Writing a eulogy can be a daunting task – so make it easier by starting your own living eulogy.
This week, Carole Renshaw shares how a living eulogy – a work of autobiography -transformed a funeral and has made that the standout funeral to date in her experience.
Writing a living eulogy… your own life account
“I’ve been writing and leading funeral services now, for just over 5 years. It’s what I do. It’s what I’m known for here in Staffordshire. But in all of those ceremonies, there’s one particular one that will always stand out for me. It was different and even now, I can still hear and feel the silence in the room that day.
“It was a funeral I led for someone who knew he was dying. He knew he was coming to the end of his life. I also learnt later, that he’d been to one of my services before and had ‘enjoyed’ it.
“This man did something that was quite remarkable. He wrote his own life story, his own eulogy. He chose all of his music too. He simply wanted to take the burden off his family, knowing what was just around the corner for them.
“It was a long eulogy, for a relatively short life. But it was crammed with names, humour and reality.
“He’d focussed on two things; the people who were part of his journey through life and his family. It was written in a way that was just ideal for delivery. But I don’t believe he set out to do it like that. I could tell that he’d just sat down at different times and put pen to paper. His chapters came together easily.
“Well, it’s about time I started telling you my life story!”
“And off I went!
“Caravan holidays in North Wales……the funny French teacher……….pillow fights in Italy……the dreaded redundancies…….the good boss I worked for……”I loved that job!”……….music from the 60s, 70s and 80s…….the £673 coupon win!…………………Tenerife……………….stuck in the ash cloud all inclusive………and on and on it went until I reached his parting lines:
“Looking back on my life, I’ve not done too bad at all. Thank you all for coming. I hope you didn’t fall asleep and I hope you’re ready for a pint now. Enjoy and all the best.”
“This gentleman had used his own funeral to say his goodbyes to everyone. I felt an overwhelming sense of duty in having to get everything spot on for him. I always do for funerals. But this one felt different. You could have heard a pin drop throughout it all.
“And I for one, will never, ever forget this service and what this very brave man did for his family.”
Carole Renshaw, Civil Celebrant, Sincere Moments
Help others writing a eulogy – start your own living eulogy.