Funerals are often remembered on account of the words that are spoken within the frame of a personal recollection. A Eulogy is a recount of someone's life, as told by friends and family. It need not be long but contain enough references to be substantive to the listener. More than one person can stand in front of a congregation to read it out.
Reading out a Eulogy is probably the best way of saying Goodbye, by heralding achievements and moments in a person's life that should be celebrated for all time. How do you choose a person to read the Eulogy? It could be a friend or a family member, that is confident enough to read it out aloud. It is an honour to be chosen. The same person that reads a Eulogy does not necessarily needs to be the person who researches or writes one. But it can help if it is.
You cannot truly assemble a Eulogy without having a little detail about that person's life. The reason for this prose is to get across factual accounts about their personality, character and the qualities that made them who they were. This is recounted by way of tales and stories that either people can imagine or recall or compare to the situation they know all too well.
This is also a time to recount happy times and harsh times that the person came through. It is not however an opportunity to brig up bad memories that might put the person in a bad light. Any other events in their life can be judged at the appropriate time. This should be a light hearted focus on happier moments that a congregation of family and friends can leave with, feeling good about the person and themselves.
In the week since passing to the funeral itself, leaving yourself at least 24 to 36 to write the final piece you will need to contact family and friends. We would suggest you split the task wherever possible. Appointing someone as a contact in each branch of the family, ensuring they ask questions on your behalf. The same with a current work place or a club or group. You can of course spend all the time asking people questions about the person should you wish.
What type of questions should you be asking, what information do you need? This of a Eulogy as a biography but in miniature form. You are seeking happy memories, anecdotes, stories which will show who the person was to others around them. The first time they met, how courageous, humorous or dedicated to a cause. Research options aside from asking people would be photo albums, online entries and galleries.
It's not good to be repetitive when you have so little time to recount the best of all of someone's character traits. To ensure you maximise the different accounts from people, use diagrams and charts to separate and collate information. A few A4 sheets of paper with info written down into sections and linked, according to date and timeline, locations, whether family or friend or work related and so on.
As the info starts to build up and stories, anecdotes and pictures are added you will start to see the basis of the Eulogy forming in your mind. Parts that will create a laugh, another aspect a tear and job people's memories into remembering the person they knew best. People will hear the same words but they will each take something different from hearing it.
The topics of each content can be assembled from birth to their youth, to marriage and family. Starting with their place of birth, the family itself, then through to childhood, nicknames, their personality beginning to form. To becoming an adult, work life, relationships that matter, military service and how they benefited from a good education or beat the system and went on to achieve more.
A person often dedicates their life to a cause or fandom so brining that into play will be a good idea. as well as acknowledging certain family and friends in the congregation who provided you with the anecdote or tail. Awards, rewards, special dispersions, public service, commendations and heroics, sporting achievements, these can all add colour to describe someone's life.
This is not a Best Man's Speech for a Wedding, obviously. That doesn't mean you can't make people laugh however. It is up to you to judge how receptive those at the funeral service will be to your sense of humour. You can set the tone and be serious throughout or split half way through an offer a smile. Happy anecdotes, poignant memories of struggles with a happy endings, even jokes can be welcomed.
People tend to stick to an order that is recognised, childhood to more senior years, but you can come up with a personalised order if it makes sense. Building on that character and personality in the best way possible. There isn't a perfect way of delivering a Eulogy or a specific order. Simply ensure you rehearse the reading of a Eulogy, perhaps ask a friend to listen so it can be adapted and pass to a family friend to ensure corrections are made if necessary. When up at the podium, clear your throat, speak up, be clear and concise, look up and speak to those in front of you.