The idea of a eulogy is to acknowledge the deceased in an honest and loving way, weaving memories and thoughts into a speech that helps your audience grieve and celebrate the highlights of the life that has passed.
Tips on Writing a Eulogy
- Take a moment to consider how the deceased would like to be remembered.
- The tone of your speech can be humorous or serious depending on the personality of the deceased.
- Note how the deceased is related to you personally, and how they touched your life.
- Include recollections of friends and family who are present, and tell stories that bring the deceased to life.
- Consider what role of the deceased you want to highlight in your eulogy, i.e. their role as parent, colleague, friend, neighbour, grandparent, employee, etc.
- Did the deceased seem to have a life calling, did they give to the community, what was their passion in life?
- What specific character trait or special talent set the deceased apart from others? Give examples to personalize the eulogy.
- Avoid mentioning negative traits unless they are said with love and good humour.
- What do you want to say to the deceased person? Here you may even read out a letter you wrote to the deceased at the time of their passing. This can be very personalized and emotionally stirring for everyone present at the funeral.
- What will you never forget about the deceased?
- Have a thoughtful ending.
If you are still having a hard time and don't know where to start, begin by writing down all the random, disordered thoughts and ideas that come into your mind. Go back later and try to organise your thoughts into some kind of order and re-write them as you would like to say it.
If there are several speakers at a funeral, communicate with the other speakers to make sure that you are not duplicating material. Try to combine emotive and humorous speakers, each speaker mentioning something personal and special about the deceased. Perhaps one of the speakers can read out a poem selected from Funeral Guide's poetry collection.
Delivering a Eulogy
Practice your speech. Consider having a back up reader in case you are too emotional to proceed with your presentation. It is normal to feel nervous, make sure you have a glass of water handy. It’s okay to pause during the eulogy, take a drink and gather your thoughts. Some find it handy to suck a mint before speaking to help with a dry mouth.
It is perfectly acceptable and recommended to have notes or speech cards with you, no-one expects a person to remember or deliver a perfect speech at such an emotional time. Be yourself, you are surrounded by friends and loved ones.
Let your eulogy, poems and songs provide a loving and positive remembrance of the deceased, a true celebration in gratitude for the life of your loved one.