Being asked to write and present a eulogy in someone's memory is an honorable thing. Anyone who is put in such a position should feel appreciative just for being considered. It's an opportunity to reflect upon an individual's life and expound upon the virtues of a life well lived. Those in attendance will respond to your efforts with gratitude for painting such an extraordinary final picture for them to secure within the recesses of their memory.
Seems like an easy enough task, right?
Well, the job of the eulogist should be easy enough if the time you spent with the deceased was memorable in a positive sense. However, what if you were given the task of writing a eulogy for someone you didn't like? Your immediate response to the request might cause you to ask, "Why me?"
Why not you? If the departed person lived a life that was unfavorable in the eyes of most, then it stands to reason that the list of capable candidates would be small. Maybe you're considered the only reasonably nice person who wouldn't attempt to defame the legacy of a departed member of humanity.
This task may be daunting, but don't panic. It's not hopeless! Here are some things to consider when penning a eulogy that is both truthful and thoughtful.
Include Factual Information
Everyone has certain facts about their life that can be communicated in a direct and truthful way. Start with the place and date of birth and end with the final place of residence. Fill the in-between with facts about school, work, and family.
Add a General Memory or Two
If you were a childhood friend, college classmate, or a more recent colleague, add a memory or two of a time you shared together. Maybe you remember how the two of you shared a love for Star Wars and how it all began when you saw it together for the first time as children. Maybe you remember a favorite college class or a recent work conference the two of you experienced together. Memories like these are general and could easily be reflected upon.
Listing simple facts and adding a few generic memories could make up the bulk of the eulogy.
Stick to the Positives
Even though you may have felt an overall dislike for the person, it's still important to stick to the positives. No one would feel comfortable listening to anything less. Keep in mind that a funeral is intended to honor the departed not sully a legacy.
Include details that don't' necessarily reflect the person's personality. For example, expressing that your colleague was the top salesperson in your region is a positive detail that could be shared. Though the tactics by which "top salesperson" was awarded may have been ruthless and disingenuous, it is a negative detail that should be left out. There is no need to elaborate with unkind details. Sticking to the positives and eliminating the negatives is the way to go when it comes to eulogizing someone.
Brainstorm with others to gather more details about the person. Maybe there is a coworker or a distant family member who was fond of the deceased. Consider acquaintances who would have interacted with the person on a regular basis such as the mailman or next-door neighbor. These individuals knew the person but not on such a personal level, which could benefit you and the task at hand.
Keep It Short
Generally, the length of a eulogy is around two pages, but a concise one-page speech would suffice. With broad statements and general details about the person, you'll create a nice eulogy that is respectful of the person and thoughtful to his or her memory.
Consider Including a Published Poem
Poets always know what to say! If you feel that the general details about the person simply aren't enough to satisfy your job as a eulogist, then including a published poem will certainly fill in the empty space. Conducting a Google search is recommended, but here is a list of some favorites to consider. Find one that is appropriate for the person you're remembering.
10 Famous Eulogy Poems
Under the Harvest Moon, Carl Sandburg
Warm Summer Sun, Mark Twain
Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
Crossing the Bar, Alfred Lord Tennyson
Because I Could Not Stop for Death, Emily Dickenson
Remember, Christina Rossetti
All Is Well, Henry Scott Holland
A Meeting, Edith Warton
The Lord Is My Shepherd, Psalm
If this task is still too daunting to accomplish on your own, a professional eulogy writer can help with the burden and produce something you'll be proud to read. In Tribute Eulogy Services provides a fast and convenient way to create the perfect eulogy to honor even the most unlikable individual.