Tributes & Video Biographies
Sharing Life Stories, Connecting Generations, Preserving Legacies

Eulogy – A Way To Remember and Celebrate Someone


Flickr photo: Ben Ward In Hove

Because I am in the business of helping people create Legacy video biographies and tribute videos, people often want to share eulogies they have written for others. Yesterday a friend of mine sent me one that she had written for her mother, who passed away earlier this year. It was a three page Word document that had me in tears. Not because of any sadness for this woman’s passing but for the joy of having a daughter who knew her so well that she could so beautifully capture the essence of who she was in the world.

A eulogy is an important part of our social custom of acknowledging and memorializing the recently deceased. Most are recited as part of the funeral service and usually by a relative or close family friend. They provide a time to express love, share anecdotes and provide a portrait of who that person was in the world, particularly to the person who writes them. My friend’s eulogy to her mother told of how she touched not only her daughter, community and family, but shared how she grew up, met her husband, her work career and her hobbies. I never met my friend’s mother, but I certainly got a profound sense of who she was after reading this. Another friend of mine’s father recently passed, and he too shared the eulogy he wrote with me. It gave me a glimpse of a warm funny man who adored his family. I have read many eulogies over the past few years and while they are all essentially similar in how they acknowledge, each provides a glimpse into the life of someone that is now gone. I still cherish the eulogy that my father wrote on the passing of his mother, and find myself reading it from time to time, as it helps me reconnect with many memories of my grandmother.

My friend Pam Vetter is a Funeral Celebrant in Los Angeles. She helps people create the perfect eulogy by working with the family to design the ceremony, write the eulogy and even deliver it if need be. When I first met her several years ago, I had no idea that there was a profession such as this. But why wouldn’t there be? A funeral is a significant occasion and often one’s last association with that person’s life.

I guess that brings up the question of what we would want people to say about us and do we want to have a hand in crafting a message to share with others after we’re gone. I’ve heard some interesting stories about that as well. There are online services such as The Great Goodbye that will send emails after you’ve died. You can send on a good-bye note as well as information about your digital accounts with Legacy Locker. Will these online sites still be around when you go? Possibly not. One that was recommended earlier this year in a blog is already eliciting a 404 Page not found message.

There are some great resources online to give you assistance in writing a eulogy. Eulogy Speech, About.com’s How to Write a Eulogy, and WikiHow.

I recently watched a screening of a documentary about Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank, famous for her diary documenting her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II. Her father shares how surprised he was after reading the diary. He thought he knew Anne well yet the thoughts and experiences she chronicled in her diary were not the daughter he knew.

I think that ultimately the goal of doing the work that I do crafting video biographies and tributes, is the desire to make sure that people are known after they are gone. And that there is someone left who knows them so well, that they can write a eulogy that shares that person in a way that moves and inspires others.

Stefani Twyford is a personal historian and video biographer sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.

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