The eulogy you deliver for a loved one can be a very important moment in the healing process. Many people feel they don’t have the ability to keep their composure while speaking in front of family and friends. I am writing to let you know it is possible to deliver a meaningful tribute while keeping your composure.
Practice does not always make perfect, but it does make you better. Practicing your eulogy in front of a trusted friend or family member, a mirror, or even just to yourself can make all the difference when it comes to nerves.
Reading it aloud, over and over, will help you find your weak points and smooth out the places in the eulogy where you are more likely to become emotional.
Lean on a support person
Choose a good friend or family member to sit close to you during the service, and maybe even accompany you to the microphone to support you while you deliver your tribute. If you feel yourself arriving at a breaking point at any time while speaking, look to this person, take a deep breath, and make eye contact with them… this can bring you a bit of comfort when the emotions grow.
I, for one, cannot do anything on an empty stomach—especially while under the emotional stress of giving a eulogy at a funeral.
Even though you may not feel up to eating, a small, healthy snack would do the trick. Sustenance will provide you with the energy you need to get through not only your eulogy but the entire service.
Have a water bottle with you when you get up to speak. A sip every now and then help keep your voice clear and be a refresher if you feel the emotions beginning to rise.
When placed under stress, the body sometimes forgets to breathe properly. If you know that you are going to be nervous while speaking, take a few deep breaths just beforehand. This will help to clear your mind and keep you from speaking too fast.
Try to take a few quick deep breaths during your eulogy. If you get to a point where you feel like crying, this can be refreshing enough to keep tears at bay.
The eulogy is there to….
What I mean is, remember why you are giving the eulogy. It’s to honor the life and legacy of your loved one. Remember that they had many joyful moments in their life. Making it a point to highlight these happy times in your eulogy can help you to get through it more easily.
Keep things funny, if appropriate.
What is often called the best medicine? Laughter! Of course, whether it is appropriate to include humor in your eulogy will largely depend on your audience and who your loved one was and how they passed.
Do you have a funny memory of your loved one you want to share? Did something hilarious happen to them, that no one ever let them live down?
Stories like these will serve to lighten the moods of your listeners. It will also keep you feeling more content as you speak.
To sum things up, remember Practice. Have your support person ready to go with a copy of your eulogy. Eat something nutritional before you speak. Take deep breaths. Keep in mind why you are giving the eulogy. And throw in some humor if you can.
Ultimately, don’t worry about it. Your emotions are a normal, healthy part of your grief. People will understand.