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Selecting the Right People to Speak at the Departed's Funeral

Category: 

Grieving Process

Posted On: May 22, 2017

Selecting the Right People to Speak at the Departed's Funeral

Choosing someone to talk at a funeral doesn't seem like a difficult task until you're in the middle of it. At that point, you realize just how crucial it is to choose speakers who loved, respected, and actually knew the deceased. All too often, beloved people are eulogized by clergy members who knew nothing about them. That's not the kind of service you want. Allowing someone who didn't know your loved one to pay tribute to her or him takes the love and personal feelings out of the funeral. It becomes an emotionless ritual that lacks meaning, purpose, and the spirit of the departed. Rather than making that mistake, consider the following criteria for picking out someone special to eulogize your loved one.

Look to the Departed's Loved Ones First

The people who were closest to the deceased are typically chosen to deliver a tribute. Keep in mind, however, that many of them may feel overcome and emotional, and thus they may not feel comfortable standing before the assembled mourners and delivering a speech. Speak openly and honestly to the close relatives and friends of the person who passed. Let them know that they are under no obligation to speak and that if they do, their eulogies can be as long or short as they like.

Seek Out People Who Knew the Departed Well

What that means is that you should talk to people who knew your loved one at various stages of her or his life. Approach family members and friends who were close to the deceased during childhood, adolescence, the teenage years, college, and so on. That makes for a well-rounded series of stories, anecdotes, and memories that can create a fuller, richer picture of the person you are all mourning together.

Approach Only Close Spiritual Leaders

If you choose to have religious or spiritual leaders speak at the funeral, reach out only to the clergy who knew your loved one. It's possible that you will have to go with someone who didn't know the departed very well. In that event, and inasmuch as possible, prepare the clergy person giving the eulogy by providing her or him with a wealth of information about the deceased. Supplement the religious leader's remarks with touching memories from those who knew, loved, and lived with the individual who passed.

Have you ever had to choose speakers for a eulogy? How did you make your decision?