The hardest part about laying a loved one to rest for me has never been the funeral nor the burial. No, what brings me to tears is the viewing, usually held the day before the funeral, where friends and family gather to pay condolences and say goodbye. In our culture, there’s a moment during the prayer service when the pastor asks if anyone would like to share a few words about the deceased. During the remembrances, you realize how many people loved him or her as much as you did, and you often learn he or she lived a life you never knew existed.
This summer, my grandmother died. At her prayer service, more than one mourner remembered how clean she kept her farmhouse. So clean she wouldn’t allow my imaginary dog Digger inside. Her bachelor brothers-in-law would straighten up before the “White Tornado” arrived.
If your character died, what would be said at the prayer service? What stories would be told? What qualities would be remembered?
Or, as Blair Hurley over at Creative Writing Corner asks, what would be said in the eulogy?
What will you find to say about his failings, his greatest virtues, the most important moments of his life? What were his great loves? What did he spend his life fighting against? And if he was character who seemed exceedingly good or exceedingly bad, what can you tell your imagined audience about what they didn’t know, what was unexpected?