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Funeral Speeches, a Challenge at a Challenging Time

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Funeral speeches are probably the most challenging speeches of all. At a time when you are very upset you have also got to be clear-headed and concise. Your challenge is to encompass a person's lifetime in a few paragraphs and in a few minutes.

Funeral speeches should give comfort to the bereaved. They should bring the deceased to life for those who are present who may not have known the deceased well. Funeral speeches should contain a few surprises even for those who were close to the person who has died. They should evoke memories of happier times.

When a person who has died is elderly and has lived a full life funeral speeches do not have the same poignancy as when a child dies or a young person is killed in a road accident. After all what comfort can there be for the loss of a much loved baby? What sort of funeral speeches pay tribute to someone whose death has been so sudden that you are in a state of shock? Such funeral speeches call out for imagination and full understanding of a terrible loss.

Funeral speeches have to be sensitive to the feelings of all present. It is critically important that you do not say anything that might offend or upset someone at the funeral. If a man has had four wives you would need to be careful not to say he was much loved as this might be considered offensive by the widow. Instead say his generosity made him popular.

Funeral speeches have to be different because every person is different and deserves to be honoured in a specific way. We are told to speak only well of the dead and the real reason is so that we don't upset the living. Nobody wants you to stand up in church and speak, however sympathetically, of their father's alcoholism or gambling debts. Funeral speeches, after all, are a public declaration of private and personal feelings. Strangely, perhaps, they should end on a positive note. Even non-believers should gain comfort in your assertion that a person's spirit will live on even if they cannot believe in a Heaven. Always remember you can never undo anything you have said so whatever you say, say it kindly.

Niamh Crowe
Copyright Speechwriters 1994-2007
Tel. +353 1 8333599

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