Few things in life are harder than saying a few things (eulogy) at a friends funeral or celebration of life.
As we get in our 60s, 70s and over, there seems to be more occasions where we feel compelled to say a few words about a friend or relative at these events.
It pays to put some time into writing down some memories about the person from your personal experiences with them. You knew them well, so it won’t be hard to remember many things you might like to share. You will be sharing them with others who also knew the person well.
Some things to share would be how long you knew the person and what your relationship was. Of course, you want to share positive things about the person and to be honest and not exaggerate.
Share personal stories and some light hearted moments as well. It is not a summary of the person’s life, or even your history with them. Share little things the person used to say or do. Asking your spouse or a friend who will not be speaking for input is a good idea. Remember, it’s not about you.
Write down what you plan to say and practice saying it a few times. It will be hard to keep your compose and that is completely alright and normal. Taking a short pause can help, if you feel you are loosing it.
Other people probably will be speaking also, so plan to keep your talk rather short, say 3 to 5 minutes. It may take longer to deliver than you planned, so that is a good reason to plan to keep it short. Be brief as possible, do not go too long.
I have been to two “Celebration of Life” events recently and I personally like that format much better than the traditional funeral. They are a little more informal and more people seem to share stories about the time they spent with, laughed with and life experiences with the person who died. But even in a less formal setting, when you get up to say a few words to the group, it will still be hard and you will need to prepare.
By getting up and saying a few words, you will be sharing with other friends and relatives of the deceased and they will appreciate it. Sometimes you feel you just owe it to the person who died, to say how you enjoyed knowing them and paying a tribute to their life.