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How to prepare for the family meeting

As personal as you want it.

A large part of a Humanist service is about giving a suitable tribute to the deceased. It would be very useful if you would look through this list of prompts before our meeting to help inspire some thoughts about what to include.
Please don’t view this list as something that you need to answer every part of, and don’t worry if you don’t know – or would rather not talk about – any specific details or particular topics. This is simply meant to give you something to think about and spark some memories before we meet so that I can put together a worthy tribute.


Date and place of birth.
What were their parent’s names and occupations?
Did they have any siblings (in order and with years of birth, if possible)?
What was home life like for them as a child?
Are there any stories from their youth?
Schooling: where did they go? Were there any particular subjects that they enjoyed or excelled at?
What happened after school?
Any significant life partners (husband, wife, partner,…)?
Where did they live (towns, etc.)?
Did they have any children? If so, names and years of birth are useful.
What did they do for work? Any long-term jobs?
What were their hobbies / interests?


What made them laugh?
Who were their friends?
What made them angry?
When were they happiest?
If you were to describe them in 3 or 4 words, what comes to mind?
What were they proud of?
If they had children, what sort of parent were they?
Where did they like to go on holiday to / travel to?
What did they struggle with in life?
What will you miss most about them not being around?
What did they worry about?
What were they passionate about?
How do you think they would they like to be remembered?
What was a typical day in their life like?
What about them made you laugh?
Any particular phrases or approaches to life that are typical? Catchphrases?
Any pets / animals?
TV / film?
What did they like cooking / eating / drinking?
How would other people describe them?
Foibles / idiosyncrasies?
How would life overall be described?
Role within family / groups of friends?
What did they wear?
Where do you picture them being? Snapshot of memory.


Do you intend to have a social gathering after the service? If so, where?
Would you like to ask for any charitable contributions? If so, to which charity?


Would anybody like to get up to say a few words?
Would you like there to be any poetry or prose readings?
Would you like any specific music to be played?
Would you like for there to be any live music played, perhaps by a friend or relative?

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