I have been asked to read out a letter at a funeral- how best to prepare for this?

(16 Posts)
ilikeyoursleeves Sun 13-Nov-11 22:17:22

Hi, not sure if this is the right area to post this but my best friends mum passed away on Thursday and she has asked me to read a letter out at the funeral. This letter is from a relative who lives overseas, and when I got it tonight it is just so emotional. Lots of references to my friends mum but also my friend.

I feel honoured to be asked to read it but I am bricking it re the possibilty that I really might break down while reading it, or choke at certain bits and find it hard to continue.

Anyone have any tips for preparing to read such an emotional letter at what will be a very emotional occasion?

OP’s posts: |
YourCallIsImportant Sun 13-Nov-11 22:53:34

Practice reading it out loud lots and lots of times so that you get used to the emotion of it. Maybe record it and play it back to hear how it sounds.

Littlefish Sun 13-Nov-11 22:59:16

I agree with YourCall - keep reading out loud until it feels less emotionally charged to you.

Read it twice as slowly as you think you need to.

Mark where you are going to breathe so you don't run out of breath halfway through a sentence

Write each sentence or paragraph in a different colour so you don't lose your place.

Don't look at anyone in the congregation. Look just above the top of their heads to the back of the church/chapel. They will think you are looking at them, but you won't meet anyone's eye.

Good luck!

WhoremoaneeGrainger Mon 14-Nov-11 12:25:06

I agree with reading it many times in advance, and also with the point of focus.

I read some stuff my brothers and i had written about our dad at his funeral, and a very emotional poem one of them had written, and just focused on the speaker at the back of the church. If i had looked at any one in particular i think i would have broken down.

Good luck.

SoupDragon Mon 14-Nov-11 12:31:15

I had to read a poem at a friend's XHs funeral last year when the children couldn't do it. I hate public speaking of any sort.

I had read it through just the once and, when I did it, I focussed on the paper on front of me and made absolutely no eye contact with the congregation. As Littlefish says, look over their heads - they won't know.

PigletJohn Mon 14-Nov-11 12:40:49

There will probably be a sort of lectern you can put it on. It may actually help to re-write on a big piece of paper using felt-tip, so it is easier to read (don't forget your glasses and a hankie) as you eyes may get wet.

If you can scan the rest of the congregation's faces (you may think you can't) it will be more effective for you and for them. They will be sympathetic and won't mind if you have to pause and recover yourself.

I would recommend putting your finger on the page and following the words so you don't lose your place.

Pause and take a breath at the end of each sentence, and if your voice goes or you run out of breath. If you get lost, don't go back to the beginning.

Pitch it at the person in the back row. Concentrate on speaking to them, and the others will be able to hear you.


SoupDragon Mon 14-Nov-11 12:48:19

Speak slower than you would in a normal conversation.

Checkmate Mon 14-Nov-11 12:59:49

Find out if you'll be speaking into a microphone or not. If not then you need to practice reading it loudly; standing at the top of your stairs with a friend listening downstairs is a good way to do this.

knightofalbion Tue 15-Nov-11 12:24:41

I think it's all a question of getting yourself in the right frame of mind. Take comfort in the fact that they have gone to a better place, are at peace and (if they were ill) are not suffering anymore.

I always say that when you think of a departed loved you should remember them with a happy smile and a happy heart, for this is surely what they want.

jeee Tue 15-Nov-11 12:28:20

If you really feel you can't do it, I think you need to say. My mother wanted me to read a letter to my sister at my sister's memorial service. Whilst this was the last thing I could do for my sister, I eventually realised that it was impossible for me. I'd have never got through it.

Everyone else has given great advice, so best wishes.

worldgonecrazy Tue 15-Nov-11 12:32:05

I've taken a few funeral services and all of the advice above is great. Keep reading it aloud, over and over.

And don't worry if you do cry during the reading. Most of the funeral services I have taken have been for friends. I would have been less than human if I didn't show emotion during their funeral service.

If you do break down, take a second and give yourself a few deep breaths, then one more breath than you think you need to find your equilibrium.

ilikeyoursleeves Tue 15-Nov-11 16:37:46

Thanks all, I have read it over loads and have just about got it so I don't cry now. I am hoping I will be OK but my main worry is that crying is a bit of a chain reaction so if I see my friend or her dad crying, I might blub then not be able to stop or read the message.

Funeral is tomorrow so i will tell you how it goes.

OP’s posts: |
Northernlurker Tue 15-Nov-11 16:40:34

My technique for not crying is to mentally explain the off side rule in my head to myself. It works very well.

If you really struggle the vicar or whoever is taking the funeral will step in. They are well used to that.

ilikeyoursleeves Wed 16-Nov-11 21:04:36

Well, I managed to read it all, wibbled at the bit where my friend was mentioned, then totally started sobbing at the end blush. Managed to get to the end though, just. I felt so silly though as my friend and her dad coped so well all day.

I am also 7 weeks PG (friend doesn't know yet) so highly emotional!

Thanks for all your helpful advice smile

OP’s posts: |
SoupDragon Wed 16-Nov-11 22:34:29

Well done for getting through it. Most of it smile

Littlefish Thu 17-Nov-11 06:33:49

Well done ilike. You should feel very proud of yourself.

Congratulations on your pregnancy too. smile

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