Saying that final farewell to a loved one isn’t easy, but I consider it a huge honor. In my 42 years I have written three eulogies. The toughest thing about Eulogies is there isn’t a formula. How can you encapsulate something so grand as a person’s life in a short speech. Eulogy is the term used to describe practically any speech used to pay tribute to a person or people that have recently passed away.

Eulogies go way back in written history. One of the earliest recorded forms of poetry was called an elegy. This was during the Hellenistic Period and it is known for its lament and basic rhyme schemes. A memorable one from the period was written by Callimachus for his lover Lesbia:

I hate and I love. Why do I do this, you might ask?

I know not, but I feel it happening and I’m tortured.

Much later during the Romantic Period, Tennyson became the standard for lamentation. One of his most famous poems is the "Lady of Shallot" which has an extremely mournful tone.

Not being a huge fan of Tennyson, I fancy the more darker poems by Edgar Allan Poe. He seems to encapsulate the darkness and mourning that follows death. "A Dream Within a Dream" shows the sadness of losing someone and compares the slipping of life through ones hands to grains of sand on a beach. So small yet important in the scheme of life. Don’t let those moments slip through your fingers why your dreaming of something else.

"Take this kiss upon the brow!

And, in parting from you now,

Thus much let me avow —

You are not wrong, who deem

That my days have been a dream;

Yet if hope has flown away

In a night, or in a day,

In a vision, or in none,

Is it therefore the less gone?

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar

Of a surf-tormented shore,

And I hold within my hand

Grains of the golden sand —

How few! yet how they creep

Through my fingers to the deep,

While I weep — while I weep!

O God! Can I not grasp

Them with a tighter clasp?

O God! can I not save

One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?

Modern Eulogies today seem to blend the old with the new with some humor thrown in to comfort the loved ones of the departed. In all it should be a tribute, a celebration of their life. The grief that one feels is so hard to encompass with words, but it is more for those left behind to remember the love and good times. Somehow that is hopefully conveyed in the eulogy; in that they are remembered forever. Love you Janette, Joe, and Marianne… Love you to the moon… until we meet again.