Writing a funeral speech, or eulogy, for your father can be a heartbreaking experience. It is completely normal to feel sad and nervous when faced with this very personal task, so you must be very careful during the writing process. You can start by brainstorming. Think about the memories of your father that you treasure the most and how they might fit into the speech. From there you can start writing. Try to express how much he meant to you and how grateful you are for his presence in your life. Considering that giving the speech can be emotionally draining, it's a good idea to practice a little beforehand to make sure you can do it in public.
Part 1 of 3: Prepare an outline
Step 1. Remember that this is a funeral speech or eulogy and not an obituary
These are different: an obituary is a summary of the data of a person's life. It focuses on your accomplishments, your professional career, your birthplace, your surviving family members, and more. On the other hand, funeral speeches are intended to capture the essence of a person.
- Obituaries contain facts and are often less sentimental. Funeral speeches focus on a person's story, what their life meant to others, and to the speaker.
- Avoid writing an endless list of the person's accomplishments and data. It is best to focus on your stories and the memories that speak of your character.
Step 2. Gather some ideas
Before you start writing, it's a good idea to brainstorm ideas to speed up your mind. Spend some time writing down memories and stories, as well as other things you remember about your father's character. This can help you create the structure of your speech.
- To start, write down all the ideas you can think of regarding your father. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of your father? What is your most important memory of him? What words would you use to describe it?
- Also, think about the material things you associate with it. What music reminds you of your father? What movies, TV shows, foods, sounds and smells? It's a good idea to surround yourself with this as you write, as it could evoke valuable memories that you can use in your speech.
Step 3. Establish a general theme
Such a speech should be concise and purposeful. It is not good for you to talk about different memories that do not have a connection to each other. As you brainstorm, try to find a theme that encompasses everything. What central theme or message links all the memories?
- You don't need to think deeply or examine the subject of death. It's okay to admit that death is a terrible and confusing thing. Rather, it talks about your life purpose. Who was your father and what will the world be like now that he is gone?
- You can use subjective or vague concepts as a theme. Maybe your father was a lawyer who worked in civil law. You can focus on their generosity, community service, and helping others. Or maybe he was an entrepreneur who built his fortune from scratch. So the theme may be the fruits of tenacity, hard work and dedication.
- You can also talk about what you learned from him. What is the most valuable lesson he gave you? How do you apply it to your life?
Step 4. Decide how you are going to organize the speech
There are many ways to do it. The method you use will depend on the topic, as well as the information you include. As you work on the outline, discover the best way to organize it.
- You can organize the information in chronological order. This can be useful if you are going to use anecdotes from his youth and adult life. So if your stories and memories happened at different times, consider using chronological order.
- You can also group similar ideas together. If you are going to mention several characteristics of your father demonstrated in different moments and memories, organize them by ideas. For example, if you are going to mention his success as an entrepreneur and that it is due to his determination, work ethic and skill, you can take each of his qualities and accompany it with memories or anecdotes.
Part 2 of 3: Write the speech
Step 1. Introduce yourself first
It may seem strange to you, since most likely many of the people already know you, but this is something that is customary to do at the beginning of the funeral speech. Tell the attendees who you are and what your relationship is with the deceased.
- This may be the simplest part of the speech. You just have to say who you are and what your relationship with your father was like. So people will trust you.
- For example, you can start like this: “My name is Jane Sherman. Today we met to say goodbye to my father, Glenn. I am an only child, so I always had a close relationship with my father. We talked almost daily, even after I moved into my own home. "
Step 2. Set the tone
This is important for the funeral speech. The idea is to maintain the tone throughout the text. Think about the best way to get your message across to everyone.
- It's a good idea to talk with your family and your service manager about this. Ideally, keep the same tone throughout the service. For example, if there is a religious ceremony, you may want to adopt a somber and respectful tone.
- However, the service does not need to limit the tone. First of all, it should reflect who your father was. If he was a jovial person, joking around all the time, you can be a little more casual. See this speech as a celebration of his life rather than the mourning of his death.
Step 3. Include a story
Most funeral speeches include at least one story about the deceased. Start with something that grabs their attention. Choose one that represents your father as a person. The idea is that it takes you to the general topic of the speech.
- For example, if your speech talks about how he could find the funny side of situations, despite having had a difficult life, choose an anecdote about his ability to alleviate problems, despite the circumstances.
- In the event that he died of cancer, you can talk about how he coped with the diagnosis of the tumor. It starts something like this: “When my father found out I had cancer, he made a lot of jokes about possible treatments. I remember him telling me 'I think I prefer radiation.' I thought maybe it was because he offered a better chance of recovery, but when I asked him why he replied: 'Who knows? Maybe all the radiation will make me a superhero. It could be like Spider-Man. '
Step 4. Focus on the details
In addition to capturing the essence of your father in a general way, it is a good idea to go into detail. This way, your audience will have little memories of him to help them cope with the loss.
