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Tips on how to write a Eulogy for a funeral

If you've been asked to write a eulogy for a loved one, you're probably wondering where to start! You'd have a million thoughts running through your mind and want to capture them before they disappear again.

As funeral directors, we're here to help you write your eulogy and help you through this important process of planning a funeral.

Here are our top tips on how to write a memorable eulogy.

What is a eulogy?

A eulogy is a 'speech' that is given at a funeral. It usually shares some insight into the deceased person's life and should be seen as a celebration of their life.

Eulogys cover a wide range of topics like their life story (from the early years to the present), life achievements, and how they touched the lives of others, and often share a funny story or two.

They are usually read out by a family member, close friend or the celebrant/clergyman who is officiating the service.

You may have more than one person read a eulogy at a funeral, or one may be shared amongst a few people where there are multiple children who'd all like to say a few words.

Just know a eulogy comes from your heart, and there is no right or wrong way to write a eulogy for your loved one.

How to start writing a eulogy

If you've been asked to write the eulogy, your brain is probably being flooded with so many thoughts and memories.

The best thing to do is grab a notepad and scribble down your ideas as you get them.

Ask your family and friends to come over and talk about your loved one's life. As you talk, you'll find you get more ideas or have stand-out stories which everyone remembers fondly. A eulogy can be a communal speech with input from all the important people in your loved one's life. It's important that everyone feels they have the chance to reflect (and celebrate) the life of the deceased.

It's these types of moments that you need to capture for your eulogy.

Topics to consider for a eulogy

How do you sum up a person's life in a short amount of time? It's tough!

Here's a list of things to start with to help your ideas to start flowing:

  • Full name/nicknames
  • Birthdate
  • Place of birth
  • Parents and siblings
  • Childhood days
  • Education
  • Jobs/career
  • Relationships/marriage
  • Children/grandchildren
  • Places lived
  • Achievements
  • Hobbies or special interests
  • Notable likes and dislikes
  • What did you love and admire about the person?
  • What will you miss the most?
  • What did they do that made you smile?

Stories to share in a eulogy

You'll either have stories of your own, or your family members and close friends may bring up stories they remember.

You'll find special stories can come from a range of places:

  • A story your loved one told over and over again as it meant something to them
  • A time in your life when you shared a special moment with the deceased
  • A random thought that pops into your head and makes you smile
  • An old friend or family member saying, 'I remember when...'

It's your combined memories that will help you write a memorable eulogy.

Helpful tips to write a eulogy

Here are some more handy tips to write your eulogy:

  • When you're writing, think of it as having a conversation with your group of friends or family members
  • Write a first draft, read it out loud and ask others to look over it
  • When you've completed the eulogy, print it out in an easy-to-read format (use a large font)
  • You don't need to memorise it but read over it a few times (especially if you're delivering it), so you can find your place if your emotions take over on the day
  • Some people include a memorable quote, poetry or song lyrics to open or close a eulogy

And remember, it's up to you how you write it. Humour is totally acceptable (mostly) and people usually appreciate hearing funny stories about their loved ones as they remember (and celebrate) the good times they've had.

Delivering a eulogy

It's no secret that public speaking can be scary! Unless you're a trained speaker, do it for your job or are confident about talking in front of groups of people, you may be worried about delivering the eulogy.

But remember - everyone who is at the funeral is there to love and support you and your family during this time. The stories about your loved one and the meaning behind your eulogy are what matters the most.

Here are some eulogy delivery tips:

  • Take the time to practice your eulogy
  • Breathe, relax and know you're speaking to friends and family members
  • Try to speak clearly and project your voice (unless you have a microphone)
  • Pause if you need to and collect your thoughts (people will understand it's not easy)
  • Arrange for another person to help you deliver the eulogy if it becomes too much for you

Your loved ones will appreciate that you've had the courage to stand up and deliver the eulogy.

And as funeral directors, we like to think that the deceased person watches on to hear the final words said about them!

Need help writing your eulogy?

When we help with arranging a funeral, our funeral directors are on hand to help you with anything you need. If you need them to look over your eulogy or help you pull it all together, please ask. We're here for you, and we totally understand the pressure people often feel when it comes to writing a eulogy. Chat with us!

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