What is the meaning of "eulogy?"
A "eulogy" is simply a speech that is delivered at a funeral service or memorial service to pay tribute to someone who recently passed away.
If you have been asked to give a eulogy, you may be wondering what is expected of you. Here are the five things that a eulogy can accomplish.
Goal 1: Honor the deceased's virtues and character
Your primary goal with your eulogy is to pay tribute to the person who has passed away. This involves honoring the virtues and character of the person.
Goal 2: Bring comfort to those who are grieving
Eulogies are usually delivered within a few days of a person passing away. The folks in the audience are often still in shock, and are grieving for the person who has died. Emotions are raw. The main emotion in the room is grief. One goal of a eulogy is to bring comfort to those who are grieving. This is especially true when the person who died has left behind young children, or when the person died suddenly or unexpectedly.
Goal 3: Help family and friends say goodbye
The funeral is usually the last day when the deceased person is still physically present. A casket can be touched, cried over and carried to the grave site. But once the casket is lowered into the ground and covered with earth, the deceased person is gone and out of sight. The eulogy is a final chance for the eulogist and everyone else in the room to say goodbye to their loved one.
Goal 4: Help to bring closure
Moving on after the death of a loved one is difficult, and takes time. That process begins when the person grieving realizes that a stage of life has ended and another stage has begun. The eulogy is an opportunity for grieving family and friends to get closure.
Goal 5: Put the person's life into perspective
An optional goal of a eulogy is to put the life of the deceased into perspective for those people who are gathered at the funeral or memorial service. The people in the audience will know the deceased person in many ways. In the audience will be people who knew the departed person as a grandparent, a parent, a spouse, a sibling, perhaps even as a child.
Others will have known the deceased as an aunt or uncle, as a colleague, as a neighbour, and so on. You have the opportunity when giving your eulogy to set the person's life into a larger context, to show the meaning that the person had for everyone present, and beyond.
For example, at my father's funeral, I, my sister and my brother each delivered a eulogy in praise of my father. Each of our eulogies, as you can expect, was intensely personal. The minister who officiated at the funeral, on the other hand, delivered a eulogy that set my father's life into a historical context.
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