Eulogies Today: How a Tradition Adapts and Heals

Eulogies are a way to honor the dead and respect them for who they are, as human beings who lived and died, who made mistakes and brought happiness to others. They are the ways people chose to remember their loved ones. They are stories that encapsulate the person’s existence in the history of humankind and immortalize them in a small but poignant and sincere way.

Across different cultures, eulogies are prioritized by the funeral service director. In London, for instance, the bells toll when someone dies. Eulogies can take a significant or brief part of the service, depending on the family or the deceased’s directions. Some prefer to remember their loved ones through silence, and that’s okay. But most of the time, humans crave for communication, for someone to lean on in such a difficult time.

Here’s what else you need to remember about eulogies:

Start from the simple

Funeral

Eulogies are like snapshots. They are pieces of a person’s lives that best represent them as a whole. It is up to the people around them to fill those blanks between the snapshots with their imagination or own memories. Funny anecdotes can relieve the tension and remember the deceased in a happier, though still respectful, matter.

Achievements despite struggles are an excellent way to inspire those they left behind, especially the ones tasked to continue where they left off. Their other positive traits, like their acts of kindness and compassion, are usually mentioned in eulogies. Still, they can be evened out with quirks and other less palatable qualities, given that the tribute does not become an opportunity for you to speak badly of a deceased loved one.

Stay creative but real

Eulogies can also be creative and high-tech, with actual pictures and video clips to match. If you are not comfortable speaking, maybe it will be better to read from a page or create a brief video essay. This is just as good as a spoken or spontaneous eulogy, and it will drive people to remember things. You can read their last messages, tweets, or Facebook posts. You can even choose to remember a loved one through their favorite poem, a passage from their favorite book, or their favorite Bible verse or quote.

Another thing you can do is sing their favorite song, as long as it’s appropriate for the funeral service. This means that, if your deceased loved one is a proud Madonna fan and everybody knows it, you must select the most appropriate song to sing instead of creating a scandalous or disrespectful performance by belting out the likes of “Material Girl.” This way, you not only commemorate the deceased but also remember what they were like.

Eulogies have existed since time immemorial, from the chants of ancient Greeks to the dead, medieval masses, and hagiographies of saints to the present digital age of commemorative videos. You can opt for a traditional eulogy, experiment with new technology, or do a combination of both, as long as it helps the remaining loved ones heal from the event, and the deceased is respectfully remembered.

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