Finding the right words at a time of loss can understandably cause a eulogist much angst and apprehension. How does one commemorate and honor a person whose life feels like a miracle and whose passing still feels incomprehensible? Fortunately, this book of eulogies can offer guidance as well as inspiration for the bereaved. For example, Wallace Stegner writes a specific yet universal memory to his mother Hilda: "I have a clear mental image of your pursed lips and your crinkling eyes, and I know that nothing I can say will persuade you that I was ever less than you thought me."
Included here are the wrenchingly beautiful eulogies to great loves, including Lillian Hellman's final words to the love of her life, Dashiell Hammett, and Henry Miller's tribute to his legendary lover, Anaïs Nin. And it must have been with bottomless sorrow that Edward Kennedy mustered his tender and deeply personal tribute to his second slain brother, Robert Kennedy. These are all heartfelt and eloquent words, certain to comfort and aid the eulogist. --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
Comprised of eulogies from the 20th century, as well as, poetic elegies, condolence letters and tombstone epitaphs spanning from the 17th century to the present, this eclectic sourcebook offers inspiration for anyone seeking to memorialize a loved one. Since the mourners and the dead in each instance are well-known writers (Lillian Hellman eulogizes Dashiell Hammett) and public figures (Reverend Jesse Jackson lays Jackie Robinson to rest), the collection is a bonanza for the morbidly minded browser as well. The authors vary in skill, but all of the tributes are characterized by genuine feelings of loss. Outstanding examples include Wallace Stegner's moving eulogy for his mother and Noa Ben Artzi-Pelossof's simple, passionate declaration of love for her grandfather, Yitzhak Rabin. Many of the condolence letters are of historical interest, such as Abigail Adams's condolences to her estranged friend Thomas Jefferson upon the death of his daughter. Also included is the letter accused spy Ethel Rosenberg wrote to her sons on the day she and her husband were executed. Whereas most of the elegies by poets Dickinson, Longfellow and others are consoling, some of the inscriptions in the short selection of epitaphs provide a dose of leavening humor: "Here lie my husbands One Two Three, Dumb as men could ever be."
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