5 Steps to Consider When Writing a Eulogy for a Funeral
Have you given a eulogy before?
Is it something you think you could do?
Does it scare you?
If you were asked to give a eulogy at a funeral, you may need some help getting started. You may not even be completely sure what a eulogy is.
In general terms, a eulogy is a written speech delivered at a funeral. The speech should be about celebrating the life of the deceased. Let’s take a closer look at how to write a eulogy, starting with more details about what a eulogy is.
What is a eulogy?
A eulogy is a speech or piece of writing that praises someone and is particularly used when someone has died. You should speak about their life, as well as what they meant to you and others. Every eulogy is different and special because it’s a personal account of their life.
Why is a eulogy given?
A eulogy is a way for an individual to participate in the funeral service, and acknowledge the importance of the life lived.
A good eulogy should include personal thoughts and comments. It should also sum up the life of the person who has died and be made out of love and respect for them.
Who delivers a eulogy at a funeral?
Normally, someone close to the deceased delivers the eulogy at a funeral. This could be a child, parent, partner, or close friend.
How to write a eulogy
Once you know what a eulogy is and what it should be about, you need to plan the eulogy you are going to deliver. There are several steps that you should include in your plan.
Step 1 - Talk to family and friends
You need to speak to people who knew the person who has died. While you are speaking to them, make a note of stories or bits of information that you may want to include in the eulogy.
Step 2 - Deciding what to include
You can include whatever details you choose to, however, deciding on the tone is pretty important. Will it be more serious or light-hearted? You should also briefly introduce yourself and include personal thoughts. You may want to look at old photos, videos, or emails to bring back memories that you can use.
Here are some ideas of things you may want to include.
- Their date and place of birth
- The names and relationships of people they were close to
- How they met their partner
- Where they worked and who they worked with
- Their hobbies or interests such as favourite sports teams or music
- Their work in the community
Clubs and societies they were a member of
Step 3 - Planning the structure
Figuring out the best order for what you’re going to say is also helpful. It could be:
- reverse chronological
- three points
Step 4 - Writing
Once you know the format of the eulogy and what you want to say, it’s time to start writing. Remember that a eulogy is usually between 3-5 minutes long.
Step 5 - Delivering the eulogy
Once you know how to write a eulogy, you should concentrate on the delivery.
It’s a good idea to practice delivering the eulogy at home, in advance of the funeral. Doing this helps you to become more confident and make sure that the length is right.
On the day of the funeral, when you deliver the eulogy remember to:
- speak slowly and clearly
- pause when appropriate, so that people have time to reflect
- be conversational and pause, or make eye contact when necessary
have a standby in case you are more emotional than expected
The main thing you should concentrate on when writing and delivering a eulogy is remembering the person who has passed away. There is no wrong or right way to do it as long as it is coming from the heart and is personal, as well as respectful.
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