Did your deceased loved one spend a lot of free time fishing? Or perhaps they made a living from the bounty of the sea. If fishing was a large part of your loved one's life, you would want to include their passion in their eulogy.
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Here are the steps for writing a eulogy for someone who loved to fish. Below, we provide some general tips for writing a eulogy, as well as ideas on how to use the fishing metaphor throughout the text of your speech. If you’re unsure of how to fit in a few fishing jokes or metaphors, we also provide some examples.
Hopefully with this, you’ll be prepared to get the audience hook, line, and sinker.
Steps for Writing a Fishing Eulogy
Writing a thoughtful, loving eulogy can take a lot of time - even for those extremely comfortable with the written word.
Unless you have had a lot of time to prepare for the death of a loved one, you may need time to gather your thoughts, draft the text of the speech, go through a round of edits, have others read it for clarity, tone, and grammar, and practice delivering the speech. All this will need to be done in the midst of a brain fog that often accompanies grief.
If you are in charge of planning the entire memorial service and wish to write the eulogy, make sure you designate as many of the other tasks as possible.
Here are some suggestions on how to write a eulogy for an angler.
Step 1: Gather ideas
What made your loved one special and unique? What words would you use to describe them?
There are many facets to a person's life, and even though they may have "liked to fish," that may be just one characteristic of the person you would like to highlight in your speech.
Before you sit in front of your laptop or pen and paper, spend time with other people who also knew your loved one. Talk with people who knew them in different contexts, such as childhood friends, co-workers, siblings, and people who fished with the deceased. Based on these conversations, you may be able to formulate the ideas of your speech.
Remember that a eulogy is different from an obituary. Your audience will likely want to hear some stories instead of facts. Gather stories from these conversations with people who knew your deceased loved one well.
Step 2: Organize your thoughts
After talking with other people who knew the deceased, you may be overwhelmed with stories and ideas. To keep the speech from being long and wandering, think about organizing your thoughts into different topics or themes.
For example, you may have uncovered that most people who knew the decedent described the person using four different adjectives. Each segment of your speech can focus on one descriptive word.
You may also choose to organize your speech by telling stories about your loved one. Tell the story, and then give an insight into what the story says about your loved one. Don't be afraid to use funny stories in a eulogy, but try not to use stories that make your deceased loved one the butt of a joke.
Step 3: Include plenty of stories about the deceased
The key to writing a good eulogy is using plenty of specific stories or examples. Don't simply say that your loved one was "loving," but for example stopped whatever they were doing to dance with their wife whenever their song came on the radio.
Instead of saying that the decedent was known for telling "fish stories," retell an engaging family favorite.
You will know that you have written a good eulogy if you look out into the audience and see people smiling and nodding. That means that you have captured the essence of that individual and have done your job well.
Step 4: Figure out how to incorporate the fishing theme throughout the text of the eulogy
There are plenty of ways to sprinkle the theme of fishing throughout the eulogy you are writing.
You could describe how your deceased loved one had the characteristics of a good fisher, such as perseverance (share a story to illustrate this point), an adventurous spirit (share a story to illustrate this point), and a great sense of humor (share a story to illustrate this point).
Did your loved one collect fishing quotes? Pepper some of those quotes throughout your speech to illustrate characteristics of the person you lost.
Here are some quotes and ideas on how to use them:
"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago." - Zane Grey
"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after." - Henry David Thoreau
Use these quotes to lead into a story about how the decedent got more out of fishing than removing fish out of water.
For example, with this quote, ("Most of the world is covered by water. A fisherman's job is simple: Pick out the best parts." - Charles Waterman) you can read it and transition to a story about secret fishing holes or the knack your loved one had for choosing the right spot to let down the line.
"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." - Matthew 4:19
Use this quote to illustrate the point that your loved one was passionate about sharing their Christian faith with others. Besides quotes, you may also want to share some funny funeral poems or song lyrics about fishing to illustrate your point.
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Step 5: Write and rewrite the text of your speech
Your high school English teacher was right. There's no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting.
If you want to write a memorable eulogy to honor your loved one, you may need to write several drafts. If you have time, let the draft of your speech sit overnight before returning to edit it. Having time to ruminate on an idea is helpful. You may also remember a story about your loved one that would illustrate your point perfectly.
Step 6: Share the speech with a few trusted friends
Ask someone else who knew the deceased to read the text of your speech to make sure it is written in the appropriate tone, especially If you include jokes or funny stories.
Ask them to edit the text for accuracy as well. Try to be open-minded with their suggestions, especially if you were the one asking for help.
Step 7: Practice the delivery of your speech
If you don't often speak in front of large groups, it is important that you practice the delivery of your speech. Read it in front of a mirror and a few trusted friends. Record yourself giving the speech. When you watch it, make sure to pay attention to your tone of voice and mannerisms.
Fishing Eulogy Examples
When doing something that you've never done before, it's always helpful to look at an example. Here are a few snippets from eulogies for people who loved to fish.
For a parent
"To say that my dad was obsessed with fishing is an understatement. When mom told him that I needed to practice reading out loud when I was in second grade, he had me read from Field and Stream. We picked vacation home rentals based on how far they were from the best fishing lake. And dad would spend hours (and hours) wandering through the Cabella's fishing section looking at lures. It was, hands-down, his favorite thing to do."
For a child
"I would like to conclude my eulogy with this challenge. I would like to ask each of you to borrow a fishing pole, and spend a few hours fishing from the bank of your nearest pond or lake. Don't listen to music or scroll through your phone as you fish. Feel the peacefulness enter your body, and think about all the good things in life. While you are standing there enjoying your time in nature, also think about a little boy named "Will" and how much joy he experienced from this simple act."
For a grown child
"As most of you know, Sally was an avid fisher. I think that this says much more about her than ‘she loved to fish.’ This hobby taught her to persevere, have a positive mindset, and take things one day at a time. These characteristics helped her as she battled lung cancer."
What People Expect From a Eulogy for a Fisher
When a person attends a funeral, they want to hear a eulogy that says positive things about the deceased while capturing the essence of their personality. This can be a tricky endeavor, especially if you had a complicated relationship with the person who died.
With all that said, taking the time out to write and deliver a eulogy peppered with the vibrance of your deceased loved one’s life can help people honor their memory in a positive way. It can be a lovely way of memorializing a loved one who felt at peace with just a fishing rod and all that water in front of them.