How to Give a Eulogy
Writing a Eulogy
The eulogy or speech given at a memorial service or funeral does not have to follow any specific guide on how to write a eulogy, but it is helpful if you know where to start.
A eulogy recognizes the life of a loved one who had passed away, it does not need to be perfect or express the views of everyone, only the person delivering the speech. The person who was chosen to deliver the eulogy is usually someone who cared for the deceased deeply, they know the life of whom they are speaking about and they have great love for the individual.
Caring for the deceased makes it easier when writing the eulogy, it will be effortless when exploring the right words and the feeling that you want everyone to experience as you speak. It is perfectly suitable to ask others for stories that you may want to include in your eulogy as long as they are showing the deceased in a good light.
When writing a eulogy it is fine to inject humor into an otherwise somber speech depending on the circumstances surrounding the death.
- Decide on the tone of the eulogy. How solemn or how lighthearted you want the eulogy to be depends on the person, the age they passed away, and the events encircling the death
Example: You would not want to be lighthearted at a child’s memorial but it is alright to do so at the memorial of a great grandparent who has lived a long life
- When writing the eulogy consider who your audience will be
Example: Writing for old friends is different then writing for older aunts, uncles, and parents, they might not understand humor that old friends will
- Introduce yourself even if you feel everyone knows you
- Don’t let the eulogy sound like the obituary
Example: Touch on what the deceased’s family life was like, what their hobbies and interests were outside of the family, any achievements they had, what they taught you and others
- Do not recite a list of qualities. Use stories to illustrate them and bring them to life
Example: If they were kind, mention the time they helped an older lady who had fallen down get back up, or how they always held the door open for others. If they had a great sense of humor mention their best joke
- Do not go on too long, be concise. Outline the eulogy on small note cards, think about areas you want to talk about, the deceased’s personality, interests, family life, where they grew up, where they lived, funny stories, heartfelt moments. Have a beginning, a middle, and an end
- Avoid speaking down to people even if your vocabulary is strong, bring it down a notch when writing a eulogy
- Ask friends or family members to read the eulogy before you give the speech. They will let you know if you missed anything or if you said something that might be inappropriate
Giving the Eulogy
Giving the eulogy can be hard if you are not someone who likes to stand up and speak in front of people, but everyone is there for the same reason, to pay their respects to the deceased, you are just standing and paying your respects.
Rehearse the eulogy out loud to someone as practice. The written word sounds different when read aloud. Do not feel bad if you need to make a few adjustments-all writers do rewrites. Try to memorize the speech or just make bullet points as it sounds more heartfelt when you are not reading exactly from your notes.
As long as you remember these hints when writing a eulogy you will do fine, but it is always good to have a person ready to stand in if you get too chocked up while speaking.