Many of us may not fully understand how to write a eulogy for a dearly departed family member or friend. It can be daunting due to the sheer pressure to encapsulate a person’s life story in a few minutes while dealing with one’s own grief.
Writing eulogies may seem overwhelming in the beginning. But always remember that a eulogy is not just a speech. It’s a tribute, a remembrance, and a way to share memories of someone who has passed on.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through crafting a meaningful eulogy for friends and family members, ensuring you honour their memory in the best possible way.
Table of Contents
What Is The Purpose Of A Eulogy?
Key Points To Include Your Eulogy
Every individual’s journey is distinct, and their eulogy should reflect that uniqueness. However, certain universal elements can guide the structure of your speech.
Birthplace And Significant Life Events
Delve into the milestones that shaped their life story. These pivotal moments offer a glimpse into their journey, from graduation and marriages to the birth of children and career achievements.
Names Of Close Family Members
A eulogy isn’t just about the departed; it’s also a nod to those they left behind. Mentioning close relatives not only personalises the speech but also acknowledges the grieving loved ones in attendance.
Passions And Interests
Every person has passions that ignite their spirit. Whether it was a hobby, a craft, or a cause they championed, you can consider discussing these interests to showcase the depth of their character.
Contributions To The Community
Many leave behind a legacy that extends beyond their immediate circle. Highlight their contributions, be it through community service, clubs, or society memberships. This showcases their impact and the void their absence creates.
10 Tips For Writing A Eulogy
Crafting a eulogy for a funeral or memorial service is a profound responsibility. It’s a chance to encapsulate a person’s life in words, offering solace to grieving loved ones. Here are some tips to guide you through this process:
1. Be Authentic
There’s no right or wrong way to write a eulogy. The most meaningful tribute comes from the heart, reflecting genuine feelings and memories.
2. Take Deep Breaths
Before you begin writing, take a few deep breaths. This not only calms the nerves but also helps in channelling emotions onto paper.
3. Seek Inspiration
Look at eulogy examples to understand the tone and structure. It can provide direction, especially if you need help figuring out where to start.
4. Engage With Memories
Spend time revisiting favourite memories, childhood experiences, and key moments shared with the departed. These personal memories can form the core of your eulogy.
5. Avoid Controversies
While it’s essential to be honest, steer clear of controversial topics or anything that might upset attendees. Focus on the positive aspects of the person’s life.
6. Engage The Audience
When you are at the point of delivering the eulogy, make eye contact and speak slowly. Remember, you’re not just sharing a life story; you’re connecting with others in their grieving process.
7. Incorporate Readings
If the deceased had favourite poems, quotes, or funeral readings, consider integrating them. It adds a personal touch and resonates with the audience.
8. Structure Is Key
While there are no fast rules, having a clear structure helps. Whether you opt for a chronological order or a thematic approach, ensure your eulogy flows seamlessly.
9. Seek Feedback
Before the memorial service or funeral service, share your eulogy with close relatives or friends. They can offer insights, correct any oversights, and provide emotional support.
10. Conclude With A Hopeful Statement
End your eulogy on a hopeful note. It’s a moment of closure, not just for you but for everyone attending the service.
Example Prompts To Help You Write A Eulogy
Introduction And Relationships
- How did you know the deceased? Describe your relationship.
- What’s a word or phrase that encapsulates your feelings towards them?
- How would you describe the bond you shared with the deceased in one sentence?
- What was a unique aspect of your relationship with them?
- What’s the earliest memory you have of the deceased?
- Were there any childhood stories or family anecdotes that were often retold?
- How did the deceased’s upbringing or early life shape who they became?
- Can you recall a specific event from their youth that profoundly impacted them?
Personal Qualities And Achievements
- List three qualities that defined the deceased.
- Can you recall a time when they showcased these qualities?
- What were some of the deceased’s proudest achievements?
- How did these qualities or achievements affect or inspire those around them?
- Describe a memorable experience you shared with the deceased.
- How did this experience strengthen or define your relationship?
- Were there challenges you faced together? How did you overcome them?
- Can you think of a time when the two of you celebrated a significant milestone or achievement?
Hobbies, Interests, and Passions
- What were the deceased’s hobbies or passions?
- Can you share a story highlighting their dedication or love for these interests?
- How did they discover or develop these passions?
- Were there any particular events or experiences tied to these interests that they often discussed?
Lessons And Legacy
- What life lessons did you learn from the deceased?
- How has the deceased influenced or changed your life?
- What values or beliefs did they hold dear?
