As somber as funerals can be, it is not necessary to avoid being light-hearted when giving a eulogy. As a matter of fact, light-hearted moments can bring healing to you and other family and friends in attendance. Sharing happy memories of the deceased can be very uplifting and they are entirely appropriate during the eulogy. Fond memories that bring smiles can relieve tension and be a welcomed reprieve from the great sadness of losing a loved one.
Remember the line between light-heartedness and comedy.
No one would suggest you go into a stand-up routine when giving a eulogy. That, of course, would be in bad taste. However, recalling funny stories and experiences that you shared with the deceased can be appropriate. It often triggers the memories of the guests and helps celebrate the life of the loved one, rather than a constant state of mourning.
Here are some examples of how you can inject some light-heartedness into the eulogy:
- Humorous, but tasteful stories you or others have experienced with the deceased is a very common way to lighten up the eulogy. Recalling costumes worn for Halloween or a practical joke that was played by the person being eulogized are examples of this kind of story.
- Discussing happy moments of the deceased’s life is always welcomed. Recalling the 50th Anniversary party, or a memorable vacation illustrate this kind of moment.
- The person who died may have certain way of talking or phrasing that people would easily recall. Perhaps he or she had a folksy tone, or an excited manner when talking. A man mentioned once that when he recalled his father’s little sayings, it always brought a smile to his face.
- Sometimes revealing an inside joke you may have had with the deceased is helpful in finding a light-hearted moment in the eulogy. This will give you an opportunity to relay a story and reveal the “punch line” to the guests. This can help family and friends feel closer to their loved one because they are let in on the inside. When one woman's brother told her a story about her father, she said with a smile, "I have always wondered why he always said that!"
Although funerals are serious and sad times, using a lighter approach to certain aspects of the eulogy is a welcomed. It can relieve the tension when emotions run high. No one likes to say goodbye, but everyone welcomes a chance to celebrate a life well-lived with a smile.