How to Write & Deliver a Eulogy
Eulogies are an integral part of the grieving process; they offer closure and comfort, and help grieving families reminisce about their late loved one.
If you’ve been tasked with creating and delivering a eulogy, you’re most likely feeling very overwhelmed and stressed right now. Even though writing a eulogy is a major responsibility, there are some general tips you can follow to make the process easier. Read on to learn more.
The General Outline of a Eulogy
Even if you enjoy improvising, you should have a general outline for your eulogy. Eulogies should honestly and sincerely summarize the life of your loved one, which can sometimes be difficult in certain circumstances. The main objective to remember when writing a eulogy is to emphasize the positive aspects of the loved one, which helps provide a soothing sense of closure for everyone involved.
When creating your outline, focus on these four elements:
1. Opening Remarks
Introduce who you are and your relationship to the deceased. If you have a poem, song, or any other opener you want to use, you’ll want to say this before you introduce who you are.
2. Express Condolences
Focus your attention back to the audience. Thank them for coming to the memorial. You will also want to specifically call out close family members or individuals who may have traveled far to come to the funeral.
3. Talk About the Deceased
This will be the longest part of the eulogy. Start by sharing more about your personal relationship with the deceased, then you can expand to include funny or heartwarming memories that you had with them. Your stories should all be connected by a main theme. Do not focus on any negative aspects of the deceased. Additionally, remember that you and everyone else attending the memorial are going through the grieving process together. Never feel ashamed to show emotion or cry during your eulogy.
The last part of your eulogy will reiterate the main theme. You’ll also want to briefly discuss how you want your loved one to be remembered or how you think they would want to be remembered. Then, you’ll want to thank everyone for their time and leave them with something positive, whether it’s general words of encouragement, an uplifting lyric, or inspirational quote.
Remember—the eulogy creation process isn’t one that you have to take on your own. If you have a support system, make sure you include them during this process. Here are three additional tips to keep in mind when creating your eulogy. Tip #1: Ask Family & Friends of the Loved One What They Want to Hear in Your Eulogy
Talking to the deceased’s family members and close friends can provide interesting and personal information that you may not be aware of. For example, a sibling could give you insight into their loved one’s passion for a hobby, volunteer activities, or closely held dedication to a specific cause that you didn’t know about.
Tip #2: Practice With Family & Friends Before the Funeral
Once you have written a general eulogy outline, do a practice run in front of a family member or friend. This is a good way to determine exactly how long the eulogy lasts, so you can either slow down or speed up the delivery of the eulogy. In addition, ask for feedback about the general content of the eulogy. Having another person’s perspective is an excellent way to uncover instances of awkward wording or unnecessary sentences within the eulogy that doesn’t lend substance to its central theme.
Tip #3: Coordinate With Other People Who Are Delivering Eulogies
It’s not uncommon for several people to give eulogies at a funeral. To avoid repetition or conflicting statements, find out if someone else is also giving a eulogy and ask them what they plan to include in the eulogy. Compare eulogies to help make yours unique.
In addition to outline suggestions and general tips, we’ve also curated this list of commonly asked questions about eulogies.
Are Obituaries & Eulogies the Same?
An obituary is nothing like a eulogy. Obituaries are death announcements published in newspapers that simply state the facts of the person’s life–dates of birth and death, names of surviving family members, place of employment, etc. An obituary also provides dates and locations of memorial services, viewings, and where someone can send flowers.
Reading an obituary in place of a eulogy should never be done in any situation. If you have been asked to write and give a eulogy, it needs to be meaningful, memorable, and worthy of providing closure for family members and friends of the deceased.
Is Humor Appropriate?
Nobody is perfect. When writing a eulogy, don’t gloss over the loved one’s flaws and create a life summary that is not at all relevant to the individual being eulogized. Most of the time, you can turn character traits into humorous stories about the deceased. A little humor that is tasteful and appropriate is a wonderful way to remind the audience how much the person was loved and respected. However, steer clear of any harsh, distasteful, or shocking humor.
How Long Should a Eulogy Be?
A eulogy should be anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes, especially if other people are giving eulogies too. While this doesn’t mean you have to speed through your eulogy or skip over important stories about your loved one, you also don’t want to be repetitive or drone on about subjects that have little to do with the person being eulogized.
Are There Any Phrases That Should Be Avoided?
Regardless of how a loved one conducted their life, you should never say something blatantly negative or derogatory about them. Additionally, you don’t want to focus too much on your loved one’s cause of death. Although the eulogy is being delivered at a funeral, the purpose is to focus on how your loved one lived, not how they died.
Lastly, phrases you should never put in a eulogy include:
- “They are in a better place”
- “Everything happens for a reason”
- “They thought they would live forever”
- “If only he/she would have done things differently”
Learn More About Eulogies From Wujek-Calcaterra
Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons is a family-owned and -operated funeral home serving families and individuals in Sterling Heights and Shelby Township, MI. We understand how difficult loss is, and are here to guide you through this challenging time. Available 24/7, our team can help you plan funerals and memorial services, write eulogies, create obituaries, and provide grief support. Let us provide you with the peace of mind you deserve—contact us today to schedule a free consultation.