- Sensory details can help. Maybe your dad loved being outdoors and always smelled of dirt. Or maybe she loved red and always wore a red garment or accessory.
- Include as many details as you can remember. For example, you can write something like this: “I remember my dad always singing Johnny Cash songs; he had the deep voice of a baritone. On Sunday mornings when I woke up I heard him sing 'I walk the line' from the basement and enjoyed the aroma of fresh coffee that reached my room. "
Step 5. Take advantage of all the resources you have
If you can't find the words to express something, use other sources. You have the option of using a reference or quote to explain something about your father.
- If your father was a religious person, you could use passages from the Bible. There you can find many reflections on life and death, so it is a good source.
- You can also use books, movies, songs, and TV shows that your father loved. For example, if he was a huge Robert Frost fan, you can include a line from a poem.
Step 6. Lighten the mood
The funeral speech should not be completely gloomy. It is better to make it a little more enjoyable. If it gets too serious, it may seem like you are trying to dramatize the death, which could give it a sentimental or preachy tone at the time. Choose specific spaces in the text where you can talk about their flaws. This will provide a complete picture of your father to attendees.
- Think of something funny that you can share about your father. Did you like to argue? It includes a funny story about a time when he was left fighting over the account even after everyone had let the situation go. You could say something like this: “Despite his sense of humor, he was not a perfect person. He could be too critical and sometimes he liked to counter. I remember once, during family vacations, when we went to a restaurant…”.
- A story that illustrates a person's flaws should be light. The idea is not to make it sound like you are angry at the deceased, as it might seem disrespectful. For example, you shouldn't talk about an incredibly serious fight you had just to show that you liked arguing. Nobody will find it funny. Instead, focus on trivial situations that make your audience laugh.
Step 7. Add a few sentences as a conclusion
As you near the end of the speech, include a few closing sentences that round out the general idea. This is the time to touch on the main theme. What did you want to communicate through the speech? What do you want people to remember about your father?
- Gather some ideas that summarize who your father is. Tell the attendees directly what you want to communicate. For example, you could say something like this: “What I learned from my father is that life is short. At times, it can be cruel. But the best way to deal with it is with a smile and the ability to appreciate short moments of joy no matter the circumstances. "
- Also, it is good to include a thank you to the attendees for their time. Briefly mention something like, “I appreciate you coming to remember my father, Glenn Sherman, and giving me the opportunity to tell you a little more about him. I know he would have been honored to know how many people really cared about him. "
Part 3 of 3: Complete and Give the Speech
Step 1. Make the final arrangements and add the missing information
Once you finish writing the draft of the speech, print it out and read it. As you review it, look for places where you can expand and elaborate as necessary.
- Evaluate if what you wrote makes sense. Do the stories help illustrate the theme? Do you think something is missing? Did you miss a special story or could you have extended in some aspect of your father's personality? Is there any part that doesn't fit?
- Add the information your speech needs. If you think you can extend the topic, then go for it. You can also remove any part that does not fit well. Remember to take time into consideration. Generally, a funeral speech lasts between 5 and 7 minutes.
Step 2. Memorize part of the speech
When giving a speech like this, it's a good idea to know part of the text by heart. This way, you won't have a problem expressing yourself. You don't need to know all the content. It is also a good idea to have some notes with you in case your nerves or emotions distract you from speaking.
- If you want to memorize the whole text, work with short parts. It can be overwhelming trying to remember everything at once.
- It's a good idea to keep notes with little reminders. This way you will keep the thread of the topic as you give the speech.
Step 3. Practice the speech regularly
Remember to practice several times in the days leading up to the funeral. Read the text aloud to yourself or in front of the mirror. Focus on the moments where you don't have a lot of confidence and practice them more.
You can also ask a friend or family member to listen to you while you practice. Someone else can give you an opinion on how to improve your speech
Step 4. Stay emotionally firm
Writing a funeral speech is never easy, and it can be even more difficult if it's about your father. As you progress, try to keep your emotions in check.
- Ask for help. The relationships you have with other people are important during the grieving process. Trust your friends and family in your weak moments.
- Try to work on your sense of identity. Losing a parent can make you feel lost and without guidance. Try to think about who you are without your father and how you can move on.
- Live in the present. Remember that your life goes on. Be grateful for what you have and for every day of life. Make the most of every moment despite your loss.
- Make eye contact with the mourners as you deliver the speech. This way you will be able to establish a better connection with the public than if you only read the paper.
- Keep the duration between 5 and 10 minutes. Not that there is a limitation, but it may be difficult to talk about the parent you just lost for more than 10 minutes.