If you have been honoured with the task of writing a eulogy for your loved one’s funeral or memorial service, you may be struggling with what you should include, or how to start.
Writing a eulogy is a deeply personal and emotional task, and it can be particularly challenging when you're dealing with the grief of losing someone. While cultural nuances can vary slightly depending on where you are, the principles for writing a heartfelt eulogy tend to be universal.
In this article, we will explore the do’s and don’ts when it comes to writing a eulogy.
What is a eulogy?
A eulogy is a speech or tribute delivered at a funeral service to commemorate and celebrate the life of someone who has passed away. It is a genuine and frequently personal reflection on the person's personality, accomplishments, relationships, and impact on the lives of others.
Typically, eulogies are presented by family members, friends, or individuals close to the deceased. Often there is more than one eulogy, with two or three people close to the deceased speaking.
What you should do when writing and delivering a eulogy.
Personalise the eulogy.
Share personal anecdotes, stories, and memories that highlight the unique aspects of the individual's life. What was important to them in their life? This helps paint a vivid picture of the person and their impact on others.
Be respectful and sincere.
Approach the eulogy with respect, sincerity, and empathy. Focus on celebrating the person's life and the positive aspects of their character. This is not a time to be negative or hold grudges.
Capture their spirit.
Talk about the person's passions, interests, and achievements. Who were they? What legacy have they left behind? Reflect on how they approached life, what they loved, and what made them happy.
Share funny stories and anecdotes.
If appropriate, include light-hearted and humorous stories that reflect the person's sense of humour or joyful moments. Laughter can be a beautiful way to remember someone, and break through the sorrow with a moment of joy.
Acknowledge the people who supported and loved the deceased, including family, friends, and caregivers. Express gratitude for their presence in the person's life.
Keep it concise and don’t overlap.
Aim for a eulogy that is around 5-10 minutes long. While it's important to cover key aspects, keeping it concise ensures that the audience remains engaged.
Consider if there is more than one eulogy - you may want to chat with that person to ensure your stories don’t overlap, and can help stick to a determined length of time.
Practice and rehearse.
Practice reading the eulogy aloud to ensure you're comfortable with the content and delivery. This will help you maintain composure during the actual reading.
What you shouldn’t do when writing and delivering a eulogy.
Avoid controversial topics, negative stories or criticism.
Steer clear of any controversial or negative topics that might cause discomfort or distress to the audience. Focus on uplifting and positive aspects of the person's life. Even if they were a part of the person's life, try to avoid stories that might paint them in a negative light. Remember, the goal is to celebrate their life and legacy.
It's also not the time to bring up unresolved issues or criticise the person's choices or actions. Focus on the positive and meaningful aspects of their life.
While it's natural to want to paint a glowing picture of the person, avoid exaggerations or overstatements that may not accurately reflect their life. We are human, and it won’t feel authentic if you are representing the deceased in a way that doesn’t reflect who they were.
Don't rush through the stories.
Take your time when delivering the eulogy. Speaking too quickly can make it difficult for the audience to absorb the content and emotions you're conveying. This is where practising can come in handy, and if possible, try practising in front of a couple of people before the day.
Avoid unfamiliar jokes or references.
If you're considering including jokes or references that not everyone might understand, it's best to avoid them to ensure everyone can connect with the eulogy. Instead, think about personal experiences that highlight a personality trait that everyone knows well and can connect to.
Don't make it all about you.
While sharing your personal connection to the deceased is important, the eulogy is primarily about celebrating their life. Strike a balance between personal anecdotes and stories that capture their essence.
Don't forget to prepare for your emotions.
Eulogies can be emotional experiences, and there may be moments where the tears and grief are too much. Be prepared for your own emotions and consider having somebody standing next to you to support you through the eulogy, or a backup speaker in case your grief means you are unable to continue. Above all, it’s okay to be open and show that you’re struggling with your grief; chances are many others in the audience are as well.
Final thoughts on writing and delivering a eulogy.
Remember that these are not absolute rules, but rather suggestions to assist you in crafting a heartfelt and meaningful eulogy that honours the individual's life and impact.
Bare is here to help you organise a meaningful funeral or memorial ceremony that reflects your loved one’s life and wishes. Give us a call on 1800 071 176 or head to the link below to learn more about our funeral services.