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Writing a Eulogy
Although a eulogy can be mournful, its purpose is not only to speak of the positive qualities of the deceased but also to comfort the bereaved during a time of grief. Eulogies also tend to focus more on good memories and the positive impact while refraining from negativity. According to Merriam-Webster, the first-known use of the word eulogy was in the fifteenth century. In fact, eulogies are not just for funerals. We are told to speak only good of the dead, but a eulogist actually makes a speech in the dead person's honor—or often instead for someone living, who might actually be there in the audience. The most famous eulogies include Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Pericles' funeral oration for the Athenian warriors; but these are only two of the many great eulogies, which continue to be delivered not only at funerals and memorial services but at retirement parties, anniversary parties, and birthday parties. When it comes down to it, life is just a big story.
Eulogies & Personal Tributes
If you've been asked to give a eulogy or funeral speech at a service, you can accept or decline. You may be too upset to do it. Too nervous. Just be honest with the family and explain why you don't want to detract from what's most important: hearing about the life of the person you are honoring. If you accept the task, focus yourself before you begin.
Delivering a eulogy for a friend or family member is a wonderful way to participate in the funeral service. It is an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of the life lived, and to remind survivors of the memories and legacy left behind. Nearly any eulogy, if delivered with love and respect, can be considered a good one, and a funeral audience will be one of the most sympathetic and forgiving audiences you will ever find. A funeral is a very important occasion and those in attendance are very emotionally fragile. Preparing and delivering a eulogy can make those unaccustomed to writing and public speaking very anxious.