In this article I’m going to help you deliver a eulogy without crying.
You have been asked to speak the eulogy at the funeral service of your loved one. What an honor it is! But it will be no easy task.
You are probably thinking about the writing process, what needs to be included, and how long it has to be. You don’t want to miss anything, or make a fool of yourself, or commit some funeral faux pas.
Above all, I’ll bet you’re wondering how in the world you’ll be able to read it without becoming overly emotional on the day of the funeral.
Take a moment and breathe. I’m a professional eulogy writer, and I’m here to walk you through exactly how to deliver your eulogy without crying.
The Best Tip (if you’re worried about becoming emotional)
My best delivery tip may be anti-climactic.
It’s this: Don’t worry about it.
Really? Don’t worry about it?
Think about it: You wouldn’t judge someone else for crying while speaking at a funeral.
And no one is going to judge you if you tear up while speaking about your loved one.
You’ll save yourself a lot of anxiety that day by accepting, right now, the possibility that you will become emotional.
That said, it is entirely understandable that you still want to avoid crying in front of others. Crying openly can feel awkward, and that is an entirely human feeling.
So, with that in mind, I’ve compiled some tips for you below. This advice will help you feel composed and self-controlled while delivering the eulogy. I hope that at least some of these tips will bring you a sense of peace as you prepare your funeral speech.
How to Deliver a Eulogy Without Crying
Because you probably came to this page due to a recent loss, we at US Urns Online and Urns Northwest would like to express our sympathies to you and your family at this time. It is our prayer that this post will provide you with the confidence you need to gracefully speak your eulogy in honor of your loved one.
Practice does not necessarily make perfect, but it does make better. Practicing your eulogy in front of a trusted friend or family member, a mirror, or even just to yourself can make all the difference when it comes to nerves.
Reading it aloud, over and over – at least three times. This will help you find your weak points (the places in the eulogy where you are more likely to become emotional).
2. Write out the eulogy
Write out the eulogy, word for word. Unless you’re an experienced public speaker, don’t rely on an outline or bare notes. This is an important occasion, and it’s worth writing down exactly what you want to say.
Bring a printed copy with you to the podium and you will have that much more confidence (and thus be less likely to cry) as you give the eulogy. Here are some examples.
3. Memorize it
You’d be surprised at how easy it is to memorize the entire eulogy. You could also simply memorize the outline, or memorize small chunks of your speech. This is especially helpful for the emotional parts, and for your delivery and timing when using humor.
The more you commit to memory, the more relaxed you will feel during your delivery.
4. Have a support person
Having a support person picked out is a wonderful idea, but not one that you necessarily think of right away. So I’m here to recommend it!
Choose a good friend or family member to sit close to you in the room where you will be giving your eulogy. If you feel yourself arriving to a breaking point at any time while speaking, look at this person. Take a deep breath and make eye contact with them… this should bring you a bit of comfort if the going gets tough.
It’s also a good idea to give your support person a copy of your eulogy. This way, in the instance you are not able to get through it, they can join you to finish it.
5. Eat before you speak
No one can do anything to the best of their ability on an empty stomach. Especially while under the emotional stress of giving the eulogy at a funeral. Remember to eat a good meal before you head out.
If you not really feel up to eating a lot (which is very understandable!), a small, healthy snack should do the trick. Any sustenance will provide you with the energy you need to get through not only your eulogy, but the entire service.
Don’t try to do all this on an empty stomach. It will leave you feeling more than drained, and can cause you to feel more weepy.
6. Bring a water bottle
Also take a water bottle with you when you get up to speak. A sip every now and then help keep your voice clear, and also be a little refresher if you feel the emotions beginning to rise.
Make sure it’s not some huge, noisy, clunky thing. A plastic water bottle will do fine, or a travel cup with a straw. You don’t want to get nervous and spill on yourself either!
7. Remember to breathe
We usually don’t ever have to think about breathing; it’s something our body does automatically for us.
But for some reason, when placed under stress, the body sometimes forgets to breathe properly. If you know that you are going to be nervous while speaking, take a few deep breaths just beforehand. This will help to clear your mind and keep you from speaking too fast.
Also remember to take a deep breath or two during your eulogy. If you get to a point where you feel like crying, this can be refreshing enough to keep tears at bay.
Meditating or doing deep breathing exercises in the days leading up to the service may also be helpful in calming your nerves.
8. Remember who the eulogy is for
This might seem counter-productive. You may be thinking, “That will just make me cry more!”
What I mean is, remember why you are giving the eulogy. It’s to honor the life and legacy of your loved one. The moment is not about you, and whether you will get emotional or not. (Remember my first, best tip? No one is going to judge you anyways.) The moment is about your loved one.
Reminding yourself of this will help keep you properly oriented. It’s about them.
Also remember that your loved one had many joyful moments in their life. Making it a point to highlight these happy times in your eulogy can help you to get through it more easily.
9. Keep things funny, if appropriate
What helps to keep the blues away? Laughter!
Of course, whether or not it is appropriate to include humor in your eulogy will largely depend on A) your audience, and B) who your loved one was and how they passed.
But it’s usually just fine to include a little humor in a eulogy. Life is like that. Do you have a funny memory of your loved one you want to share? Did something hilarious happen to them, that no one ever ever let them live down?
Stories like these will serve to lighten the moods of your listeners, which will cut the tension and in turn lighten your mood as you deliver the eulogy.
The Best Eulogies Are Genuine
To sum things up, remember:
Practice. Write it out, and memorize as much as you can. Have your support person ready to go with a copy of your eulogy. Eat something nutritional before you speak. Take a water bottle with you, and remember to breathe. Keep in mind why you are giving the eulogy. Throw in some humor if you can.
And ultimately, don’t worry about it. Your emotions are a normal, healthy part of your grief. People will understand.
I also hope that when the time comes, you’re confident to deliver your eulogy without crying. But also remember that it’s perfectly okay if you do cry.
To learn more about composing and delivering the funeral speech, we’ve put together an in-depth guide on How to Write a Eulogy.
If you don’t have the time or feel like you are able to write the eulogy yourself, then I would love to be of service. I write eulogies for a living, and may be able to help. Please see here to find out more.
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