A eulogy is a speech given at a funeral to remember someone who has passed away. It is an important part of the service, as the speaker is asked to honor the life of the person while also bringing peace, catharsis, and comfort to those they left behind. Therefore, writing a eulogy is one of the most personal roles to take on when it comes to planning the funeral. Those tasked with writing it are often torn between feeling grateful and honored and feeling anxious and nervous about getting it right. In this month’s blog, we are sharing our top five pointers on how to write a good eulogy.
How Long Should It Be?
The best eulogies last for around 5-7 minutes (a maximum of 10), taking the time to go into detail while staying short enough to be engaging. To stick to a schedule, we recommend writing your eulogy down to ensure your outline falls within that time frame. This will also help you to avoid veering off track the day of.
How Should I Structure the Eulogy?
There are several different ways you can go about structuring a eulogy. The first would be to recount a life history. This would be a factual account of the person’s life, highlighting their achievements and major milestones. They tend to be quite simple and short, which is why this method is used more by those who do not know the person very well.
A second and more popular option is structuring your speech around shared memories and stories. Those that go with this structure would honor the person in a more meaningful way, highlighting personality traits and mentioning their personal connection to friends and family members. While it is appropriate to include memories that you have shared with the person, it is also important to include the audience to create a sense of community. Make sure to use memories that several of you share together. If you do not have a lot of shared memories, do not be afraid to reach out to family members or friends so they can contribute to the eulogy as well.
Our personal recommendation would be to combine the two approaches. The memory-based structure is much more personal and effective in bringing the community together and you can always sprinkle in elements of life history to accompany the stories you tell.
How Do I Start?
A good way to start is to acknowledge the reason everyone is present and introduce yourself to the audience in case there are people there who do not know you personally. You could then begin your eulogy with a story about the person who is being remembered.
What Tone Should the Eulogy Have?
The best eulogies are respectful and emotional, so most of the stories/memories chosen should be ones that highlight the positive traits of the person who passed. It can be soothing to remember the funny, lighter side of the person’s personality, so do not be afraid to provide some gentle comic relief and include stories that might make the audience laugh. Just make sure the amount of humor is appropriate for the setting and that you are accurately representing the person who passed away. If you have any doubts, we recommend you do not attempt to be funny when it comes to any of the following…
- The reason you are all gathered.
- The way the person died.
- Anything the person would find embarrassing or unflattering.
The best way to ensure you are successful is to read it out loud to see how it feels and run it by someone you trust to see if they have any feedback.
How Should I End the Eulogy?
Finally, a great way to close your eulogy is to speak to the person who passed away directly, thanking them for the lessons and the memories you shared together. You could also read a poem or quote that was important to, or reminds you of, the person who passed away and provide words of comfort to the audience.
Writing a eulogy can be a daunting task because it is naturally full of emotion. However, it also means that you had a wonderful relationship with the person who passed, and is a great opportunity for you to honor them when they are gone. If you have any questions, our team is always here to help. Reach out to our team here.