How to Write a Killer Eulogy
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When someone first asks you to write a eulogy, two things immediately go through your head. On one hand, the deceased must have had an (unrealistically) high opinion of you and would be extremely disappointed if he weren’t dead. On the other hand, it is possible that simply no one else wanted to make a eulogy because the dead guy was a vicious old bastard that everyone secretly hated. Either way, you’re stuck with it, because it is simply an offer you can’t refuse. So, what can you do? Well, you could get out there and give everyone the best eulogy they’ve ever heard. Use this opportunity to distinguish yourself, rise above the circumstances and show just how compassionate, eloquent and, in contrast, alive you really are. This simple, but undoubtedly awesome guide will help you on your way to eulogy stardom. Let’s begin.
The first thing you need to decide on as you start your farewell speech is the tone. Conventions say that you should be sad, somber and serious when delivering eulogies, but you don’t want to bore people to death, do you? A lot of other people (dare we say guests) will be sad already, so why add to the general sorrow? Instead, you could opt for a somewhat lighter approach. Start your eulogy with a joke to break the tension and go from there. Like any good stand-up comedian will tell you (one could call this lie-down comedy?) it’s all about your audience and their reactions. If they start to gasp at your jokes to the point that you can clearly see their uvula, it might be time to change your approach. Work the audience and use some observational humor.
“So, Uncle Dave, how’s it going? You seem a bit pale, but don’t worry. I’ve got a perfect speech in store for you.”
Of course, you might think that introduction comes first, but it doesn’t (trust us, we’re the experts here). Before you introduce yourself, you have to break the in some way, loosen people up. You wouldn’t want anyone to start crying in the middle of your introduction. It ruins your presentation. So, as we’ve mentioned before – start with a joke or some light conversation. After you’ve made people laugh and stopped the widow from sobbing, you can go ahead and introduce yourself as freely as you can. The truth is that no one will question a guy giving a eulogy, so keep that in mind when discussing your numerous degrees or all those times you’ve saved kittens from a burning building. Yes, you might get an odd look here and there, but it’s the majority that counts. It is all just to make a good first impression. To be frank, people don’t even remember eulogies at all.
A Word about the Deceased
Now, even though we hate to admit it, eulogies have a tendency to be deceased-centered, so you will have to take some time to say a word or two about them as well. A lot of people will tell you that you should only speak the best about the dead, but why would you do that if they were, for example, utter bastards? Does death absolve them of their sins? No, it doesn’t. So, what can you do? You can actually use the sandwich method to get all the information across and still remain both polite and honest. Basically, the idea is to start with something good, say Dave (yeah, our favorite generic name) really loved sandwiches. They were his passion. He would munch through one like there’s no tomorrow. Then comes the bad thing. We all remember how much he loved to steal. Whenever we came to his place, we would all be relieved of a couple of dollars by his skillful and light hand. Then you finish it off with something positive again. And who could forget his joyful dog, Buddy? He will be missed. No, really, has anyone seen Buddy? We don’t know where he is. Anyone?
A Touch of Philosophy
At the end, what everyone expects of you at a eulogy is to reflect on some philosophical concept related to life, death or perhaps a theme of your choice. The content of what you’re saying doesn’t matter as much as your pose, hand gestures and a blank look into the distance, possibly with a solitary tear on your cheek if you think you can pull it off. This performance will show everyone that you really cared about the deceased, or that you’re such an outstanding eulogist that they’re bound to hire you in the future. If you feel like you’re not getting through to your audience, it’s time for drastic measures. Move closer to the casket and, with a few swift and chaotic moves, punch it all the while screaming “Why, Dave? Why did you have to leave us? Nothing will ever be the same!” Then simply grab onto it until someone comes and forces you out. This emotional outburst will give people a lot to talk about, so you’re also contributing to the event’s socialization.
So, that’s about all you need to know about giving a perfect eulogy that people will remember for years to come. Feel free to share your greatest eulogy stories in the comment section below.