According to the Merriam-Webster's dictionary, eulogy or elegy is the spoken or written tribute that praises someone or something very highly, a tribute to somebody who has recently died or alive. The word is derived from the two Greek words for "you" and "word" (Anton). The elegy dates back to classic Greek poetry containing two lines known as a couplet and combines many of these couplets to create the funeral poem (Anton). The most noted scholar and poet Callimachus, expressed powerful emotions in a shorter form than a full-length epic poem calling these "elegy" that captured many readers with his vivid style of expressing emotions. (funeralhomeestacoma). It wasn't until the 1800s that English poets like Lord Tennyson famous ballad, "The Lady of Shallott" and Thomas Gray's ballad "Elegy Written in a Country Courtyard' conveyed solitude, grief and foreboding ( funeral...). Writers of the Romantic Era such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge used elegiac poetry in a lyrical manner, but over time this was less favored and the elegy worked best as an expression of mourning (funeral...).
The eulogy describes the person's life, how they lived, their achievements, and the love ones left behind. Sometimes the eulogy can be very long or short, given by a love one or friend. The eulogy allows the survivors to learn more about the departed from stories and experiences which are shared in hopes of lessening pain and allowing for closure in the death of a love one.
How to Write a Eulogy
According to Kevin Burch, professional Funeral Presider, providing the eulogy has three functions; first, by honoring the memory of a special person, second, giving the survivors the gifts of sharing, of fondly remembering and of healing, and third, to yourself, the chance to do something special, to heal yourself at a deeper level, and to know you have made a difference (Burch).
There is no right or wrong way to write a eulogy. The eulogy allows for the expression of experiences that are shared by the survivors and memories between the deceased and the survivors. The eulogy should be accurate and explore the intimacy of the deceased. Sometimes a love one will ask a friend or relative to write and read the eulogy at the wake or funeral. If you have been tasked with writing a eulogy for a friend or a loved one, it is important that you take time to consider your own family and traditions, as well as your personal experiences with the loved one that has passed. It is invaluable to explore the relationships that the deceased had with family and friends, considering everyone. Providing the accomplishments, hobbies and interest allows for the survivors to reminisce and remind them of the connections they had with the deceased. Above all make sure that you are comfortable speaking about the person that has died before you agree to provide a eulogy. Take some time to consider writing a eulogy in a way that feels best for you, and...