Tips for writing a funeral eulogy
Writing a eulogy or poem for a close friend or family member’s funeral can be a daunting task. There is no reason to let this worry you, many people don’t really know what to expect from a eulogy, and there is no set structure that you have follow. Imagine that you are having a simple discussion with friends and family about the person that died.
1. Key moments from their life
Think about some of the big moments that happened in their life, such as weddings, children, education and jobs. These memories will probably be shared with everyone at the memorial so will be a good starting point for your speech. Focus on the happy memories first and foremost. It’s fine to mention other milestones such as another family member’s loss but don’t dwell on them for too long.
2. Strong memories
Write down some of your favourite memories that you shared with the person during your time together. This is a good point to remember some anecdotal tales too. Just ensure that it’s not a private joke that no one will understand. It can also be a good idea to ask friends for other memories they may have had which they may not get the chance to share at the funeral. You can share some of the best during your reading.
3. Their interests/hobbies
If you’re struggling for notable memories another good idea is to write down some of the person’s hobbies, interests or passions in life. Whether it was sports cars or a love of animals there are sure to be some memories that surface from remembering their interests. Those attending will know character traits of the deceased and everyone can share in the memory.
4. Map out your ideas chronologically
If you link the memories you’ve thought of, it will give the speech a better flow. For example you could organise them in a chronological order, or if you think it flows better, organise them by the theme. So family life, hobbies, children, work etc. Then put this together into a speech. It’s completely up to you whether you want to read the whole thing from paper or if you use cues.
Everyone knows it is a difficult time so no one will be judging you on your delivery. However it is worth practicing the eulogy before the event so you know if there are any areas where you may stumble. You then have time to edit the speech before the memorial and make sure that you are comfortable with it.