It’s an honor to hold the responsibility of eulogizing your loved one, but it can feel like a challenge to fit everything you want to say in one speech. Instead of making the funeral attendees feel like they are reading an encyclopedia from cover-to-cover, look for ways to highlight the rich life experiences that matter most. A eulogy should be a sampling of the best the person had to offer including accomplishments, personality traits, and memorable stories.
What is a Eulogy?
Giving a eulogy means that you are sharing a remembrance speech with the purpose of paying tribute to a loved one. This speech is given at the funeral or memorial service by a family member or close friend.
A good eulogy highlights the lasting impact of the person on their family and community. Through your speech, you’ll have an opportunity to share their unique qualities, as well as the ripple effect of positivity and change they created in the world around them.
How can you best honor your loved one? A eulogy can be a part of your healing, and a beautiful way to reflect on the details that were most special about them.
Here are a few tips on how to write a Eulogy that honors your loved one:
1. Interview family and friends
Don’t feel that the complete weight of remembering your loved one is on your shoulders. Instead, ask family members or friends to share their stories of your loved one. This process itself can be very cathartic, as the act of remembering and sharing can help in the healing process itself.
2. Tell a story (or stories)
Everyone at the service will appreciate your personal memories of your loved one. Don’t worry about remembering each detail, perfectly; just share the details that matter to you. To think about a good story, try out some of these prompts:
What’s a favorite memory you have? What made them laugh? What was their proudest moment in life? What did they most enjoy? What’s a little known fact about your loved one? These questions will help you to remember some enjoyable stories and can serve as a jumping off point.
3. Don’t think about it as public speaking
Sure, you might be speaking in front of a lot of people. But, no one is judging you or analyzing what you’re saying. They’re simply listening and appreciating, and thinking about their own personal connection to the deceased. However, if you want to feel more confident while delivering your lines, it can be helpful to write everything down in case you experience a moment of nerves up there, as we all often do.
4. Keep it brief
Share as much as you want to share, but don’t feel that you have to overburden yourself with pages of stories. Choose the one or two that are most meaningful to you, and you’ll have a eulogy that truly does justice in celebrating your loved one.
5. Read it out loud
Before the service, read the speech out loud to yourself or to a trusted family member or friend. They’ll help calm any nerves, make any suggestions about what resonates the most with them or pick out any particularly inspirational elements to focus on further.
6. Humor heals
It’s OK, and perfectly acceptable, to be funny or tell a humorous story in a eulogy. At a time that brings sadness to many people, it is important and hugely helpful to be celebrating a life well lived with funny memories and entertaining anecdotes.
7. Take a deep breath
Finally, relax. It can be difficult given all that you’re going through right now, but be at peace knowing that you’re honoring and celebrating your loved one.
Looking for some inspiration of what others in your situation wrote when they were in your shoes? Here are some examples of some truly inspiring words written in honor of deceased celebrities. And just remember, speak what you feel and your eulogy will turn out perfectly.