Free Condolence Letters

Writing and delivery a eulogy may well be one of the most difficult things you'll ever do. Coming up with the right words to say about a person who has recently died is not an easy task, but you know this is the ultimate responsibility you can have, so of course you want to do a great job.

The first thing to remember is, if you knew and the loved the person in question (and presumably you did, since you've been given this job), there is almost nothing you can do incorrectly when giving the eulogy, as long as you speak from your heart. At a funeral, the other grieving people are not looking to hear the best speech ever; they're not even looking to hear a speech that makes the death of their loved one okay. They want to hear about their loved one's life. What made the person special? What funny things did the person say? What touching moments did the person have?

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind when you're asked to deliver a eulogy:

It's not about you. This one is pretty important. It may be tempting to speak about all the ways this death is affecting you in your life, but try to keep that to a minimum. You will be speaking to many people, all grieving this loss, all in different ways. If your speech is too personal, it will seem as though you are ignoring the feelings of everyone else in the room.

Be prepared. This will not be the time for you to just "wing it" and hope the words come to you. Start with a list of adjectives describing the person. Was he funny? Charming? Kind? Coming up this list will help you get in the correct mindset to write your speech. Once you have an idea of the deceased's qualities you want to highlight, you can begin making a list of stories you'd like to tell. These will be the framework of your speech.

Don't memorize. A rehearsed speech will sound insincere, which is the opposite of you will be feeling and how you'll want to sound. You know the deceased well, and you know what you feel about him and what you want others to remember, so you shouldn't need to read it verbatim from a page. Instead, write down bullet points -- certain stories you want to tell, qualities you want to highlight -- and use those to give a heartfelt speech. Remember to put them in an order that makes sense and that will make the speech have a flow.

Relax. Obviously, this is not an easy thing to do in this situation. But remember that a eulogy is meant to praise and celebrate. You liked the deceased, and you want everyone to know what was so likeable. If you are tense and nervous, you won't be able to get the message out there, and you won't be helping anyone to whom you are speaking. Try not to think of this as some big, important speech you're making, and instead think about the deceased and what you want to make sure everyone remembers about him. No one in that audience will be judging your speaking ability; they simply want to hear nice things about the deceased.

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