The eulogy acknowledges the unique life of the person who died. It affirms the significance of that life for all who shared in it.
Without a eulogy and/or other personalised means of acknowledging a particular life and death, the funeral
often becomes an empty, cookie-cutter formality.
What’s worse, it implies that this unique and precious person’s life story just wasn’t worth gathering for and sharing.
In addition to helping mourners recall the person who died, the eulogy also usually addresses the mourners’ search for meaning.
What did this person’s life mean? What value did it bring to those it touched?
Through the stories that it tells, the eulogy often suggests possible answers to these kinds of existential questions and can help begin to move those in attendance closer to a sense of peace.
At the gathering after the funeral, the eulogy often fosters conversation among those same family members and friends.
It gives them a common lifeline to hold onto as they support one another and give expression to their thoughts and feelings.
Done well, the eulogy can be the most memory-filled moment in the funeral.
Whoever writes the eulogy can be encouraged to gather memories and thoughts from others to include in the remembrance, so the story is as rich and comprehensive as possible.
Instead of a formal eulogy, it’s possible to have funeral attendees stand up one at a time and share a memory
or thought. This often works well for small funerals.
Funeral attendees can also be asked to write down a brief memory on slips of paper given to them as they enter the room. These notes can then be read aloud by the celebrant or family members.