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How to: Write an Eulogy

how to write funeral eulogy

There is no  right or wrong way to write an eulogy.  Eulogy’s are all as unique as the person they are describing.  They can move the listener to tears or laughter, tell them about the loved ones’ life, good or bad, give well known facts or let out secrets.  They can bring your loved one closer at the most saddest of times.  


You are building a picture for those you are talking to about the person who has died, some of the audience will know him or her better than others, some may even know the deceased better than the person writing or giving the eulogy, but that is OK, and it is fine to ask others their opinions before putting it together.  Gather the information and sleep on it, and double check names and dates before starting to write out what you want to say.


Avoid clichés and an introduction, everyone will know why they are there and who you are going to talk about.  Think about how the person would like to be remembered, what made them special, Were they always happy? Smiling? Helping?  What were the highlights, main achievements, important parts of their life, who was important to them?


Whilst it is good to spend some time thinking about the person, what their main likes and dislikes were, what were their funny little habits or characteristics, what their hobbies were, what made them happy/sad, it is also good to think about what you felt about them and what they felt about others close to them.  However, sometimes your first thoughts can be just as important, so write them down first, and only once everything is down on paper can you start to think about what you really want to say and in what order.


The Eulogy does not have to be chronological and does not have to cover every aspect of a life, just enough for those in the congregation to go away having recognised the person they knew which will have been in many guises, Relation, Friend, Work colleague etc, and with something they didn’t know or which surprises them.


Try thinking of three main points, and give an example, a story or an anecdote to illustrate them, don’t be scared to tell something embarrassing or risky, but not too much, and try to end on something uplifting or say your own private farewell.


If music is going to be played or sung, explain why that piece has been chosen and what it meant to the person you are paying tribute to.


Always check with the officiant or crematorium how much time your eulogy should be, and once written out, speak it out loud whilst timing it.   


Don’t be scared if you are the person who will be standing at the front giving the eulogy, you can cry or break up, nobody will mind and everyone will understand.  If you don’t feel able to read it then that is also OK, there will be people happy to read it for you or even stand by your side ready to jump in if you start but don’t want to continue.


Remember nerves are expected and tears are welcome as they show your love.


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