How to Write a Eulogy

Category: Words


Writing a funeral eulogy for a loved one can be a source of great comfort, giving you the chance to honour their life and say goodbye properly.

However, it can also be a somewhat daunting experience. Amid your grief and sadness at losing your family member or close friend, standing up in front of a large funeral gathering might not be a particularly easy thing to do.

But don’t fret, because with the right preparation, you can write and deliver a touching and heartfelt eulogy that is a fitting tribute to the life they led.

Historically, eulogies were known as ‘funeral oratories’, which praised individuals that were well-known or cherished within society. However, more recently, eulogies now play an important part in both religious and non-religious funeral ceremonies. They help those present at the funeral to focus on their own cherished memories of the person that has sadly passed away.


There’s no right or wrong way to write a eulogy

What makes a eulogy so special at a funeral is that they are entirely unique. They are based on the relationship between you and your loved one – a bond that you will no doubt cherish forever. As the sub-heading suggests, how you write your eulogy is entirely up to you. There is no written rulebook; it’s supposed to come from the heart.

The style and tone of your eulogy will very often depend on the individual you’re remembering. Perhaps they lived a long and happy life, in which case you might want your speech to be a true celebration. Alternatively, if your loved one was taken from this world too soon, you might wish to adopt a more sorrowful tone.

Funeral eulogies don’t always have to touch upon happy memories. It can be an honest depiction of your loved one’s life. However, it flows on paper, go with it.


Focus on quality rather than quantity

Although your eulogy can be as short or as long as you like, it’s always a good idea to try and be succinct with your speech. The longer you talk, the more likely you will be to ramble and, in turn, make your guests feel disengaged or even uncomfortable. In order to keep your eulogy brief and to the point, you should focus on some specific qualities and tales of your loved one. They might be qualities and stories that you have witnessed of your loved one first-hand or you might be given a heartfelt story by a fellow family member or close friend.

Ultimately, you’ll want your eulogy to depict the personality of your loved one in the best way possible. What’s most important is the points you make and the stories you tell. They all help to paint a familiar picture of your loved one to those that might not have seen or spent time with them in recent years.


Discuss with your family and friends to decide suitable anecdotes

If you want to write your loved one’s eulogy and you want to incorporate some heartfelt anecdotes about their earlier life, why not arrange a chat with other family members or their close friends. It can be a chance to help you get to know your loved one better and feel closer to them.

Understandably, everyday life can often get in the way of asking questions about your loved one’s childhood and other important landmarks in their life. Their parents, grandparents or brothers and sisters can often do a great job in helping you to fill the blanks and join the dots.

When your family loses a loved one, sitting around a table, discussing anecdotes and reminiscing about their life can help everyone come to terms with their passing. Just by sitting and listening to friends and family talk about your loved one, you can quickly understand what made them unique and what made them the person that everyone fell in love with.

These discussions might even jog the memories of family and friends. They may reveal stories that may have never been told or had been forgotten over many years that could be ideal for use in your eulogy.


Practice the delivery of your speech

It doesn’t matter whether you have experience in public speaking or you are a confident person by nature, standing up and delivering a funeral eulogy is a different kettle of fish. Your emotions will, understandably, be heightened on the day. Seeing family and friends in mourning will have a profound effect on you.

It’s therefore important that you practice the delivery of your eulogy in advance of the ceremony. You’ll want to know in advance of any points in your speech where you may become overwhelmed with emotion. The more times that you practice delivering your speech, the better you’ll be prepared to control your emotions and do your loved one proud.

Don’t feel like you must memorise every word of your eulogy. Even those who make speeches for a living often use a written copy as a basis for their speech. If you are planning on reading from a written copy, be sure to print out the speech in a font size that’s easy to read. Double space your text so that it’s easier for you to keep your place too.


How will your eulogy end?

At the end of many eulogies, you might choose to play a piece of music or have a reading from the church vicar or another loved one. A piece of music is often very effective as it is a great opportunity for people to sit and reflect quietly upon your eulogy and remember your loved one in their own unique way.

The piece of music might be your loved one’s favourite song, or it might simply be a song with lyrics that feel very fitting and poignant in the circumstances.

Although writing a eulogy for a loved one may seem like a significant responsibility, think of it as an honour to provide the best possible send-off for your loved one. Your family and friends will be there to support you every step of the way.