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What Do You Say In A Eulogy?

Giving a eulogy is no easy task. Telling the story of a person’s life - not just the actions they’ve taken, not just their history, not just their relationship with you, but their personality, their ups and downs, their very essence - that is the goal of a eulogy. Keeping this in mind, there are a few ways you can structure a eulogy.

A good way of forming your eulogy is to link the person’s history with personal memories, creating a blend of their life story with the way you perceived them.

Collect stories from their loved ones and try to piece together a narrative of their life. At the appropriate points of their history, bring up moments you shared with them - moments that formed your perception of them as a person.

You should begin the eulogy by introducing yourself if you weren’t already introduced by someone else. Don’t feel the need to stick to a precise timeline; you can opt to do an oral history or you can choose to use only personal anecdotes. Put these stories together to try to form a picture of the person you’re eulogizing; the narrative you’re creating should take precedent.

Keep in mind that the eulogy isn’t just for you nor is it just for the person you’re eulogizing - it’s for everyone in attendance. The most important people are the ones in the front - family and close friends. You should keep them in mind when you’re speaking. You can then expand out to people who knew the person you’re eulogizing, though perhaps not as well as those closest to the deceased. Near the end, expand to the lessons all of humanity can take from the person you’re eulogizing; every life, is, after all, a unique and grand statement about all lives.

You should practice a lot. Write the whole eulogy down, even if you plan on going off-script; this will give the memories a chance to crystallize. Blend sadness with happiness; human life is profound and only expressing one emotion is a disservice to the complexities of being. Show the person in as many facets as you can - their flaws, their aspirations, their failures, and their successes. Crying, laughter - these things are cathartic and essential. You might cry and laugh, too. That’s okay. People are large. We contain multitudes.

Not knowing what to say during a eulogy and not knowing if you’re going to be able to do it is natural. While we can’t tell you what to say, we can provide guidance - what topics to discuss, what others have said, when the eulogy will take place, and more. We’re Korban Chapel, a family-owned funeral home in Winnipeg. We’re here to guide you during times of grief. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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