After reading this post, if you’re looking for additional guidance on creating a eulogy, check out these other Family Plot Blog posts:
During Celebrant training at the ICCFA University in July, our class of 36 was split up into teams of three and given the assignment of creating a personalized, non-religious memorial service for a specific kind of death. The categories of deaths included: infant, Alzheimers, veteran, suicide, teen, elderly, young adult, sudden and tragic, and death at the hand of another.
That’s the category I received with my two partners, Russ Koehn with Krause Funeral Home & Cremation Service and Scott Seegert with Lohman Funeral Homes, Cemeteries & Cremation.
Each team generated a family, life story, and meaningful memorial service for the type of death they were assigned. Our death at the hand of another was caused by a distracted driver who was texting when he collided with 27-year old Amy Davis of Tampa, Florida. (This is a made-up name and person.)
Our team created a sunset memorial service on the beach, with a candle lighting ceremony and bonfire and a luau reception, to be followed the next day by a ceremony on a boat to scatter her cremated remains at sea. We utilized the songs “If I Die Young,” “Surfer Girl” and “Over the Rainbow.”
This is the eulogy I prepared as part of our memorial service for the fictional Amy Davis.
Celebrating the Life of Amy Davis
Amy Davis loved living by the ocean. She delighted daily in seeing the sun glinting on the water, feeling the sand between her toes, watching the sea rise and fall with the tides. When she was in tune with nature here at the shore, she was at peace.
We gather here on the beach she loved so much seeking to find peace in the midst of a searing loss. We feel waves of grief over her young life cut short so tragically. A driver distracted by a text message that couldn’t wait took Amy from the family and friends who love and adore her. If your cell phone is still on, please turn it off now to be fully present.
We gather to offer our support to Amy’s family and friends who cannot believe she is gone. We are here for Amy’s husband Mason and their young daughter Madison; her parents, John and Mary Gehl; her brother Paul and younger sister Rachel. And for Mason’s parents, Frank and Paula Davis, and his twin brother Martin, who have known Amy since she and Mason were high school sweethearts. We are here for her aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and co-workers.
Thank you for your presence here tonight. We gather to recognize this painful reality, to remember her joyful spirit, to reaffirm our beliefs, and to release Amy’s spirit as we seek solace within our community.
Amy’s family came to Tampa when she was about Madison’s age. Amy loved to build sand castles and collect shells, chase the sea gulls and toast marshmallows on bonfires at night. She loved playing beach volleyball together with family and friends. As a young mother, she delighted in sharing these pleasures with Madison.
Amy and Mason gravitated toward each other from the moment they met in ninth grade. Mason met Amy at a sea kayaking class, where they were paired up in the same kayak. While they capsized on that first outing, Mason said that she’s been rocking his world ever since.
Amy graduated from the University of Tampa with a degree in Athletic Training. She was a dedicated physical therapist at Back To Work Physical Therapy. Everyone with whom she worked was strengthened not only by her technical skills, but also by her sunny disposition and caring touch.
The philosopher Marcel Proust said, “We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast, but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future. It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon, this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance.”
Amy Davis’ life was snatched away in a careless moment, on a busy afternoon, by a texting driver. The eventual certainty for us all, the hour of our death, suddenly went from obscure and distant to a very unreal reality. We are numb. We need to grieve and heal.
There is never a convenient time for any of us to die. Life has its tides, the high and the low. And yet, how do we make sense of such a beautiful woman’s life cut short? We are in pain. We cry out for some way to sooth the burning in our hearts.
Before us is a candle lit by Mason and Madison. It represents Amy’s eternal spirit that burns within our hearts. As long as her memory continues to burn among us, Amy will never die. Let us now gather in ceremony to share our stories and memories of Amy
Out on the beach, we have prepared wood for a bonfire, the kind that Amy loved so well. We will light candles from Amy’s flame, and join our candle flames together to spark an even larger fire of communal love. Let us take that burning pain in our hearts, and release it into the bonfire that Amy loved.
As we play the song “Surfer Girl,” please come forward and light a candle.
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