving the life history/biog during my talk/eulogy (and we published a short biopic in the back of the order of service for everyone to read/take away as they wished, and several people seemed pleased to have it). I told several stories (some of mine* and some that I had been given) and said several Thank Yous. I'm never quite sure if it came off (but the thunderbolt through the church roof never came down upon my head while I was talking so I assume she wasn't displeased, becuase it certainly would have done if she had been displeased).

*: I did tell one story about how Mum calmly and unexpectedly , whilst playing Scrabble with my sister and I not long before she died, put c*nt on the board and embarrassed the hell out of me (I didn't know where to put myself: one doesn't like to think of one's mother using words like that .... in Scrabble). I suspect she dined out on that story for ages after that; "I got them, I embarrassed them so much they didn't know what to do with themselves" - and she'd just looked it up in the dictionary: "it's in the dictionary, dear....". The vicar got a bit of a surprise. I'm not sure if the telling came off during the eulogy, though....

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Re: Writing a Eulogy


Postby bungeejumper » December 6th, 2018, 1:31 pm

I have the good fortune to be a reasonably confident public speaker, so it wasn't too hard for me to get up and deliver eulogies for both of my parents. My father had died during particularly harrowing circumstances, and that was especially tough - whereas my mum slipped away in hospital, almost without noticing that anything was going wrong. I know which death I found easier to deal with!

It sounds like you've got the measure of this task already. Don't be afraid to raise a giggle or two, as long as it's kind. (My mother was a world-beater at draughts, mainly because she couldn't resist the temptation to cheat. :lol: ) And if there's anything notable about the family (my mother was the youngest of ten), then that sort of thing is interesting.

Two practical tips. First, find out from the minister how long you've got for your oration, and try not to over-stretch it by more than a minute or two if you can help it. And secondly, print out your eulogy in massive 16 point bold type before the address, because there might not be a dry eye in the house, and there's a good chance that you'll be wobbling a bit yourself when you get to stand up.

One thing I have never regretted, but which I don't think I've ever heard at any other funeral. I finished my eulogy to my mum with a simple 'thank you'. It seemed like the least I could do.

Good luck. Hope it helps.


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Re: Writing a Eulogy


Postby Clariman » December 8th, 2018, 12:16 am

Commiserations on your loss. It is a difficult time and thing to do.

My siblings and I went down the life story route for our parents' funerals. They were non religious civil ceremonies and the celebrant (if that's the right word) spoke most of them with family doing part. They were interspersed with relevant music. In effect both funerals were extended eulogies talking about their lives. We had many positive comments from those who attended.

That all worked for the civil ceremony where you have a blank canvas. Maybe less suitable for a religious one where there are more set piece elements.

Best wishes

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Re: Writing a Eulogy


Postby Charlottesquare » December 8th, 2018, 11:00 am

Regarding method ,with my father we all clubbed together and produced a timeline history, then interspersed into it notes re particular events/facets/ anecdotes, things like early life, university, meeting my mother, career, the family etc.

I typed it all up and having produced pages and pages passed it to my sister who edited the structure down into a more narrative, personal, story rather than being a catalogue (my writing can be a tad terse) ,she in effect injected some humanity into the tale, highlighting some areas, passing faster over others.

We paid a professional to officiate (recommended by the undertaker - effectively a non religious service), rather than rely on any of us on the day to deliver; frankly I doubt I could have delivered it and I think we all felt we had enough other things to deal with, knowing we also had to deliver it would have added even more stress.

It helped that a few years before my sister had produced a "This is your Life" type DVD for my father's 80th, so we had a bit of a starting point re considering the main events;- childhood, university, Royal Navy, RNR, legal practice, family, hobbies etc

The narrative flow helped with selection of the anecdotes which highlighted the unique parts and aspects of my father, things like how my mother met him as a student/or he met her ( She dropped a wrapped parcel of bacon onto his head from her basket as she climbed up an Edinburgh tram stair and he was following her up the stair ), why he went to Oxford (he was too young at the end of his fifth year to get into Edinburgh (he was still 16) and as they would not take him, and as he was annoyed with them re this, he stayed on for sixth year and applied to Oxford instead, to get his own back- a fairly early exemplar of his stubborn determination)

Writing the historical narrative may help you in picking out little moments that shine a light on the individual, the person, whilst it itself may be a little dry the exercise of its creation may assist your creative juices, in effect jog your memory. I think it also helps if you can bounce it through siblings/family, I am one of four and all of us inserted little aspects that the others had missed, so if you can get a draft history and e mail around family you may be helped by their collective memories.

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Re: Writing a Eulogy


Postby kiloran » December 8th, 2018, 11:27 am

I'm sure your task will become easier as you start constructing the eulogy. I totally recommend getting help from friends and family. One thing you should absolutely avoid in my view is to just reel off a list of time-sequenced events. By all means use that to create a basic structure, but focus mainly on his quirks and foibles with some warm humour. And reflect on how he brought you up and shaped you to make you what you are today.

My dad died 17 years ago and, strangely, I don't miss him because I think of him every day without fail, and in many ways I feel I have become him. My thoughts are his thoughts, and my way of doing things is exactly the way he would do things.


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Re: Writing a Eulogy


Postby moorfield » December 8th, 2018, 4:20 pm

Thanks all for comments I will rec all of them in due course. A particular headache of current times I'm finding is Lady M doesn't want to be involved at all, she fell out with the old man to the extent she didn't want to be in the same room as him. Not without good reason I would add, but that's not a story for here (and perhaps not a eulogy either, although I do want to reference this somehow, however obliquely).

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Re: Writing a Eulogy


Postby Sunnypad » December 14th, 2018, 10:58 am

sorry to hear your news

I gave a eulogy for my dad but in fact I kept it short because I figured that was best for me and best for the audience.

I did end up doing a little additional stuff at the end. it had been at the back of mind and then I felt like adding it in. I also might have spoken too quickly because after the angst, it seemed to go very fast.

I'm sure you will do well, and I'm sorry for your loss.

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