- How do you see their legacy living on in the lives of others?
Quotes And Readings
- Were there any quotes, poems, or scriptures the deceased lived by or frequently mentioned?
- How do these readings resonate with their life or values?
- Did the deceased have a favourite author or book that influenced their perspective?
- Were there songs or lyrics that held special meaning for them?
Their Impact On Others
- How did the deceased impact the lives of others around them?
- Can you share a story where the deceased went out of their way to help or support someone?
- How did they nurture or support relationships in their life?
- Were there community or social causes they were passionate about?
Humour And Light-Hearted Memories
- If you’re going for a funny eulogy, share a fun or light-hearted memory of the deceased.
- How did their sense of humour or joy affect those around them?
- Can you recall an instance when they turned a challenging situation into a moment of laughter?
- Were there any quirks or habits they had that always brought a smile to your face?
- How would you like the deceased to be remembered?
- What message or sentiment would you like to leave the audience with?
- If you could say one last thing to the deceased, what would it be?
- How do you envision carrying forward their memory in your own life?
How To Deliver A Eulogy
Delivering a eulogy can be nerve-wracking for anyone. Communicating your heartfelt thoughts while ensuring you do justice to a person’s life can be unnerving. But just as with writing, delivering a fitting tribute can be successfully achieved with a few key tips.
Prepare Mentally: Understand that emotions might overwhelm you. Take a few deep breaths before you begin, grounding yourself in the moment and preparing to deliver the funeral speech.
Rehearse: Spend time rehearsing your speech. This helps with fluency and prepares you emotionally for the actual delivery.
Maintain Eye Contact: Engage with the audience. Eye contact helps convey sincerity and establishes a connection with the grieving loved ones.
Speak Slowly: It’s natural to rush when nervous, but remember to speak slowly. This ensures clarity and allows the audience to absorb the words.
Use Notes/Script if Needed: While some choose to memorise the eulogy, it’s perfectly acceptable to use notes. It can serve as a guide, ensuring you cover all key points.
Acknowledge Emotions: It’s okay to be emotional. If you are overwhelmed, take a moment, breathe, and continue when ready.
End with Gratitude: Conclude by thanking everyone for being present in the service, acknowledging the collective grief and the support it represents.
Conclusion On How To Write A Eulogy
Writing a eulogy is a profound responsibility but also an opportunity. It allows us to celebrate the lives of our loved ones, share stories, and find closure.
While it’s a challenging task, with the right approach and mindset, you can craft a eulogy that perfectly honours the memory of a father, mother, sibling, relative, or close friend who once walked with you through life’s greatest hurdles.
Frequently Asked Questions On How To Write A Eulogy
How Long Should A Eulogy Be?
A typical eulogy lasts 5 to 10 minutes, but focusing on content rather than length is essential.
Are There Eulogies In Buddhist Funerals?
Yes, you can include eulogies in Buddhist funerals. You may wish to include the deceased’s virtues and teachings of the Buddha that held special significance to the deceased.
What Should You Not Say In A Eulogy?
When crafting a eulogy, being respectful and considerate of the audience’s feelings is essential. Avoid delving into controversial topics, unresolved personal grievances, or any subject that might polarise or upset the attendees.
Remember, a eulogy is a tribute to the deceased, focusing on their positive attributes, shared memories, and their impact on others. It’s a time for unity, reflection, and healing, not for airing grievances or rehashing old disputes.
Do You Need To Memorise A Eulogy?
Not necessarily. While memorising a eulogy can make the delivery seem more heartfelt, you don’t need to. Given the emotional weight of the occasion, it’s perfectly acceptable to read from a script or notes.
The most important aspect is to speak genuinely and from the heart, ensuring your words resonate with the attendees and truly honour the memory of the deceased.
Who Gives A Eulogy?
Traditionally, close family members or friends deliver the eulogy. However, the choice of the eulogist should be based on the connection and relationship they shared with the deceased.
It could be a lifelong friend, a colleague, or a neighbour. The key is that the person delivering the eulogy should be able to capture the essence of the deceased’s life, sharing stories and memories that resonate with the attendees.
Do Funeral Services Need Eulogies?
Eulogies are not mandatory for funeral services but add a deeply personal touch. They provide an opportunity for attendees to remember and celebrate the deceased’s life, focusing on their achievements, qualities, and the memories shared.
Eulogies can offer comfort, allowing attendees to reflect on the positive impact the deceased had on their lives and the lives of others. While not obligatory, eulogies enhance the commemorative aspect of funeral services.