Writing an effective and respectful eulogy for a loved one requires preparation and can be difficult because of the emotions you may experience thinking about the person who has died. In addition, you must decide what style of eulogy you want to write. Some eulogy types are life history, memories, legacy, tribute and thematic. Eulogies for a loved one such as a sister are usually written as shared memories, letting you recount events and incidents that left an indelible impression on you.
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Visit close family members such as your parents and other siblings and ask them to recount their fondest memories of your sister. Write these recollections in a notebook.
Go through keepsakes and photo albums of you and your sister to help you create a list of events and moments that you shared with her. Write down as many moments as you can remember, which you can later edit.
Talk to your sister's friends, colleagues and her boyfriend or husband (if applicable). Ask them to share any stories that will give people an idea of what your sister was like and how she affected their lives.
Begin the eulogy by first introducing yourself, as not everyone at the funeral or wake may know who you are. Transition into the first part of the eulogy by using a poem, a quote or a catchphrase that your sister used, which helps to immediately capture her essence.
Recount your personal memories of your sister by writing about events from your childhood, teenage years and adulthood. Pick one or two seminal memories from each time period, and include humorous or funny moments that humanise your sister and give the audience insight into the uniqueness of your relationship.
Provide one anecdote to encapsulate your sister's character. For example, if she was a giving person, talk about her commitment to volunteerism or how often she used to help her friends. Add a few stories or memories that you obtained from family members and her friends and colleagues to bolster your own view of your sister. Explain in one or two sentences how her life impacted their lives.
Conclude the eulogy by expressing how much you will miss your sister. Specify each quality that you will miss. For example, you might write, "I will miss her laughter, which was loud, infectious and full of joy. I will miss her warm voice at the other end of the line asking if I was OK."
Tips and warnings
- Share your eulogy with a friend or family member. Accept any comments that you hear more than once, and revise the eulogy.
- Read the eulogy out loud to give you confidence before you have to deliver it officially.
- Avoid controversial subjects that may offend family members. A eulogy is a time of remembrance, not a venue to rehash old grudges.
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