Why a eulogy is the most important part of a funeral

And, of course, you want to speak to her one more time, urgently. And say, “Tell me about the Greek classes. What inspired you?”

Elvina Stubbings in her self-made wedding dress.

Elvina Stubbings in her self-made wedding dress.

It’s the norm now for not just close friends but close family members to say a few words at the service about the one they’ve lost. I can’t imagine a braver act. When Mum died a few years ago, I badly wanted to stand up and tell everyone about this beautiful funny tiny lady I’d shared morning tea with every day for the past 10 years. And how, when it was time to move into care, she wanted to make one last visit to the tellers at Bendigo Bank to thank them for all their help. “Where are you going, Mrs S?” one asked. Mum pointed a finger up to the sky.

I didn’t have the guts to say my piece. My sisters did, though, and took us through this long and gentle life, dipping into personal moments, soaring at some silliness, sliding down again. In this fairytale, the heroine was the kind who would have made Cinderella’s dress for her – she was a seamstress, after all.

Clapping should be mandatory at funeral services. For every life, a standing ovation.

When a young friend died recently her husband did the next best thing to giving the eulogy himself. He wrote an open love letter and got his former best man to read the thing out loud. How many love letters do we get to share with our friends? How many husbands get to express their love in public?


Eulogies have taught me not to be scared of funerals. Readings and prayers might comfort and songs might set the perfect tone, but it’s the stories that really count. Stories add dimension to personality. And you learn you were only a small part of the story of this person’s life.

George Gale was my godfather. I knew him well. He was there at my beginning when he drove Mum to hospital in a panic in an old Holden, and she had to tell him to take it easy, slow down. But I never knew about the nose.

Jo Stubbings is a freelance writer and reviewer.

Source link