When someone passes away, it is a devastating, often life-changing, event.
Having someone die is perhaps one of the most painful experiences, and it can be difficult to put into words just how you felt to hear of their passing.
What are some ways to describe someone who has passed?
There are various terms for describing someone who has died, such as “the departed,” “deceased,” and “late.”
Once you’re able to cope with their loss and feel comfortable describing them, you can feel free to speak about them during a eulogy using these terms.
Eulogies are comprised of positive memories of a person, their accomplishments, and even some of the ways they grew as a person and changed their life for the better.
When someone dies, euphemisms allow us to describe them without saying that they outright died, and also allow us to be able to refer to them in a respectful manner.
Some of the most common euphemisms for the dead include:
- The departed, which can be used to describe one or more dead individuals. This term is commonly used in church settings.
- The deceased, which is a simple, yet effective way of describing someone who had died either recently or long ago.
- Late, as in her late husband or his late sister. Late is added before describing someone’s relationship to another person or to the beginning of their name. For instance, you will commonly hear the term the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to describe the civil rights activist.
In addition to euphemisms, you can also refer to someone directly by their name or by a nickname during their eulogy or in their obituary.
However, it’s best to put someone’s nickname into context to avoid confusing the loved ones of the deceased.
Using euphemisms is a sign of respect, can help you cope with someone’s death, and can allow you to feel better when describing them to others.
Below are some other tips to help you cope and prepare for a eulogy or funeral.
Before you speak about someone in a bigger setting, it’s important to take care of your health first.
Experiencing the loss of a loved one can negatively impact someone’s health.
Research has shown that the death of a loved one is one of the greatest psychological stressors in life.
In fact, rates of death and lower mortality are evident after someone dies. How can someone’s death cause such a massive impact?
There are various feelings that someone’s death can bring up. These include:
Depending on how important your loved one was in your life, it can be difficult to let go of them and recover from their death.
Below are some tips you can use to recover from grief, gain the strength to talk during their eulogy, and improve your mental health.
Professional therapists are some of the best resources you can use to improve your emotional health.
Therapists are trained in helping people recognize their emotions, tune in to their own mental health, and develop coping strategies during their grieving period.
Professional counselors can aid during the grieving period by providing therapies such as:
- Behavioral therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Talk therapy
- Grief counseling
- Spiritual-based counseling
It can be incredibly difficult to get through the grieving period without professional help. This is especially true if you have a pre-existing mental illness.
In fact, research has shown that the grieving period can actually be a precursor to mental illness.
The sudden death of a loved one can trigger serious psychiatric disorders such as:
- Phobias (or specific fears)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Major depression
Unfortunately, this can occur even in people without any existing mental health conditions.
If you’ve been tasked with speaking about a loved one but are now suffering from one of the above psychiatric conditions or another mental illness, it’s best to seek help from a therapist before speaking in front of an audience.
Journaling has been shown to improve your immune health and help you cope with the loss of a loved one.
Journaling can allow you to write down feelings you may have bottled up inside.
Bottling up emotions has actually been shown to have a negative impact on your health, leading to increased blood pressure and stress.
In order to improve your well-being and let out your emotions, use a journal to write down your thoughts and feelings.
Journaling sessions don’t have to last too long. All it takes is 15 to 30 minutes of journaling in order to get the most benefit from your writing sessions.
If you’re expected to write a eulogy and say a couple of words during a funeral, journaling is also a powerful way to brainstorm speech ideas.
Evidence has shown that self-care and focusing on oneself is one of the best ways to reach a solution.
This includes finding solutions to process emotions after the death of a loved one. You may find yourself wondering: How will I go on? What will become of our family?
How can I recover from this time? These are all questions that can be answered during quiet moments of reflection.
They are also questions that can lead to feelings of despair.
It can be difficult to find the time to say nice things about someone after they die when you’re so caught up in the negative aspects of their death.
Fortunately, by taking some time to practice self-care, you’ll be able to find solutions to these problems and find ways to cope.
Finally, one of the most powerful ways to process your emotions after a death is simply to talk about them.
Talking about your emotions, even if it’s venting with your friends, is an easy way to let out your feelings and find support.
Whether it’s talking to your therapist, talking to your loved ones, or talking to your friends, these are all great ways to vent and heal.
If you don’t have anyone to talk to, there are grief support groups available. This leads us to the next issue.
This is a difficult question to answer for people that have had a negative relationship with the person who has died.
It isn’t illegal to express your emotions about bad people in your life. In fact, this can also be cathartic when expressed in the right settings.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about expressing your thoughts about dead people is the context in which you say them.
For instance, you don’t want to attend a funeral and speak ill of someone with their family present.
Even if they have wronged you in some way, letting out those feelings in public can do more harm than good.
Funerals are full of family members that have personal ties to the dead.
If you’re a member of someone’s funeral, you wouldn’t want someone to speak ill about their past mistakes.
Although it’s important to remain genuine during a funeral and when describing someone, people at funerals deserve to process their feelings at their own pace and feel their loved one is being respected.
They are innocent bystanders that are owed that level of respect.
If you are to address a loved one during a funeral and have had trouble with them before, it’s not a good idea to air out your grievances in public.
However, if someone brings up your past with the person, feel free to share the truth.
If someone asks you directly, this is your chance to speak the truth and allow everyone to understand your relationship with the person.
If you’re to write an obituary about someone or need to read a speech you’ve written, there are various things to include in your story that can make it more powerful.
Certain things you can write about include:
- The person’s upbringing
- Where they went to school and started their career
- Personal memories with them (if they are bad memories, there are ways to include these and word them appropriately)
- Their personal accomplishments
- What they did in the community
- How other members of the community viewed them
- Positive life changes they’ve made
Interviewing and adding other people’s stories can make your obituary all the more powerful.
As human beings, losing a loved one is a devastating part of life. We all, at some point, will lose our parents, friends, siblings, or even our pets.
When we do, this can be a trying period that can negatively impact mental health.
Before you begin to write an obituary or share your feelings with others, it’s important to take into consideration your own feelings.
Once you’re able to fully process your feelings, it’s easier to speak about a loved one that’s passed away.