What is a Eulogy?
A written eulogy is a celebration of life or funeral speech that commemorates the departed life of a loved one or family member. It is often the central component of a funeral or memorial service. Eulogy writing can seem overwhelming and challenging, but with the right help, you can write an unforgettable eulogy that honors the deceased’s life.
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to write a eulogy for a person who has died.
How to Write a Beautiful Eulogy Speech
There is no right or wrong way to write a eulogy speech. The main thing to remember is to speak from your heart, and you will be sure to develop a meaningful eulogy speech.
Although a funeral speech has to do with a burial or death of a loved one, the theme and tone do not necessarily need to be somber or serious. In some cases, a person will use humor in their eulogy speech, some are celebratory and joyful, and others are optimistic, and reflective.
Step 1: Decide the Tone
Before writing a eulogy, first decide what type of tone or theme you want it to have. Will it be a serious speech, religious or do you want to share a funny story? Feel free to make the speech your own style.
You may want to consider your audience and the person who has died. For instance, a eulogy for a young child will be different than for an older person.
Step 2: Introduce Yourself
It is important to let the family know who you are before starting your speech. Introduce yourself and let everyone know how you know the deceased person. Are you related to them? Did you play an important role in the person’s life? Be sure to keep this part brief, because after all, it is not about you.
Step 3: Talk About the Person Who Died
Give a brief biological sketch about the person who has died. You can include where they are from, where they grew up, who their family and friends are, where they graduated from, etc. Remember though, keep it simple, and do not worry too much about the details.
Step 4: Share Stories or Memories
You can be personal when writing the eulogy. Share your favorite stories and memories that you had with the person who died. This can help distract people from their grief and allow them to focus on the life that was lived rather than their death.
Tips and Tricks for Writing a Good Eulogy
Should You Speak Slowly?
Before you start, it is a good idea to take a few deep breaths. It can be emotional and overwhelming to speak at a funeral service or celebration of life. Remember, you will never have a more sympathetic audience.
Taking it one step at a time and saying a few words at a time can really help. Public speaking in general can be challenging, let alone at a funeral or celebration of life.
Where Should You Start?
Writing a eulogy can seem like a daunting task. you want to pay tribute to your loved one the best way possible, but you may not know how to begin.
We suggest starting with your earliest memories, the best stories or speaking about the person’s character. For example, there may be a quote, scripture, poem, or song lyric that you feel sums up the person’s life.
Can Close Friends Write a Eulogy?
Yes, a best friend or close friends, or other family members are all good candidates for writing a eulogy. It does not have to be a person’s family member.
Many eulogies are spoken from a close friend or close relatives. They are able to share a good story, favorite memories, or other important details that they remember about the deceased person.
Be Sure to Practice Speaking
It is important to practice reading your eulogy before public speaking. One way to practice delivering your eulogy is with a trusted friend or family member. They can ensure you are making eye contact, talking slowly, and will help ease the discomfort of reading it for
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quite birds in a circled flight.
I am the soft starts that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
There is No Light Without a Dawning
No winter without a spring
And beyond the dark horizon
Our hearts will once more sing ….
For those who leave us for a while
Have only gone away
Out of a restless, care worn world
Into a brighter day
-Helen Steiner Rice
If only we could see the splendour of the land
To which our loved ones are called from you and me
If only we could hear the welcome they receive
From old familiar voices all so dear
We would not grieve
If only we could know the reason why they went
We’d smile and wipe away the tears that flow
And wait content.
Here are some quotes to help with writing the eulogy:
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. – Dr. Suess
We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give. – Winston
What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us. – Helen Keller
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein
If winter comes, can spring be far behind? – Percy Bysshe Shelley
- President Reagan’s Eulogy for the Challenger 7 crew
- In Memory of Y.B. Yeats by W.H. Auden (poem)
- Bob Costas’ Eulogy for Stan Musial
- Oprah Winfrey’s Eulogy for Rosa Parks
Eulogy Sample Outline
Using eulogy examples when writing a eulogy is a proven way to create a great speech. Remember when you used to do those mad lib games as a child? The process of using eulogy examples is similar: follow the sample outline and add in the personal details of the person and voila!
Below are some eulogy samples that can help you if you are struggling with writer’s block and need some extra help. These will keep you focused on the important details of writing your speech. Try to stick to around 10 minutes total for your eulogy. The simplest eulogy outline can be broken down into three sections, but this will help you outline how much time you should spend on each one.
First Section – Intro: The introduction should cover some basic information and details before moving on to the main part of the eulogy.
- Set the theme and tone by starting with a quote, poem or religious scripture that is meaningful to your or the person who died.
- Include all the names that they were known by. This includes nicknames and maiden names.
- How the person died (this of course, is an optional detail).
- A brief description on how you know the person.
Middle Section – Main Part of the Eulogy: After completing the introduction, you can move on to the bulk of the eulogy or most important/main part of it. This part will typically be the longest section of your eulogy. A lot of times people will choose to talk about the person’s life in chronological order, or they opt to stick with a theme of different stories. Here are some talking points you can choose to use to help you out:
- Childhood years
- Marriage and children
- Major life events
- Travel adventures
- Stories or fond memories
- How the person affected others
- Any other thoughts you want to share about the person
End Section – Summarizing the Person’s Life: The end of a eulogy is usually the smallest part or section. You can choose to “wrap-up” and summarize the person’s life in a short few sentences. Here are some options for finishing the eulogy:
- A final take away from your theme
- Thank attendees for participating
- Quote, scripture, or song lyric
- How you want family and friends to remember the individual
- What the person would want you to remember them for
Including Family Members
Including the whole family in the celebration of life process can really help to take some stress away. Ask for assistance in planning the celebration, assign tasks to family members and do not take it on all by yourself.
Planning a funeral or celebration of life service for a person can be a challenging task, and there is no shame in asking for help from family or friends. Delegating some of the tasks can allow you to spend time with family and friends at the celebration and take some of the stress and worry away.
A Celebration of Life with Eternally Loved
Eternally Loved is a full-service event company focusing on creating personal and unique memorial events. We focus each memorial service on events that are centered on the life that was lived so the mood of all the offerings is one of love and appreciation. From intimate to extravagant events, we strive to help you celebrate and honor the way you feel is best.
Eternally Loved offers a favorable and stress-free event planning process. Our satisfied clients are relieved to find that, not only do we shoulder the responsibility of seamless execution of events, but we save a significant amount of time and money with our event planning services. We operate within the budget and use our expertise to put on an event that makes your guests feel valued.
If you would like more information on our celebration of life services, please contact us.