Any advice on giving a Eulogy?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Paul_Scott, Sep 17, 2006.

  1. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    My grandmother passed away a few days ago and I think I'll be the one giving the eulogy at the service. I've been half planning and half dreading it for years now, but now that its actually upon me, I'm in a slightly controlled panic and hope to solicit some advice from the fine folks here.

    I want to try to keep it brief (before I crack up)
    and I think/feel that it should be somewhat personal, yet my aunt is piqued and dreading that I will get long winded and editorialize too much (and anyone who knows my posts in the film forums should be able symapathize with her concern).
    But at the same time, I'm looking over their first draft and all I see are bland, greeting card sentiments...I know they're heartfelt but they also seem so generic- and that to me would be the biggest sin in this situation.

    well, that's my dilemna.
    I'm going to try do do some searches for eulogies tonight and see if that will help- but a bigger help would be to hear from people who've done it themselves. I would greatly appreciate somebodys wise counsel right about now.


    thanks
     
  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Paul:

    Sorry for your loss.

    Don't know how wise this counsel is...but I've spoken at a few funerals/memorials and find that, as is so often the case in life, less is more. The briefer the better.

    There are many different approaches. You can research appropriate scripture that deals with the various emotions people have about death to try and help them deal with the situation. If your particular charge is to tell personal anecdotes...I would suggest to develop a particular theme and stick with it--staying with that idea of less is more. You might sprinkle in some humor. Some might think there is no place for humor at a funeral...but that is not necessarily correct. It all depends upon the temperament of the deceased and the survivors. (Don't we all want to be remembered in a positive, happy light?)

    There is just no hard-and-fast rule of thumb, it seems to me. But the last thing most people want in this situation is to hear someone go on at length, get repetitious, and still keep going ("when is he/she ever going to stop already!!!")

    If your aunt is worried you might editorialize, don't. Your job is not to pass judgment on your grandmother, but to give a tribute to the deceased. The best way for anyone to pull that off is to tell a few personal stories. If you don't have any, go generic and start looking up scriptures/platitudes that will work and make the family happy. Or, interview some family members for any stories they might have about your grandmother. You'll probably be surprised at some of the cool stories they tell! You might even learn some more about your grandmother than you already knew...which is a nice side benefit...but would also make your job with the eulogy that much easier.

    I hope some of that might be of some help to you. Best of luck.
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    keep it personal...recollections...what she passed on to you and others. the hell with what other people say, it's your words.
     
  4. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Well, definitely not stand-up material, but eulogies are a celebration of life...life is about being happy and smiling. Humor (done correctly) is prefectly acceptable when celbrating the life of someone.
     
  5. Hugh Jackes

    Hugh Jackes Supporting Actor

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    Please accept my prodoundest sympathies.

    If your grandmother was one of those people who made people laugh, then a humorous anedcote is practically called for.
     
  6. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    I would suggest possibly a brief timeline of her life... born on, yada yada, died on. Touch on important dates and events. Talk to family members who knew her closely and ask for antecdotes about her (this is where some of the humor can enter) to throw into the mix. Basically a 'remember when' type speech.
     
  7. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    well, I just wanted you guys to know that I read what you wrote and appreciated the various perspectives (and the condolences) and they did help - a lot.
    The service was this morning and it went pretty well.
    After originally drafting a 7 or 8 paragraph speech (timed out about 5 minutes or so), I got cold feet the night before and decided to tell the Priest first thing in the morning we would forego the eulogy and I would just alternate a gospel reading with my aunt.
    I woke up about midnight, and not being able to sleep went out to work on a project I was in the middle of out in the garage. I guess being releaxed and focused on something else, presented an opportunity for my grandmothers spirit to play inside my subconscious and 'nudge' me in the right direction. I gradually got the inspiration for an entirely different approach, and was able to draft something quickly that was much shorter (2 very short paragraphs basically), and looking back, substantially more appropriate.
    It seemed to go over well.

    thanks again for the advice and the sentiments. Both very much appreciated!
     
  8. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

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    I gave the eulogy for my brother about 11 years ago and I think the most important thing is to match the tone of the eulogy to the personality of the deceased. Don't inject humor if the person was very serious by nature and, conversely, if the deceased was the life of the party, don't be a downer.
     

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