Writing and delivering a eulogy is a noble gesture that is worthy of thought and effort. It is an opportunity to make a contribution to a memorial service, a contribution that your friends and family will remember for a long time.
Writing a eulogy, a tribute, a letter, or keeping a journal represents another equally valuable opportunity for you. The ability to use the writing process as a therapeutic tool to help you deal with your grief. The power of writing is undeniable and there is no better time than now for you to discover and take advantage of this.
What a eulogy should accomplish
There are two common misconceptions about the purposes of a eulogy. Some people think: 1) it should be an objective summation of the deceased's life; or 2) it should speak for everyone who is present at the memorial service. Both of these assumptions are unrealistic.
A eulogy is much more simple. It should convey the feelings and experiences of the person giving the eulogy. The most touching and meaningful eulogies are written from a subjective point of view and from the heart. So don't feel compelled to write your loved one's life story. Instead, tell your story.
Clearly, the burden of the eulogy does not have to be yours completely. If you have the time, ask friends or relatives for their recollections and stories. In a eulogy, it is perfectly acceptable to say, for example, "I was talking to Uncle Lenny about Ron; he reminded me of the time Ron came to our Thanksgiving dinner with half of his face clean-shaven and the other half bearded. It was Ron's funny way of showing that he had mixed feelings about shaving off his beard."
Honesty is very important. In most cases, there will be a lot of positive qualities to talk about. Once in a while, however, there is someone with more negative traits than positive qualities. If that is the case, remember, you don't have to say everything. Just be honest about the positive qualities and everyone will appreciate the eulogy.
Remember, you do not have to write a perfect eulogy. Whatever you write and deliver will be appreciated by the people at the funeral. If you are inclined to be a perfectionist, lower your expectations and just do what you can given the short time frame for preparation and your emotional state.