Saturday, October 2, 2010

How To Write a Biography: or Eulogy 101

Many, many moons ago Wise Woman asked me to write her eulogy. Yes, I know this is not a usual request when in robust health, but then again my mother is not your usual lady. Today, feeling very ill, she asked me again. What I laughingly brushed off with a "plenty of time to get it right Mama, don't stress..." now has become reasonably critical for her peace of mind if nothing else.

I noticed how very little she has become. Not only due to loss of height, but now because of the massive curvature in her spine; she is so stooped she can now look only to the ground.

My mother always walked tall, she was tall. Shoulders back, long-legged stride, arms swinging, people turned to watch her progress along the path admiring this fine figure of a woman.

She began to lose height almost twenty years ago with the first fracture (1990). But we never imagined this disease could strip so much of her height. She once graced life at 5'7". Now I doubt she is 4'7", more like 4'5".

But I digress. The eulogy. How do you put into words the way someone has influenced you, how can you sum up a long life in a few words? I want to do her justice, I want her to listen to my words and know how much we all love her, I want to create a picture so vivid that all who hear it can see her clearly, hear her voice and laughter even when she is gone.

Can someone please tell me how to do that? Please?


E. said...

I have spoken at both my parents funerals. I'm not sure whether I did a good job or not. I was told I did. Both were written after my parents had died so there was no critiquing to be done by them.

My advice to you is to write from the heart. Share the memories that you have, the little things that are important to you, the things that make you smile or laugh or sigh.

This probably hasn't helped you at all... It's hard looking at your parents and knowing they won't be around forever. It's heartbreaking and scary.

I hope Wise Woman starts to feel better and you don't have to deliver the Eulogy for a very long time.

Kakka said...

I don't know what to say, as I have not had to do one yet. However as E said, I think as long as it comes from the heart that is all that matters. It only needs to be a long or as short as you wish it to be, it only needs to say what you want it to say ... there are no rules, and I think that there should never be any critics as this is the most personal thing any one has to do. I hope it is many, many years before you have to deliver what you write.

And so I say to your Mum ... Wise Woman it is too soon for you to go yet, I know you are in pain and the future looks bleak, but the world will be a sadder place without you in it ... please find the strength to go on. xxx

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

If anyone can do this it's you - and hopefully you won't need to read it for a very long time. hugs xx