At a funeral recently for my uncle, a niece of his that I was not that close to because of age and distance gave a wonderful eulogy about my uncle including christmas memories, trips to the ocean, and his famous distinct dark blue suit that he apparently wore to every formal function he had been to in the last decade (He had worn it to her wedding 7 years prior, just like he had worn it to mine more recently).
Some of these stories were familiar to me, other I was just hearing for the first time. So at the reception after the burial I commented to my cousin. “Jane, that was a great eulogy, I would love to have a copy for the family genealogy.” She said sure and I gave her my email address. She was true to her word and three days later, a word document with the entire eulogy arrived in my inbox. Had I not asked for it, those memories would have stayed in the church. But now all the family can have a better understanding of who he was for generations to come.
While I have my own memories that I could include, having an “official” eulogy that was given in public to a church full of people has more weight behind it. While a video or audio recording would be inappropriate, the text of a eulogy is excellent for those who were not there or for those who were there to read and remember.
I recommend asking for a eulogy if you feel comfortable so that others can understand the person more, as it was given by someone who knew them.
Notes on getting the eulogy:
- Be careful and sensitive to who you ask, you may have to wait a few weeks to ask for it if the person giving it was close to the deceased.
- Along the same lines use discretion on when you ask. Ask in a relaxed setting perhaps at a reception instead of at the funeral service.
- Family eulogies are preferred to those of religious officials(ministers, priest, rabbi, etc) unless they knew the person, otherwise they are probably just wrote something based off the meeting with the family or the obituary.
- A text might not exist. Some people are excellent speakers and don’t use notes and speak from the cuff.
- Make it easy. Give them your email address on something other than a cocktail napkin that might get laundered or tossed.
- Try and get a soft copy so it will be easier to transfer on to the computer. Copy and paste is much better than transcribing 5 pages of text, but transcribing is better than nothing at all.