Eulogy and Ceremony

Most funerals, whether religious or non religious, share some common elements

Music

There is no other language that speaks so readily about the beauty of life and the sadness of farewells as music. Music resonates with our deepest human emotions and is an important part of any funeral service. Everyone has a favourite piece of music.

Readings

Inspirational texts help give context and meaning to the human condition, life and death. 

Eulogy or life story

This is where you talk about the essence of a person, their life story and what made them tick. This can be done by a single person, but more often these days it is a collection of stories delivered by various people. One person may choose to concentrate on the early years and family influences, another might speak about hobbies and passions, another might describe a funny incident and focus more on personality traits. Much has been written about what makes a good eulogy, but there really are no rules. Some people feel more comfortable with a chronological sequence of events to describe a life others will be happier with a collection of anecdotes. 

Here are some tips that will help:  

  1. If the eulogy is a collaborative effort make sure you compare notes with other contributers so there is a flow and you're not repeating each other.
  2. Remember you are writing for the spoken word, so read it a loud and write it as you'd say it.
  3. Most people are more attuned to stories than dates and times, stories have meaning and connect people.   
  4. Keep it interesting and be descriptive.
  5. Explain the essence of the person and how they touched other people's lives.
  6. Remember special traits, quirks, the unique bits.

Celebrants are often asked to write a eulogy on behalf of a bereaved partner or loved one. Drawing a portrait of another person's life using the words and stories of those who knew them best is an absolute privilege and is what Telling Moments is about. 

Tokens and Symbols

Rich with metaphor and meaning, tokens and symbols can be powerful ways of expressing your feelings without using words. A common practice is to place items of significance on or around the coffin. It might be an old cricket bat because that was the sport they loved, shells because they lived near the sea, pictures, paintings - the possibilities are as many and varied as the lives of the people we celebrate! The placement of tokens is often designed as a specific event within a funeral service and a unique way of honouring the deceased.

Reflection

A quiet time of contemplation when we consider the life of the deceased and the meaning of life and death for each of us. This is often accompanied by music and a visual tribute.

Tributes

Really whatever you bring as a gift or acknowledgement, you may choose to play a piece of music during the service, perform a dance or read a poem you've written, it could be a floral tribute from your garden. Children are particularly good with tributes, most will happily draw a picture or make a card.