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few words for a friend who passed
July 19, 2006 8:10 AM   Subscribe

I have been asked say few words for a good friend who passed away young...

We both are around thirties....
The company we both work for has decided to do a small tree planting in honor of my friend.
We were a very good friend for a long time.
However, I have never given a speech in this type.
And I am not much of writer nor speaker.
I assume 1-2 minutes will be enough for such small gathering....

Where can i get some help quickly....

I am afraid, my emotion may get in the way also....

I wanted to thank him for being my great friend, and what a good person he was... etc... without sounding too generic... yet simple...
posted by curiousleo to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I recently had to speak at my mother's funeral... being in much the same boat as you with regards to public speaking, I paraphrased my blog entry here, just talking about my memories of her and her meaning to me. It was well received, even though I was emotional, I managed to get through it with only minor breaks in my voice. Tell the truths you know about someone, and it will get you through.
posted by pjern at 8:17 AM on July 19, 2006


First of all, my condolences for your loss.

I wanted to thank him for being my great friend, and what a good person he was... etc... without sounding too generic

Since "generic" means "general", the way to avoid it is to offer specific details about this person that illustrate why he was your great friend and such a good person. If you simply state the conclusion in a general way it will be true, but it could be true of so many other people that it won't be as resonant. If you mention particular things - little habits he had, or something he once said to you, or what you miss most of all - it will help to connect your audience to the person.
posted by mdn at 8:26 AM on July 19, 2006


A brief, specific story that highlights both the person's good qualities and the amusing traits which made him/her so unique is always the most moving tribute. You tell the story about this funny/great/kind thing your friend did, and then you speak plainly and honestly about how much he meant to everyone, especially you. I'm very sorry for your loss, curiousleo.
posted by junkbox at 8:29 AM on July 19, 2006


I don't have much constructive to offer--I'm terrible at finding words in situations like that. Just speak from the heart.

I'm very sorry for your loss.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:57 AM on July 19, 2006


Since this is at work, tell something of him that relates to work. This will create relevancy for the whole group.
posted by Goofyy at 9:00 AM on July 19, 2006


Don't worry about your emotions getting in the way, that's pretty much expected.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 9:29 AM on July 19, 2006


I'm very very sorry for your loss.

I think you do not have to worry about speaking longer than 1 or 2 minutes. I also think that since this is work, perhaps some of your colleagues might not know things about your friend that he was interested in outside of work. Maybe reflect on something they might not know about him that helped to make him the special & wonderful friend that he was.
posted by tastybrains at 9:43 AM on July 19, 2006


I just gave a eulogy a couple months ago and sweated it for days. In the end, what I said (prepared) was no better or worse than what people who spoke extemporaneously (sp?) said.

Did he really like ice cream? Mention that. Did he wear funny socks? Bring it up. The stupid little stuff is what differentiates all of us.
posted by ImJustRick at 10:02 AM on July 19, 2006


I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I just went to a beautiful, touching funeral of an old friend of the family. His friends eulogized him in such a touching way. They told the truth. I agree with junkbox. Tell a story about him, and just tell the people what he meant to you, and his positive attributes.
posted by LoriFLA at 10:06 AM on July 19, 2006


My husband recently spoke at the funeral of a friend he's known since they were kids. One thing he mentioned that everyone there could relate to was picturing what his friend was doing right then (during the funeral, while we were all mourning him).

His words were basically (paraphrased): "I'm picturing S right now, on a lawn chair on the beach with his bare feet in the sand, looking down at us and toasting us with a cold beer." And then my husband looked up and gave him a mock toast, and said "Here's to you, [S's nickname]".

The personal details really got to us, because everybody knew that S liked to have a beer and sit on the beach and he was always barefoot. So the verbal picture with these little details was a pleasant thought for everyone to take away from the otherwise very sad day.

So think of a few things about your friend that lend themselves to painting a nice mental picture for everyone to leave with.

My condolences. And props to your company for wanting to honor his memory.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 10:50 AM on July 19, 2006


Here's what I did in simillar circumstances;

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It was with great sorrow that we learnt of her death; we both will remember her, with fondness, as last we knew her – giggling furiously over a bowl of strawberries & a glass of champagne.

I know it will be of little consolation to all – but the old adage ‘time heals’ is not without truth. When Mum died five years ago this summer, one of the things that helped me then, and does now, was something that someone sent through – it was one of those plastic embossed cards that could be used as a bookmark – Perhaps you might find the words of help –

“Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name; speak to me in the easy way, which you always used. Put no difference in your tone; wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me and pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was, let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes.
posted by DrtyBlvd at 1:27 PM on July 19, 2006


When I recently gave a eulogy for my grandfather, one of the things that was appreciated was that I suggested a small way for people to make an individual tribute to him (he loved learning, so I suggested that people simply read a book, take a class or just learn a fact in his memory). I don't know how many of them did it, but after the service, many suggested to me that they would.

Perhaps you could suggest something that your friend would have liked for all of his coworkers to do in his memory, on an individual basis, as well as the communal planting of the tree.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:26 PM on July 19, 2006


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