If you've been asked to give a eulogy for an infant who died of SIDS, there are several things to keep in mind. For starters, you are recognizing the short life of a baby who died very suddenly. Family members and close friends are probably still in shock and very grief-stricken over the loss, so the words used to eulogize him or her must be chosen wisely.
What is SIDS?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the unexpected and sudden death of a child under the age of one. The cause is unknown, and the death usually occurs when the baby is sleeping. This type of child loss usually leaves the parents feeling extremely vulnerable and guilty, as no explanation of the infant's death is usually ever found.
Facts About SIDS
Before you start writing your eulogy, here are few facts for you to understand about SIDS:
- Two out of every 1,000 live births ends in SIDS
- Most babies who die from SIDS do so with between two and four months old
- About two-thirds of all infants who die from SIDS usually have a risk factor involved
- Roughly nine babies die each day from SIDS
Writing a Eulogy for an Infant Who Died of SIDS
After you are asked to present a eulogy for an infant who died of SIDS, take some time and look at pictures or watch videos made of the child. If you are especially close to the family, think back to all of the wonderful times you spent with the baby while he or she was alive. Make sure to jot down any and all memories because you do not want to forget anything -- the smiles, giggles and even the cries. Also write down some of memories that you have shared with the parents -- before and during the pregnancy, after the baby was born and other special times spent together. Some other ideas on where to begin writing the eulogy include:
- Speaking with other close family members and friends about the baby
- If applicable, talking with the family's pastor or funeral director; it is very likely they had to go through a baby's funeral before.
- Take a look on the Internet for ideas; some sample eulogies available include those for a:
Other things to keep in mind when writing a eulogy for an infant who died of SIDS include:
- First and foremost, express your condolences to the entire family, mentioning each by name, including any surviving siblings
- Do not speak anything negative
- Plan to keep the speech to no more than five to seven minutes
- Allow yourself time to research and write the speech
- Once you decide on the tone, stick to it and don't wander
- Break up your eulogy into three parts: beginning, middle and end
- Make sure you are not the main person in the speech; keep it focused on the child and his or her parents
- Remember, this is not a biography; even though this is for an infant, keep it an account of the child's short life, citing many personal experiences
- If you are unable to complete the eulogy for emotional reasons, make sure you pass it off to a trusted friend or relative. The person presenting the eulogy should remain composed.
What Not to Say During the Eulogy
Now that you know what to write and how to present a eulogy, there are some things that should not be included:
- That the baby is in a better place or that it was God's will
- Referring to the child as "it" or "the baby;" use the child's name often
- Jokes and anecdotes that are not appropriate
- Telling the family to move on; they will be grieving their loss for a long time
- Mentioning that the parents can have other children; they only want this baby right now
- Anything negative that will make the parents feel guilty for their loss
- Similarities between this infant's death and any other death; do not compare losses
When delivering the eulogy, keep your words simple. Don't make it a long speech, but rather a conversation you are having with the congregation. Make sure the parents have a clean copy of the eulogy and make copies available for other family members..