Guide to Writing a Eulogy

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A eulogy is a speech delivered during the funeral service in order to honor and praise a loved one’s life. Creating a eulogy that captures the spirit of the departed and accurately conveys the impact they had on the world can be a challenge. Keeping some guidelines in mind during the writing process can make the task less difficult, resulting in a eulogy that lovingly and respectfully commemorates the life of a loved one.

The purpose of a eulogy

A eulogy is meant to be a personal statement delivered by a family member, friend or colleague with whom the deceased shared a close relationship, and who can attest to their character and contributions. While it often takes the form of a personal testimony of the relationship and experience with the deceased, the focus of the eulogy should always remain with the departed. Stressing the way they impacted the lives of those around them is a good way to honor them and center attention where it belongs.

The eulogy is not meant to be a biography, but honoring a loved one’s character and accomplishments by highlighting significant moments in their life can serve to personalize the tribute. Including personal anecdotes and sharing fond memories is a wonderful way to capture the personality of the departed. A good eulogy will touch on the significance of the deceased’s achievements, while illustrating the various reasons a loved one will be missed.

Seeking out feedback and assistance

While the eulogy is meant to be a personal reflection, enlisting the input and guidance of friends and family is entirely acceptable. Relatives and close loved ones are often acquainted with aspects of the deceased’s life that can be incorporated to make the eulogy more meaningful. Friends can also serve as a sounding board for ideas and offer thoughtful feedback or suggestions.

Questions about the more technical aspects of writing can be resolved with a visit to the library or a careful internet search. A funeral director, in charge of arranging the funeral and cremation services and overseeing aspects of the ceremony, can be a good source of advice as well. When in doubt, it’s a good idea to seek out guidance from a more knowledgeable or experienced source.

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Delivering the eulogy

Traditionally, a eulogy is approximately five minutes long. Rehearsing the eulogy, either alone or before an audience, is a good way to gauge the length and edit accordingly. When writing, as well as when delivering the eulogy, it’s helpful to keep in mind that a heartfelt and conversational tone is preferable to a rigid and overly formal one. Practicing the eulogy beforehand will help make the delivery sound less scripted.

Having a full, printed copy of the eulogy on-hand is advisable. The copy should be legible and the pages numbered in order to avoid any confusion. If emotions run high, it’s acceptable to take a minute to compose before continuing. Friends and family sitting in the audience have all gathered together for the same purpose: to pay respects and honor the life of a loved one.

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Comments 7 comments

craftdrawer profile image

craftdrawer 21 months ago

I tried to write something for my dad when he passed away 10 years ago but spoke from heart instead. . This is a very helpful guide. Thanks for sharing!!!


Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 21 months ago from Texas USA

This is an interesting hub. I recall reading that there are job opportunities for writers to create eulogies for pay. Many times the eulogy is requested prior to the death of the subject. That's why this hub caught my attention.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 21 months ago from USA

This is useful and well done. When my mother-in-law was passing, her ardent request was that my husband deliver her eulogy. This was a very emotionally draining wish for someone who was grieving the loss of a mother after an intense battle with terminal cancer, so I wrote the script for him. It was very difficult to deliver.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 21 months ago from California

Not a fun subject, but a good one. Nicely done.


Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 21 months ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks craftdrawer! From the heart is always best whether pre-planned or not. I'm sure your Dad loved it :)


Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 21 months ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you FlourishAnyway! It's never an easy thing to do but losing a mother I would imagine makes it a hundred times harder. I'm sure your husband is immensely grateful for you stepping in to help write it.


Better Yourself profile image

Better Yourself 21 months ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks tirelesstraveler! Agreed, difficult subject but hopefully it comes in handy for someone in need during a difficult time.

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