A Guide to Writing a Eulogy
The Eulogy, or Life Story, commemorates and celebrates the life of your loved one.
Anyone can deliver the Eulogy: a family member, friend, celebrant or clergy, however it is more personal when it is delivered by someone who has known and loved the deceased. The Eulogy may even be shared, with several people contributing words of remembrance.
It can include details such as when and where your loved one was born, where they grew up, funny or interesting stories from their childhood, as well as any hobbies or passions they had. It can include a recollection of personal memories, or precise details covering areas such as their childhood, adulthood, occupation, sporting or academic achievements, memorable holidays, nicknames, or military service.
When preparing the Eulogy, the most important thing is to write from your heart and express what means most to you about your loved one. It doesn’t need to be lengthy; a Eulogy of 3 – 5 minutes duration is usually ample.
Be sure to tell your audience who you are and your relationship to the deceased. Rehearse the Eulogy before the Service, and have a stand-by reader ready in case you’re not emotionally able to read it on the day.
Try to relax! Everyone at the Service is there to support you and will admire your efforts for having written and presented the Eulogy.
Hints for Writing and Delivering the Eulogy
- Write as though you are talking to a friend, for this is what you will be doing – talking to a loving, supportive group of friends.
- The Eulogy doesn’t have to be formal or serious in tone. Humour can be used where appropriate. Remember that the Eulogy is a celebration and reflection of your loved one and the life you’ve shared.
- Prepare your speech on a computer if possible so that you can edit it as you go.
- You may wish to include a special quote or verse to open or close your speech. Favourite poetry, songs, bible verses or historical speeches can provide inspiration.
- Once you have completed your first draft, ask a trusted friend or family member to read over it and suggest any changes.
- When you are happy with your speech, type or write it out in large print with spaces between the lines. This will make it easier to read on the day.
- Arrange for a backup speaker, perhaps the celebrant, to be on hand just in case you have difficulty delivering the speech on the day. Simply knowing they are there supporting you, may give you the strength you need to get through.
- If you do feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with emotion, pause and take a deep breath. Your audience will understand and admire your efforts.