How To Write A Eulogy For A Mother
Emotionally, writing a eulogy is one of the hardest things that you'll ever have to do. If you break it down into different sections, however, the words will flow easily. It can be a cathartic exercise where you can write down everything about your mother that made them special.
When it comes to the funeral, delivering the eulogy can also be very difficult. Here we will go through all the steps on how to write a touching eulogy and we'll also give you tips on how to deliver it.
Find memorable stories
It's important to remember that a eulogy isn't a biography. Instead of listing all of their life events, you want to find a few stories that reflect the type of person they were.
These stories can be lovely, humorous or simply remind people of their special personality. You don't have to stick with one memory as you would be able to get in three or four, depending on how long they are.
It's also a good idea to involve others such as your father, siblings or anyone else that may have been close to her. While the eulogy is personal, it's a good idea to share some special memories with others. Many people find going through these stories to be a heartwarming experience.
What did her life teach you?
One of the most important parts of a funeral is to remember their legacy. How did she shape the person you became and how do you want them to be remembered?
While it's tempting to airbrush history, it's best to not rewrite the past. If they weren't a saint then you don't have to paint them to be one. You can talk about their flaws but it's always nice to put a positive slant on them.
It's good to remember how their life connected with you. How her morals shaped your morals. Perhaps how her difficult life made her determined to give you the best life possible. You want your eulogy to explain why she was important and the achievements made.
It's worth noting that in most funeral services the celebrant/vicar etc. will speak through the biographical element of their life story. You want to liaise with them to ensure that you're not repeating the same things.
Find the building blocks
Before you start writing, it's good to organize everything that you plan on writing. This includes choosing the stories and also knowing how long you have to talk. The celebrant/vicar etc. and the funeral director will let you know of the timescale. It will likely be between 5 – 15 minutes.
It can be hard to know what you should be talking about so here are a few good prompts:
- What were her values?
- What memories did she leave behind?
- How did she overcome adversity?
- How important her family were?
You also want to decide what tone to deliver the eulogy in. If they were full of life and outgoing then the eulogy can be upbeat and perhaps even humorous. If you had a difficult relationship or they passed away in desperate circumstances then it will be more somber.
Don't be afraid to tell a joke. If you've ever been to a wake then you'll know that many jokes and funny memories will be shared. A bit of light relief is always welcome at a funeral. You may fear public speaking but you'll never have an easier audience than during a funeral.
Once you have all these ideas, it's good to have a basic outline of what you want to say.
If you're struggling to find the perfect words, just write away. Get your thoughts down and you'll find that the words will eventually flow. Don't worry too much at this stage as you can edit, proofread and read through it later.
You want to start by introducing yourself and how you relate to the deceased. Following this, it's customary to thank those who have attended. You can then talk about how much your mother meant to you and an overview of the type of person they were.
The stories are the next part and you can link these by talking about what the story showed about the person or why it's such a special memory. If you're struggling with writing your eulogy then it's a good idea to start with the stories.
The end is often the most difficult part. It's good to add something personal such as a song lyric, a poem or religious text. You can always simply just say "goodbye" and tell her how much you love her.
Delivering the eulogy
To ensure delivering the eulogy is as easy as possible, you want to edit, proofread and practice it. Do this until you are fully confident in delivery. It's always a good idea to ask someone else to read it through to double-check it makes sense.
Trying to prevent yourself from crying or your voice cracking is difficult and you want to take some of the emotion out of it. How do you do that? Well reading it out loud beforehand will help as hearing the words the first time will be the most difficult. It makes it even easier if you read it out to close family members as you don't have to worry about their reaction at the funeral.
Rehearsals will allow you to be more in control. If you do need to take a moment, then you'll easily be able to pick up where you left off.
If you are worried about breaking down then ask a friend or more distant relative to act as a backup for you. Remember that at a funeral people will always be sympathetic and understanding. If you speak from the heart you can't go wrong.
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