I’ve been away for a while. On April 5, 2011, my beautiful, wonderful sister Sandra died unexpectedly. It was a shock for the entire family. She was so special, it’s difficult to put into words. But I had to, as I agreed to write and deliver one of her eulogies. I was honoured to be able to do this one last thing for her. While I was writing my talk, I realized just how important words can be – and just how inadequate they seem when it comes to summing up someone’s life in 5 minutes.

When Sandra’s sons asked if I would do a eulogy, my first reaction was panic. I have written and delivered hundreds of speeches – but standing in front of a church full of grieving mourners and speaking about someone whose death turned my heart inside out was different. If you are asked someday to deliver a eulogy for someone you love, I encourage you to say yes. I found it difficult, but therapeutic. And I simply followed the advice of one of my nephews: if it comes from the heart, it will be great.