Funerals are a time for family, friends and others to gather to recollect, honor, and mentally bid farewell to the deceased, as well as to gather together for mutual comfort. Such services should be personalized to help capture and evoke the character and personality of the deceased. If the Officiant did not know the deceased, then he/she should ask questions about the deceased from those who knew the deceased to help personalize the service. Such questions may include:
Who survives the deceased (children, siblings, parent, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.)?
What were the religious beliefs of the deceased?
What were some things the deceased really enjoyed? These may include, but are not limited to music (favorite song/songwriter/musician/etc.), movies, books (favorite book/author), art and artists, hobbies, activities, interests, etc.
What were some accomplishments that the deceased was particularly proud of?
What were some common expressions, phrases, or sayings often used by the deceased?
Did the deceased have any nicknames?
What single word or short phrase comes to mind when thinking about the deceased?
What would the deceased want me to say at the services, either about the world or life in general, or about the deceased himself or herself?
The service can also be personalized by placing personal items and photographs of the deceased on or near the urn or casket, or elsewhere in the vicinity. Mourners may place flowers near the urn, on the casket, or in the ground, as a symbol of their affection for the deceased. If the deceased belonged to any organizations, clubs, associations, etc., these should be notified so that members may attend the service if they desire.
Meditative, reflective music is often played at funeral services, and it is also entirely acceptable and appropriate to play any other music which is requested by the family because they feel that the deceased would have wanted it to be played.
Officiant: We are here to recall and honor the life of [name of Deceased]. The rest of the Eulogy is customized/personalized according to the information the Officiant has gathered about the Deceased.
Contributions from Friends and Relatives
If any of the friends or family of the deceased would like to contribute comments about the deceased, or tell stories, read appropriate literature or poetry, or otherwise contribute to the service, this should be pre-arranged before the service begins. The Officiant will introduce each Contributor to the assembly.
Reading of Obituary
Upon the family's request the Officiant will read the obituary:
Message and Meditation
Officiant: Death has separated us from [name of deceased], yet it can never take [him/her] from our hearts. If we resolve to conduct our lives in a way that honors all that was good [name of deceased]'s life, then [name of deceased]'s life will continue to have a positive effect on the world, and the world will continue to be a better place because [he/she] has lived. In this way, the good of [name of deceased will continue to live on in the world.
(Some examples of Deceased's value and goodness may be added here.)
Let us each now take some time in silent meditation upon all the positive values of [name of deceased]'s life, and how we can carry those values forward into the world in honor of the life of [name of deceased].
Thanks and Final Words
Officiant: On behalf of the family of [name of Deceased], I would like to express great appreciation to all of you for coming here today. Your presence is a testament to the value of the life of [name of deceased], and provides comforting support in a time of loss.
Thank you all for coming.
(If the family and friends of the Deceased are going to gather someplace after the ceremony, the Officiant may make an announcement at this time, followed by:
Once again, thank you all for coming.)