A eulogy is a speech that is given at a funeral. It can be extremely difficult to know where to begin or what to say, especially when emotions are involved – but our easy guide will help you along the way.
Where to start
A eulogy is a wonderful opportunity for those at the funeral to remember their loved one in a positive and uplifting light, and say goodbye. A great way to start writing a eulogy is by talking to the people who will be there – family and friends. This can help reveal forgotten stories, aspects of their life you didn’t know about, and little details that help create a rounded picture of that person. Talking to everyone is also a lovely way to connect and create a sense of inclusion.
What to include
There are no set rules to follow. The best eulogies capture and reflect the essence of the person. Through words, you can create an image of your loved one that friends and family can visualise and recognise. Here are three things you could include:
● Life highlights. This can take the form of a potted history, including notable events from childhood, education, work, family, sport, clubs, hobbies, causes etc.
● Stories or anecdotes. These can cover anything – how your loved one dealt with adversity, or how they inspired people. They can explore their approach to life or their commitment to their family. They can be more light-hearted and show their silly side, or even some of their eccentricities and quirks.
● A theme. As you gather information, you might notice a pattern or theme emerging. Again, it can be anything – the person’s kindness, or their love of sport, or their faith etc. This can be a useful way to structure the eulogy, to have a thread running throughout.
If you write honestly, from the heart, whatever you choose to include will further solidify the image of your loved one in people’s minds.
How to write
Once you’ve gathered the information you want to include, it’s time to start writing. There are different ways to do this. You can structure the eulogy chronologically – from the beginning of their life to the end. Some people find it helpful to write a letter to the departed, to talk directly to them. Others prefer to write a poem, which can be an excellent way to express feelings and emotions. You can incorporate multiple approaches if that helps – again, there are no set rules.
The most important thing to note here is that the eulogy will be read out and so it should be written with that in mind – language that looks good on paper might not sound as natural when spoken aloud. Try reading your speech out loud as you write it.
Are you ready to write?
Writing a eulogy can feel like a huge responsibility and it can understandably cause a degree stress.
● There is no right or wrong way to write a eulogy
● You can keep it short and sweet – around 5 minutes is the average length of a eulogy
● If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help
A lot of the information you include in a eulogy can also be used in an obituary. This is a brilliant way for the wider community to gain an insight into the person who has passed away.
You can create and share an online obituary by creating a free online memorial.