Writing a eulogy may not be as difficult as you think. Here are some tips.
By Diana Raab
Over the past few years, I’ve written more eulogies and given more tributes than I have in my entire lifetime. When sharing a eulogy I’ve written and hearing those of others at memorials, I cannot help but think how our loved ones would have enjoyed hearing how they impacted us. Sometimes we have no idea how much we are loved. Attending memorials reminds me of the importance of expressinggratitudemore often to those who are meaningful to us. These gatherings also help us heal, as the attendees share emotional,spiritual, and practical sentiments and advice.
There are two writing prompts that I frequently offer in my writing workshops, which the participants seem to enjoy. The first is to write one’s own eulogy, and the second is to write a letter to a loved one who has passed away. These are wonderful ways to honor those who have influenced us during our lives. Read the rest of the blog post….
At the 2014 Academy Awards, Robert De Niro’s intro of the best screenplay nominees caught the attention of many. “The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing”, he said, before continuing, “Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.” His comment was cruelly funny and spot-on.
Spring is a great time for transformation and new beginnings. It’s also a time for your mind to bloom. For those living in cold climates, the winter months are often spent inside, in self-protection mode, so spring is a season when you can shed all your layers. In order to facilitate transformation and new beginnings, you’ll need to let go of old, unhealthy patterns and embrace new, positive energy.
During my childhood, spring meant the blossoming of the cherry-blossom tree that sat on our front lawn. I have vivid memories of sitting on the falling blossoms and feeling the wonder of nature. It also meant shedding my winter coat, gloves, and hat, and getting on my bike and riding around the neighborhood. Spring meant freedom. It was also a time when my parents engaged in their annual spring-cleaning ritual…..
I began my writing career at age ten, sitting in my walk-in closet scribbling in my journal. My mother had given me the journal to help me cope with my grandmother’s suicide. Thirty years later, those childhood scribblings inspired my first memoir, Regina’s Closet.
Fast forward ten more years, I began journaling my breast cancer journey. Essentially, I journaled my way to recovery. And those journals became the jumping-off point for my second memoir, Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey. While the book began as a recounting of my cancer story, it evolved into a self-help guide for others to chronicle their own cancer journeys.
Not all journals turn into published books, but since I’m a writer, it seemed like a natural path for me. However, you don’t have to be a writer to journal. Journals are a productive way to vent about difficult experiences, like facing cancer, for instance. When writing in a journal, it’s important to not only write about your experiences but also write how you feel. Writing is an excellent way to get in touch with your feelings….
At least once a year, I go to Maui by myself for an annual writer’s retreat. My accommodations are modest and secluded. I began this tradition about the time I started writing my first novel in 2013. I’d been writing nonfiction and poetry for more than forty years, but quickly learned that the art of novel writing rested in my ability to carve out a chunk of time to write, mainly because I realized that I needed to completely submerge myself in my characters. While I’m sure I could write in any peaceful setting, there’s something about the Hawaiian environment, culture, and people that helps my creativity flourish.
Nevertheless, even when I’m in the flow, I’m not the type of writer who can write from morning until night. I need food and nature breaks. As a spiritual individual, I find that Hawaii provides a great escape for me. On one of my first visits, I asked the manager where I was staying if she could recommend a kahuna who would meet with me. Without hesitation, she said, “Sure. I’ll call the person who blessed this land.” The following morning, Kelei, a tall and powerful-looking woman in her 40s, walked through the property’s front gate. A blanket was slung over one shoulder, and on her other shoulder was a cloth bag bearing many surprises that I’d soon see. In her hands she held a bowl of water. She then put everything down to greet me with a big, hearty hug and a wide smile…