Organizing funeral messages is a tremendous task, especially for those grieving. However, collaborating with someone special and taking the time to nurture your feelings can prove therapeutic. You may also see the assignment as an opportunity to help others mourn by presenting them with a memorable message.
Many words are spoken concluding the death of a friend or family member. Obituaries are traditional ways to inform others of the death, announcing the date and details in local newspapers or online. Memorial speeches, eulogies, poetry and other sentiments are other conventional ways to pay homage to the deceased. Deciding which words you will use can be complicated. The following are some tips to simplify your search:
- Personality--Consider the personality of the deceased. Think about what you might say to that person. Did you have a serious relationship or did you share humor and camaraderie? These factors may help you decide the tone of your message, whether light-hearted or somber. Some individuals use humor, recalling stories or jokes that are indicative of the deceased person's life. Whatever the direction of your message, be sure it is in good taste and will not be offensive to attendees. In addition, if you opt for humor, explain your motives. You might begin your message by saying: "Because dad had a sharp sense of humor, I decided to communicate my message with humor."
- Poetry-Don't discount the words of another. Finding familiar poems may help you inject romance, nostalgia or other deep sentiments in a way that may be difficult for you. The library, internet and bookstore are great places to find a plethora of poetry.
- Interview-While it may be difficult for some individuals to discuss the life or death of the deceased, conversations can be cathartic. Consider interviewing close family members or friends of the deceased to chronicle their memories. You might also talk to individuals who are unable to attend the service, such as nurses, neighbors, or old acquaintances of the deceased. Their unique stories and sentiments can add depth and dimension to your funeral message.
Presenting Funeral Messages
After you have wrested with word choices, selected appropriate verses and seasoned your message with kind sentiments, you will have another task: The presentation. Communicating your funeral message cordially will allow your thoughts to shine. A poor presentation can distract mourners and minimize your message. The following are some points to help you present your message:
- Practice-The first and most important step to prepare you for delivering your funeral message is practice. Speak to yourself in a mirror, or better yet-present it to other friends or family members.
- Time-You likely have much to say about the deceased. However, your funeral message should not dominate the service. After your have written the message, time it. If it takes you longer than five minutes to present it, consider trimming it to include key points.
- Engage-Engross yourself in your message, so as not to sound mechanical when speaking. To make your message intimate, engage your audience. Use eye contact and smiles to connect with others.
- Relax-- Take deep breaths to calm yourself if you feel overwhelmed. Speak slowly and focus on relaxing.
- Be real-Delivering an emotional message may be difficult. However, don't be afraid to let a few tears fall or your hands shake slightly. Your audience will appreciate your sincerity.
- Humor-Laugh at yourself to break the ice and relieve stage fright. It's OK to introduce yourself as "nervous Nelly." If you never spoke publicly, tell your audience, it may help ease the tension.
If you are expected to deliver funeral messages, don't fret. Instead, focus on honoring the deceased, connecting with others and healing.