03 May 2008


Another eulogy

Tomorrow, for the second time this year, I'll be giving a speech at a memorial service. This time it's for my mom's oldest friend Sonia, who died last November. She would have turned 70 in January.

I had no trouble at all putting together a eulogy for my friend Martin in January, but this time around it's a bit more difficult. My relationship with Sonia was different—she was my mother's friend, after all, so every time I saw her it was related to something they were doing together—but also lifelong. By the time I was born in 1969, they had been friends for well over 20 years.

Sonia's three best friends (my mom included) compiled some information and stories for me to work with, and I have some ideas on how to turn them into a speech, but I feel already like there will be too much left out. It's hard to distill 60 years of friendship into five or six minutes, maybe one minute for each decade. And the group at the memorial will be much smaller than Martin's, maybe 50 or 60 people instead of several hundred. I actually find it easier to speak in front of large groups than small.

Anyway, I'll find the key things to talk about, plus some extras I know myself, and I think it will go just fine. I hope I can do Sonia and her friends justice.

I feel a little guilty about one thing: I'm sort of glad to make speeches like this. That's because each memorial I attend means I've made it long enough not to have my own.

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Writing and delivering eulogies takes talent and determination.
As for the guilt: whatever it takes to be glad to be alive (not only for you, but for everyone). It's a good thing, so don't feel guilty.