Writing a eulogy for my brother-any tips? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 01-13-2008, 05:37 AM - Thread Starter
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My brother died yesterday. (well, it's now the day before yesterday) I was with him and watched him take his last breath. I thought that it would be easier to process if you actually saw the person die, but it isn't. I stood there crying so hard that the tears actually dripped onto his bed and I kept saying,"it didn't happen, this didn't just happen".

What I have here are a bunch of journal entries and some letters to him that I wrote in my journal, as well as a list of things he taught me.

This seems to much harder to compose than a typical essay.

What do I do? I have read numerous websites on how to write eulogies. nothing. no help.


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#2 of 10 Old 01-13-2008, 12:45 PM
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I am so sorry for your loss. Sorry I can't be of any help.
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#3 of 10 Old 01-13-2008, 12:55 PM
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Honestly I can't imagine trying to write something that anyone would hope would be a beautiful tribute so soon after a loss, let alone delivering one without breaking down. So I suppose the first question is, is it something you really want to do?

If so, I suggest seeking the help of a clergyman (even if not religious yourself), or to ask your family for help in creating something between yourselves rather than something from you alone.

And if all else fails, there is nothing wrong with just plain honesty -- starting out by saying you found yourself at a loss for what to say and so are sorry if you words do not do your brother justice, but that the sorrow in your heart is simply still too near to inspire anything akin to poetry.
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#4 of 10 Old 01-14-2008, 02:07 AM
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When James died, we asked for help. We split up his service into several parts, and asked people to help us. We each picked out a reading or a poem and asked friends to read them. We asked an aunt to write a prayer and a blessing. We asked family members to write out stories about him and share them in front of the gathering. We asked a family member to play a guitar piece.

Then, for our part, we stood in front of five candles. Beforehand we had written out our five favorite things about James. We talked about each one, and as we started talking we lit a candle. We each took turns talking. Then when all five candles were lit, we took our candles and lit the candles of the people nearest us. They passed the light on while music played, at at the end we all stood looking at each other with the candles lit and the silence after the song.

The funeral home had connected us with a reverend (we aren't religious, but he was comfortable with that). He was wonderful in connecting all the pieces of our service. At the end of our candle-lighting and our eulogy, he said a few short sentences about saying goodbye to our James. We blew out the candles and that was the end.

For us, breaking down what we wanted to say into five "favorite" things about him made it so much easier to concentrate on his life and our love for him--rather than the tragedy of his death. It also made it easy to be very personal...to share short stories and examples of why we loved those things about him, and to let the people there know who James was. He was just a little kid, so most of the people at the service didn't know him...I think what we said might have given them a window into the special little soul he was.

I think I put a copy of parts of it in the thread about him in this forum. It should be in a post somewhere around October 14th.

I know it's hard. Write from the heart, and don't feel it has to be any one way or any certain length.

I'm sorry for your loss.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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#5 of 10 Old 01-14-2008, 02:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you ROM. My brother's name is James, as well. I met with his business partner tonight and we solidified a few things. More of our family will be in town tomorrow, so I am hoping to get more quotes, memories of him, etc. then.
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#6 of 10 Old 01-14-2008, 11:23 AM
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sorry for your loss, mama.

proverbs 29:7 the righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.

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#7 of 10 Old 01-14-2008, 12:29 PM
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My mom died on the 8th and I was completely unable to write anything that could be read out loud. Everything I wrote was way too dark. My brother was able to read a poem and my sister wrote a eulogy that kind of read like a report she would have written for work. In our situation, it worked very well because we were still harboring some anger toward my mother.

I too was with my mom when she took her last breath. For me it was very spiritual knowing that she passed in my arms and hearing my voice. I hope you too will find some comfort in knowing that one day Just remember that grief touches people in different ways and we all move through it at our own pace.

Much love to you as you move through this. I'll hold your brother in my thoughts.
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#8 of 10 Old 01-14-2008, 12:31 PM
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I'm so sorry for your loss.

Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
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#9 of 10 Old 01-14-2008, 08:55 PM
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First of all, I am so very sorry for your loss.

I just peeked at your blog, and you are an excellent writer. You may be able to use portions of your last couple of entries in the eulogy. The bit about your brother's excitement about you is very touching.

I wrote/gave the eulogy for my grandfather. I think it is good to include factual details about a person's life, as well as some personal anecdotes (your own or others'). It sounds like you are on the right track, and I'm sure it will turn out well.

Much love to you as you process your grief and celebrate your brother's life.

~Beth, mama to two amazing girls, ages 12 and 6~

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#10 of 10 Old 01-14-2008, 11:13 PM
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I too am sorry about your loss. I have not been in a situation such as yours, so I can't say that I understand how you are feeling. My DH's grandpa, a man DH was very close to, passed away a couple of years ago. There were 7 adult children and many grand and great-grand children. I knew Grandpa C, but not all that well as I've only known my husband for 9 years. There were a few people who gave eulogies at the funeral, as well as a few who read scripture. It's hard to say I 'loved' the eulogies, but I honestly did. I laughed and I cried. To me, a "good" eulogy is one that comes from the heart of the person speaking, his/her personality, and the relationship the person had with the one who passed. I learned so much about DH's Grandpa by the characterizations given and more so the stories. What will you always remember about your brother? What has always struck you funny about a personality trait or his stubborness about something - what lengths did he go to, to support these things? What are some favorite sister/brother moments as young children, as teenagers, as young adults and more recently? What has he taught you? What words describe him? etc...

The story I remember the most, was when one of DH's uncles was talking about how he and some of the other brothers decided to take the car for a ride while their mom and dad (Grandpa and Grandma to my DH) were out for an evening drink at the bar. The boys were not old enough to drive... They ended up taking the car out and it quit not too many blocks away. The boys were walking home in shame and trying to figure out what they were going to say about where the car was. They bumped into their parents and while their mom scolded them and was stern, their dad had a smile on his face and said "boys will be boys!". Hence, he was not the disciplinarian of the family. Grandpa C. also raised a bit of havoc himself as a youth, making moonshine in the Chemistry lab, putting peanut butter on the cat's claws. In his latter years he loved taking his old (he was 92 when he passed) lady friends (mind you they were in their 80's) to the grocery store and on other errands they had to run. He videotaped everything, including my DH and my wedding, and had video tapes and slides up the wazoo. He raised 6 boys and then had my DH's mom as his little girl. She and him spent time together every day for the few years before he passed, and had spent almost every day with him since Grandma C. had passed away. Laid back, funny, caring, talkative, proud, and loving are the words that come to mind.

I wish you the best and I'm sorry you are having to go through this. You will do a wonderful job and as long as you speak from the heart, you have no reason to worry otherwise!

Thrilled to be expecting Baby #2 after 15 months TTC (a 30% drop in TTC time than Baby #1!)

"Everything that is done in the world is done by hope." Martin Luther

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