How do you write a eulogy that is heartfelt and memorable? If you plan to speak at your loved one’s funeral you may be wondering what steps are required to write and deliver the perfect speech. The thought of public speaking is daunting to most people. Combine the fear of public speaking with the grief of losing a loved one and speaking at a funeral may be one of the most difficult things you have to do.
How do you write a eulogy that summarizes the life of your loved one in a 5 to 10 minute speech? The second difficult part of writing a eulogy is choosing the information and stories related to your loved one to share with people at the funeral. The person achieved a lot in his or her life and you shared numerous memories with them. It is important to know what information is typically included in a eulogy. The guide below will help you write a eulogy and select the information to include in the speech.
How do you Write a Eulogy?
1. Collect the Information
The first step to writing a eulogy is to collect the information. Begin by taking a piece of paper, or sitting at a computer, and write down everything about the person that you can think of. Don’t worry about writing too much; the goal is to collect as much information as you can. Think about what made the person special, what were the favorite memories you shared together, what the person taught you, and what you will remember most about them. It can help to look at old photographs because they can help trigger memories you have forgotten.
Now that you have collected as much information as you can, the next step is to interview others. Speaking to friends and family of the deceased can help you to gather more information to include in the eulogy. If you are looking for additional help collecting information, use the following list to give you more ideas.
- Birthplace: Where was he or she born?
- Family: Parents, brothers and sisters.
- Childhood: Location, friends, interests, etc.
- Education: High school, post-secondary, trade school and any awards or other designations.
- Relationships: Marriage, divorce and any other significant relationships.
- Children: Children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.
- Career: Most significant jobs, positions held, achievements, etc.
- Organizations: Military service, fraternal organizations and other clubs.
- Interests: Sports, hobbies, travels, etc.
- Other: Any other special facts about the person.
2. Write the Eulogy
After you have collected the data, the second step is to write the eulogy. Typically, a eulogy is either written in chronological order and like all speeches it includes a beginning, middle, and conclusion. The introduction should welcome people and introduce yourself, your loved one, and the theme of your eulogy. The middle (body) is the main part of your eulogy, where you share information and stories about the deceased. The conclusion is your last word, where you tie the themes together, telling a final story and ending with a final farewell.
The first step is to take the information you collected and arrange it in to the order you want for the speech. Next, you will want to turn the facts into grammatically correct paragraphs. Remember that the first step is to produce a draft and it is important not to worry too much about spelling, grammar and the overall speech. The goal is to get a speech written and then you can revise it.
3. Polish and Practice
After you have written the first draft you will want to read through it and begin to fix spelling and grammar errors. Cross out sections that are unnecessary, or move sections around to change the order of the speech. It will take a few revisions before you produce the final speech.
Now that you have the final version of the speech you will want to practice reading the speech. Practicing the speech will help to prepare you for reading it at the funeral and will also help you to find mistakes you may have missed during the editing phase. After you have read the speech to yourself a few times, we recommend asking a friend or family member if you can read the speech to them. They will be able to suggest changes to the speech and help you feel comfortable reading it in front of other people.
4. Deliver the Eulogy
After all of the hard work writing the eulogy it is time to read it at the funeral service. Reading the eulogy will likely be the most difficult part of the eulogy process. Reading a speech in public is a fear that many of us have; however, saying a few words about a loved one at their funeral is a huge honor. Remember that everyone attending the funeral is sharing in the grief that you are feeling. They will understand if you get emotional during the eulogy and are there to support you.
We recommend printing a copy of the speech in a large font and brining it to the funeral. It is not necessary to memorize the speech and trying to memorize it will add stress to an already difficult situation. Remember that friends and family will appreciate the words you have written about the deceased person and will understand if you have to read the speech or if you get emotional during the eulogy.
How do you write a eulogy? It isn’t easy, but it is a tremendously rewarding exercise. The process of writing the eulogy gives you an opportunity to reflect on all of the fond memories you shared with the deceased. Looking through old photos and reflecting on memories is an excellent grief recovery tool. Furthermore, reading the eulogy at the funeral gives you a chance to say goodbye to your loved one and pay tribute to their life. For more help learning how to write a eulogy, read the other articles listed below.
Updated: May 25, 2013