People are the focus of a humanist ceremony and it is important that a funeral honours the life of the person who has died in a realistic and affirming way. Writing a meaningful tribute (eulogy) can give a sense of satisfaction that you have done the best you can for the person and may serve as a last act of kindness.
The following list gives you something to think about before we meet so that I can put together a worthy tribute. This list may not be appropriate for everyone or it may be that the person had spoken of their wishes after their death or undertaken some preparation, so please feel free to ignore.
Please also be assured that anything discussed during our meeting will be confidential. You may feel it important to explain certain things that you do not want mentioned during the service, but that are important for setting things in an appropriate context. After our meeting I will send you a draft to edit as you wish and give your approval when you are ready.
Date and place of birth
What were/are their parents’ names and occupations?
Brothers and Sisters?
What was home life like for them as a child?
Schooling: where did they go? Any stories? Subjects that they enjoyed or excelled at?
What happened after school? What did they do for work? Any long-term jobs?
Any significant life partners? (husband, wife, partner, friend…)
Where did they live? (towns)
Did they have any children? If so, names and years of birth are useful.
What were their hobbies /interests?
Date of death
If you were to describe them in 3 or 4 words…? How do you think they would they like to be remembered? How would other people describe them?
What made them laugh?
Who were their friends?
What made them angry?
What were they proud of? What were they passionate about?
If they had children, what sort of parent were they?
Where did they like to go on holiday to / travel to?
What did they struggle with in life?
What will you miss most about them not being around?
What about them made you laugh?
Any particular phrases or approaches to life? Catchphrases?
Any pets /animals?
Hobbies-music/reading/TV/sport/clubs/cooking /eating /drinking?
Role within family / groups of friends?
How do you picture them? Snapshot of memory.
Do you plan for there to be a printed Order of Service?
Do you intend to have a social gathering after the service? If so, where?
Would you like to ask for any charitable contributions? If so, to which charity?
Would anybody like to get up and speak?
Would you like there to be any poetry or prose readings?
Would you like any specific music to be played?
Do you want to bring any photographs?
Would you like for there to be any live music played, perhaps by a friend or relative?
Anything else you can think of that you would like to have included?
As a Humanists UK celebrant, I receive personal information, such as names, phone numbers and email addresses that you submit to me for the purposes of writing a ceremony script. Inevitably, a ceremony that best reflects your wishes and celebrates a life, is by its nature personal. Ceremonies are vehicles for stories. These stories are valuable and meaningful. All information received by me is stored securely and is only used for the specific purpose of producing a personalised ceremony. It will not be passed on to or sold to any third parties. In the event of illness etc the ceremony script would be shared with a colleague, simply in order for your ceremony to take place. This shared script would then be erased by the colleague. The personal information that you provide for the purpose of building a ceremony, and the actual script, will be retained for a period of seven years in case you require my services again, and to provide continuity. All hard copy is shredded. If you wish you to have all your information erased immediately following a ceremony, or at any time thereafter, please get in touch by phone or email to confirm this and I will do so.