Firstly, I would like to offer you my condolences for your loss. Losing a loved one is a painful experience at any time but now, during the Covid-19 circumstances, arranging a funeral has become more challenging than ever. With so many funeral attendees having to participate via video link, finding the right words has become so important in making that final goodbye.
I know from my own personal experience, losing my father four years ago, how difficult it can be to be in the “right place”, have the headspace required, to write a eulogy just after a bereavement. This is your final opportunity to bring your loved one to life; for everyone to formally remember that person, together, one last time. This is where I aim to help; you tell me all about your loved one, their faith, their spirit, their idiosyncrasies, and I will help to bring them to life on the page, for you or one of your family members, or a Celebrant, to read out, as a eulogy at their funeral service.
A little about me…
If you have had a peruse around my website, you’ll already know that writing is my thing. I have been a writer of women’s commercial fiction for over a decade and a published author since 2017. In addition, I am training to be a psychodynamic counsellor and have already achieved Certificate in Counselling Skills. Women’s fiction focuses on relationships, feelings and emotions and finding a balance for the reader. Humour is an important aspect of this process because, what would life be without a little laughter? Counselling skills involve listening and empathy in order to understand the client’s internal world; how they are feeling, or, to put in another way, how you felt about your loved one. The writing and listening skills I have equip me with the unique ability to really understand, through you, who your loved one was and how we can work together to bring them to life, one final time.
How it works
Together, from the moment you reach out to me, we will work together so not only do I get to know your loved one, but I get to know you. This is vital in the eulogy sounding just as if you wrote it because, in many ways, it really is you writing it; I’m just recreating your words, succinctly, for you to read out. Here is an outline of how the process works:
- You contact me via my contact form or message me via Facebook. Let me know your contact details and a brief outline of your loved one and when you know or think the funeral will be.
- I’ll acknowledge your query and arrange a time for us to chat. In the current social distancing circumstances phone/video call would be best, but if it’s too painful to chat, we can work through email.
- We’ll have a chat for approximately 30 – 45 minutes, where I can get to know you, learn about your loved one and understand about your family faith, if you have one. It is usual for a Celebrant to talk about your loved one’s life (details about place of birth, parents, siblings, marriage, children, etc.) leaving you to talk in more depth about your loved one’s personality, particular interests, and your happy memories, which is where our discussion will focus. However, if this isn’t the format of the funeral you are planning, we’ll discuss everything your eulogy needs to contain.
- I’ll spend some time compiling the eulogy for you. I have a flat rate fee for my service (see below), which is for approximately 2,000-2,500 words and will take approximately 15 – 20 minutes to read aloud. But we can tailor the eulogy length to meet your needs.
- I’ll send the draft eulogy over to you to read. We can have another chat, if it’s not quite right for you, or if you have any edits.
- Once all edits are complete, I’ll send the final document over to you in word and pdf, plus 2 hard copies in the post, if you don’t have access to a printer, all in good time for the funeral.
For the above service I charge a flat rate fee of £150.00. If you need something slightly longer than 2,000 words/ approx. 20-minute speech (e.g. if only you are speaking and there will not be a celebrant), then we can discuss my hourly rate and I can quote you a price for you to agree, before we get started. I know this can be a challenging time, so if you are a low-income family, keen to give your loved one the best send-off possible, please do contact me and let’s talk about what I could write for your budget.
Below are a couple of eulogy excerpts, to give you an example of how I use memories to bring a loved one to life:
“Dad loved a laugh and my first encounter of this was his propensity to give people nicknames. I can see myself now shouting, ‘I’m not your fairy!’ at him and I used to wish the ground would swallow me up when he would always refer to one of my childhood friends as ‘Clair de Lune.’ One of my earliest memories is him coming home from work and talking to my mum about his day and he would refer to people by the nickname he had given them. There was Chatters, who was Brian Chatfield (which was obviously an affectionate one), but there were others such as Parker and Plonker which were not attributed in the same vain. I am pretty sure, even now, that that Parker was not because he was Mr Parker, rather he was a nosey parker. And it really was Dad’s ability to find laughter in the grimmest of situations which allowed us to get through the last few months of his life.
