When families are grieving a loved one, we know the importance of writing a memorable eulogy that both honors their memory and captures who they were.
But it’s difficult to tell a life story with only a few minutes and limited space to include details about them. That’s why we’ve created this resource to ease stress when funeral planning.
The eulogy should reflect the deceased as a whole person. It’s about telling stories rather than facts about their life. Focus on their positive aspects, not the negative.
Before writing, determine who you’re writing for, whether it’s on behalf of a family member or for yourself. It may help to create a theme that reflects who they were. Some examples include mother, father, writer, doctor, sports fan, or whatever made them special. You also should decide the overall tone, such as sentimental or funny.
At the beginning of your eulogy, mention your relationship to the deceased for those who may not know you. You could start the eulogy with a funny or touching story, a memorial quote or poem, or the deceased’s words of advice they always told you.
The life stories you tell should show what kind of person the deceased was. They don’t have to be in chronological order; put them in a meaningful order that makes sense to you. For example, share a story about when the deceased helped someone in need or impacted your life in an unforgettable way. Find little details to mention that capture the deceased’s personality.
Everything should tie together at the end of your eulogy. You can leave everyone with one last story or a special quote or memorial poem to wrap up the eulogy. This also is a good time to express thanks for the time you had with the deceased.
Edit, Revise, Repeat
After you’ve finished your eulogy draft, you should proofread it and have someone else look it over as well. Delete unnecessary details and check for any grammatical or factual errors.
Once you’re satisfied with the edits and revisions, practice your eulogy beforehand. Eulogies are typically around three to four minutes long, but it can vary depending on your family’s wishes. Also, make sure your handwriting is readable or printed in a big enough size if typed.
Delivering the Eulogy
Remember to speak slowly and clearly when delivering your eulogy. Try not to be nervous; remember that it’s about the deceased, not you. Don’t worry about any little stumbles over words. It’s okay to cry; give yourself a little time and then continue to read.
These are a few simple public speaking tips to calm your nerves when delivering your eulogy:
- Take deep breaths
- Visualize yourself being successful
- Make eye contact with loved ones
- Have water nearby
Thanks for the tip to finish the eulogy by sharing a special story and expressing thanks for the time we got to spend with them. I was asked to deliver the eulogy at the funeral service for my cousin next week. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed about how to create a meaningful eulogy, so the advice you shared here is really helpful.
I like your suggestion to have someone else proofread the eulogy after we’ve finished it to check for any factual errors or improvements in grammar that could be made. My family and I are working to plan the funeral for my aunt who passed away in a car crash last weekend. My mom wasn’t feeling very confident about writing the eulogy, so I’ll be sure to share your advice with her soon.