How to write a eulogy
What is a eulogy?
A eulogy if often referred to as the “oral memorial” in honor of the loved one who has passed. Eulogy speeches are given when a loved one passes, usually at the funeral or memorial service. Usually, the eulogy will be composed and delivered by a best friend, sibling, close relative or even the spouse in some cases. Often times the eulogy is also printed in the funeral program for attendees to follow along with. Composing a eulogy is an honorable task, if you have been asked by a spouse or closest loved on to do this it signifies a huge amount of trust.
So how does one get started writing a eulogy?
Well, eulogy styles are different everywhere, none are the same. If you have been asked to compose a eulogy then chances are your method of communicating may be just as valuable as what you have to say. Ask yourself, are you the storyteller, the funny-guy, or the straight-talker to the loved one and their family? If you are then keep you style as part of the eulogy. Always remember to be tasteful and respectful, if you are in doubt of the appropriateness of something that you are considering including, ask the loved ones closest to the deceased what they think about it. If you ask, you must be open to their suggestions and feelings. Writing styles, feelings and life stories certainly are a lot to navigate in this process, but if you keep an open mind in your writing to the loved one, the family and yourself, you will deliver a loving and respectful message and your eulogy will be a comforting success.
So what does one put in a eulogy?
This again is open to you if you have been asked, but keep in mind to “keep it meaningful”. The best eulogies are not usually riddled with facts and dates, although some of that is certainly appropriate. Tell a story of the loved one’s life to the attendees that highlights the best of what they did and what they meant to you and the family. Below is a basic outline to use if you would like a “general format” to consider while writing.
- Introduce yourself and give your relationship to the deceased
- Thank guest for attending the service
Talk about the qualities and characteristics of the deceased that made them special
- Tell about special characteristics of the person…who were they?
- Tell of stories that happened with the deceased or their family
- Talk about their goals and ambitions…what did they reach for?
- Tell what you learned from that person…what did the person teach others?
- Discuss personal achievements or passions of the deceased…what did they do?
Offer comforting thoughts to the audience
- A favorite memorial poem
- A favorite quote
- Read a passage from the Bible, or a favorite author of the deceased that is suitable
- Offer up a final goodbye to the deceased, this can be direct or indirect