I read an Article by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. titled “Why We Have Eulogies at Funerals.” I have read other articles by Dr. Wolfelt and think he has a lot of insight. He was talking about how the eulogy, which comes from the Greek word eulogia, and means “Praise; good or fine language,” is often the most valuable part of the funeral service.
He calls it “telling the story.” I can see why this can be so important to family members. Whenever my family gets together for holidays or when we are just sitting around, we have stories that are told and retold. Everyone knows them, and it is still fun to tell them. It is a bonding experience.
At a funeral these stories become a way of celebrating the unique life of the individual and remembering the “good” that his or her life added to our own. It is something we can share together and feel closer and also help us to realize this life’s story has now complete.
My mom has often joked that she will not let any of her children talk at her funeral. She says she is afraid of the stories we may tell. Every person has qualities that you admire, quirks that make you laugh and things that just irritated you. That is what makes everyone unique and special and that is what we are celebrating. Because of or in spite of these characteristics that was why love them.
NFDA as part of FAMIC came up with a program called the Talk of A Lifetime, and you can see the video on our website. Stories can be shared and talked about before someone dies, and then it will be easier to know what to share in the eulogy.
What stories would I like to have shared at my funeral? Some thought would include, stories about being with my family, how my husband asked me to marry him, and how I walked all four of my dogs at the same time. I am sure there are others. I need to give it a little more thought.
Dr. Wolfelt gave a good suggestion if you are put in charge of writing the eulogy and you are not coming up with many ideas. Give each family member a piece of paper and tell them to share one story and why it was significant to them. Collect and organize to be read for the eulogy.
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American Fork Chapel
49 East 100 North
American Fork, UT 84003
Lone Peak Chapel
6141 West 11000 North
Highland, UT 84003