capturing life stories & eulogy writing


The best time to capture a story is now. The best time to prepare for a eulogy is anywhere between now and the days immediately preceding your death – if you know when that will be. As most of us don’t know, now is best.

What is ‘your life story’?

Your life story is exactly that. It is your retelling of your life experiences. It can include memories and anecdotes from childhood. It might have a focus on your family or your career. It might mark the major events in your life or capture your achievements.

It is your opportunity to tell your story, find a way remind others of your presence in their lives, one way for you to remembered. You might be more than capable of writing your own story. If that's the case, don't delay... Get started now. No matter how much we might think ourselves immortal, history has a way of proving every one of us wrong! As surely as we are born and take our first breath, we will take our last breath and die. Don't let your story go untold because you think you'll have "time to do it later". Sometimes later never comes and sometimes death comes sooner than we think!

If you don't feel like you have the skill or capability to write your own story, help is at hand.

Jacqui Chaplin is based in Melbourne and is available to visit you or a loved one in the Melbourne Metro area and surrounds to capture your or your loved one's life story. It can be taken down in notes, voice recorded or a video can be recorded. It can be done one-to-one or while members of the family and close friends are present. Who attends or not is at your discretion.

The resulting life story is then creatively written to capture your values, what was important to you, who was important to you, your essence, the things you want remembered and recalled.

What is a ‘eulogy’?

A eulogy is an often misunderstood part of an end-of-life celebrations or commemorations. Ask five different people what they think a eulogy is and you may well get five different answers.

The word 'eulogy' comes from the Greek. In its most poetic form it means 'fine words of praise'. Its literal translation is 'good (eu-) words (-logy)'.

Some more traditional members of the funeral and celebrants fraternity think a eulogy should follow a strict formula. A formula which starts at birth and details the main events of a persons' life, usually in increments of about ten years, until death. And perhaps a few anecdotes and memories are added along the way. The formulaic eulogy can be tedious to write and deliver and just as tedious to hear. Some people have lived a lot of life and achieved many wonderful things and been to many wonderful places. Their eulogies can be quite long - sometimes feeling like a litany of dates and occurrence and making a process out of their personal and family lives... robbing them of the love, the passion and the interest that may have existed in a person's life.

One issue when using a traditional and formulaic approach to writing a eulogy is that a person may have led a simple and down-to-earth life. One that more of us are likely to have lived than not. So there might be a less than stellar, more regular kind of life to talk about.

So what are some alternatives to traditional and formulaic eulogies?

Firstly, it's your or your loved one's end-of-life commemoration. If you don't want a traditional, formulaic eulogy you do not have to have one! Don't let anyone tell you it's 'not proper' if you don't have a eulogy.

There are many options for telling your or a loved one's life story in interesting, creative and imaginative ways. The 'Story of You' can take many different forms. It can be done in words, telling your life story through poetry or prose, through song or dance. Through pictures and imagery with music or narration. It can follow your life chronologically or it can feature highlights or the funnest things you've done. It can be shared by one person or by many. You are only limited by your, your celebrant or your funeral director's willingness to engage both imagination and creativity.

If your being told 'it can't be done' or you get that subtle but all to clear message about 'how things should be done' according to a celebrant or a funeral director then start looking elsewhere. There is generally plenty of time to find support that is a good fit for what you want. Don't regret the outcome because you think you had to stick with the first people you contacted! Expect more. Ask more. Explore more,

Getting your story captured…

Getting your story captured is as easy as picking up the phone and dialing +61 (0)412 741 531 or sending an email to jacqui@jacquichaplin.com. Depending on where you are in the world, arrangements can be made to have however many conversations are required, to capture your story. Conversations can be face-to-face, online or over the telephone. It can be as free-flowing or as guided as you like. It can capture the minutiae of your life, your key achievements, major events or values and messages.. or a combination of any or all of those parts of life mentioned.

After talking together, your story is then written and returned to you for approval. This might include correcting dates and names, revising contents, adding or removing elements as you choose. There are then a range of options available when it comes to receiving and publishing your story for posterity. You can have anything from the e-copy of your story in PDF or a full colour book that includes pictures to complement your story.

Having your Eulogy prepared

Capturing your story and preparing your or a loved one's eulogy are very similar processes and can have similar final production options. The key difference is in the purpose and usage of the end document.

Your story can be as long or as short as you like, whereas the preparation of a eulogy has to fit within the end-of-life commemoration that is being designed and delivered. Each eulogy is customised for you or your loved one. And again, can include whatever content you desire with as much or as little guidance available as per your requirements.

Coming soon... some sample eulogies to enable you to get a feel for my style and your options.

Writing your own story

This is all up to you... Put pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard, just make a start.Let it flow and see where it goes. There is no right way or wrong way. There are however, many different and creative ways to 'pen your story'. You are only limited by your imagination, inclination and willingness to begin!

Preparing your own eulogy

The idea of preparing your own eulogy is designed to make it easier for your loved one's to have access to the dates and times, the people and places that are important in the story of your life.

It could be a timeline, a bullet pointed list or your happy ramblings. The idea is to allow your family to write a fitting eulogy or to brief someone else who is writing your eulogy on the family's behalf. It may surprise you (or not) about how many people have a sketchy recollection, at best, of their parents or loved one's life. That can be because the conversation about life before you entered their world never came up in conversation. It might be because your life is over-flowing with stories, dates, places you've lives or people you've met.

Coming soon... a range of things to consider when preparing for capturing the details of your life for a eulogy.


For inquires about how Jacqui can help you capture a life story and/or prepare and write a eulogy call +61 (0)412 741 531 to have a chat or email me at jacqui@jacquichaplin.com about what is possible.

There is no obligation or fee applicable for the first conversation.

Go to the Just One Life Home Page.
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Jacqui also provides funeral arranging and commemoration services. Click here for more information.


































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