You see, the week Dad was diagnosed as being terminally ill, we got a puppy. His name’s Sparky because my husband’s an electrician. He’s a cross between a Vizsla and a Weimaraner and if you are familiar with these breeds you will know that he is a leggy gun dog and at nearly six months old he is already bigger than your average Labrador.
And in some respects, having Sparky has had a very positive effect on our family.
And in other’s , it’s been a catastrophic disaster.
But it’s only because it’s been a disaster that it’s had a positive effect. You see, I work from home and I was therefore meant to be around all the time to look after Sparky. And I felt awful that he was being left alone while I visited the hospital or nipped to look after Dad, at home, while Mum popped out. And I’d never had a dog before, my husband has, but I haven’t and as much as I love dogs, I didn’t realise what looking after one full-time would be like. I’d put my bowl of muesli down on my desk of a morning, pop back in the kitchen to collect my coffee and return to an empty bowl with the dog sitting in my chair, licking his lips, and looking at me as if to say:
‘What? I don’t like muesli.’
So, to say it was a challenge is an understatement. And then I started dog training and the saga continued, because all the other people there had cute, tiny puppies they could control and I had Clifford the Big Red Dog that got excited by everything and wanted to put his paws in everyone’s face. And I started to think, oh God! What have I done?
And the only way you can get this dog to do anything is to bribe him with a bit of sausage. So, I would go around to Dad’s and recount these stories and before long he started looking forward to my visits, and his face would brighten when I came through the door, and he’d say:
‘Oh, hello, it’s you! How’s the Phantom Sausage Sniffer?’
And it became our ‘thing’ really, and he would laugh at what the dog had done that day, be it burying the end of the hosepipe in the garden, being sick all over our bed, or running off in the field and not coming back. It really became the highlight of his day. So, I can reassure you, that even at the end of his life, Dad did not lose his sense of humour.”
“What comforts me the most, is that in the past week or so, so many of you have written and emailed to offer your condolences and two qualities about Dad have shone through. Firstly, many of you have said what a gentleman he was and secondly that he was someone you could always go to for advice. Indeed, only last month, when Dad was in hospital, knowing that he was dying, he found another elderly patient in the toilet, crying ,as he had just been given the news that his condition was terminal too. And it will not surprise you to know that Dad found it in him to console this man, help him come to terms with what was happening, through his own experience. Because that was the sort of man Dad was, he was always practical, and he always put the feelings and needs of others before his own.”
Lisa has an incredible gift – emotional intelligence. Lisa is a compassionate and empathetic writer and she really got to the core of what I was trying to say, when I struggled to put it into words myself. Lisa helped me navigate through times of difficulty when my mind was unclear and unable to be creative. I would highly and confidently recommend Lisa. Maddie, Cheltenham.
Lisa, you are a very talented writer and your guidance and contribution was greatly appreciated. Kirsti, Surrey.
Praise for Lisa Hill
“I loved Meet Me at Number Five and enjoyed reading about this family… Hill demonstrates just how important family can be in a crisis pulling, together such a lovely story.” Amazon Reader, March 2020.
“I love a book where you feel so emotionally invested that it’s almost as if you were there with them. Hill definitely delivered this and so much more in Heart in the Right Home. It will have you sitting on the edge of your seat, laughing so hard that tears roll down your face and at other times it will leave you frustrated that you can’t just jump into the story and throttle some of those more annoying characters.” The Glass House Girls, Amazon, September 2019
“There’s not just one story here, but many – and so well handled, with all those complications of family, history and relationships. The themes of family, friendship, and finding yourself are strong – and the writing’s really excellent.” Welsh Annie, Amazon, September 2019
“There is laughter and tears, heartache and heart-warming love, and plenty of drama woven between these pages and I highly recommend HEART IN THE RIGHT PLACE by Lisa Hill to every reader who wants a compelling story with characters that will feel like your family and friends.” Books of All Kinds, Amazon, October 2018
“Meet Me at Number Five is an accomplished novel. You are drawn into the world of the main characters right from the beginning and follow fascinated as their journeys unfold before you. I always say that a book that can make me cry is a good book – this one made me cry twice. There were also moments when I giggled with glee… Lisa has interwoven some serious subjects into the narrative with great skill. A lovely read.” Jayne, Amazon, July 2017.