The art of eulogy writing.

When my father passed away a few months ago, I was faced with the task of delivering the eulogy at his funeral. I had never done a eulogy before and started looking around online for some pointers as I was clueless as to where to start. Even after all the information I found, I was still clueless.

Then my luck changed one day when my mother asked me what my eulogy was going to be about. Right away the task seemed a little easier knowing that I could have the eulogy focus on one aspect of my father’s life. Just like when writing posts for this blog, I find it easier when I have a single topic in mind. In fact I approached writing the eulogy as writing a blog post, except I would be reading it out loud in a more somber setting. As for what my eulogy would be about, I decided to focus on my father’s wisdom and his role as a teacher. The words gently started flowing as numerous lessons came to mind and the eulogy finally began to materialize.

At one point I began to wonder if it’s appropriate to add some humor in the eulogy. If the deceased was known for their sense of humor, then by all means emphasize that. In fact my sister’s eulogy focused on my father’s sense of humor that featured a few of his many jokes. There’s nothing wrong with a little laughter during a funeral service. I recall attending a memorial service for a man who happened to be a stand-up comedian, so what better way to honor his memory than having his fellow comedians do their routines for an evening of laughter with room for some tears.

Over the course of the week that followed I continued working on my eulogy, constantly sculpting and polishing it to its finished form. I made sure to express my gratitude for a life well lived, for eulogies tend to be memorable when they speak from the heart. As a result, my eulogy blew everyone away when I delivered it at the funeral, earning me countless compliments on my writing and my delivery. My mother-in-law summed it up best when she asked me, “What planet are you from?”

Unfortunately, a few months later I had to prepare another eulogy when my sister-in-law passed away. This time my wife and I both worked together to write her a parting letter to thank her for a lifetime of memories and good times. I also decided to emphasize the lessons she taught me and didn’t hesitate to work in a little humor as well. That eulogy was also well-received and earned me endless compliments. Even after all that, I’d very much prefer to continue my way as an amateur writer rather than a professional eulogist.

By the way, Simplenote really came in handy for preparing the eulogies. I used the app on my phone to write them and when I was ready to print them I simply logged on my account at the web site from my desktop computer and copied the text to a Word document. Nothing to it.

My grandmother returns.

I had a dream last night in which my grandmother came back to life at her funeral. For some strange reason, I was not there when it happened but heard the news from my mother. She recalled the pastor saying that he had just witnessed a miracle. I remember feeling upset that I had gotten myself all worked up for nothing.

It was great to have my grandmother around again, busier than ever. She helped me pick out which clothes to wear for the day and brought to my parents’ attention anything around the house that needed fixing. She had so much pep and energy that it was hard to believe she was 100 years old. She was far from being the frail patient at the nursing home. This was the Grandma I had always remembered.

After waking up I began to realize that what I had been through was only a dream. I still wanted to believe that my grandmother was alive but from seeing the prayer cards and program books for the wake and burial services I brought home from the funeral, the sad memory of her passing returned. I like to think she came by for a visit and to make sure I was okay. After all, a grandmother’s work is never done.

I’m already looking forward to her next visit. Maybe next time she’ll bring Grandpa.

Thoughts from a funeral.

Earlier this week I attended my grandmother’s funeral. Needless to say it was a very sad occasion. In such situations I tend to seek comforting thoughts from within to ease the flow of my tears. The one thought I found most assuring was knowing that my grandmother still lives, inside me.
I based that thought on the following sequence of events. My grandmother brought forth my mother, and my mother brought forth me. Therefore I’m made up of pieces created by my grandmother, and those pieces still live in me today, along with pieces from my dearly departed grandfathers and my uncle.
No wonder it’s so crowded inside me.