Eulogy is a Greek word meaning praise. It’s used to describe a talk given at a funeral or memorial service to praise, celebrate and remember the person that has died. It’s a way of sharing meaningful memories for the family and significant milestones in that person’s life.
A eulogy gives details of the deceased person’s life, such as:
- when and where they were born;
- where they met their spouse;
- names of any of the children they had;
- areas of passion or deep interest; and
- academic and work–related details.
If the person had a strong faith, or excelled at a significant activity, that might be good to recall too.
A eulogy does not have to give the person’s whole life story, just the main things. Oftenhumorous stories or poignant memories are included in a eulogy, making the speech really touching and help to lighten the sombre atmosphere.
Overall, the most important thing about a eulogy is that it is heartfelt and real, rather than just a set of facts. It certainly doesn’t have to be perfect. Those at the funeral will appreciate the honest, and even nervous, giving of a speech that comes from the heart.
5 steps to writing a genuine, heartfelt eulogy:
1.Start by writing down anything you can think of
Don’t worry about polishing it yet. Once you have poured out as much as you can think of (details of their life as suggested above, special memories, milestones or incidents) go back, and start arranging in rough chronological order. You may have to leave some things out in your final draft.
2. Ask other relatives
Ask someone in the family if you are unsure about any dates, names, or ages of children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. You could also ask others for funny or meaningful stories if you are struggling to think of them yourself. If there are other people also giving a eulogy, it may be worth checking with them that you are not repeating the same details or stories.
3. Type and print
Unless you are very confident to read your own handwriting, it can be easier to read a typed script that you have printed out. You might want to have a decent sized font like 12 or 14 to make it even easier, plus double line space.
4. Read it out loud!
Once you have written it out, try reading it out loud to yourself or to someone who could give you feedback. You probably should aim for about five minutes (which is longer than you think!), this is about two or three typed A4 pages. It is always worth practicing reading the eulogy out loud a few times to yourself.
5. On the day
Before you start reading, take a few deep breaths and gather yourself as you are walking to the podium. Take your time, don’t rush, and try not to read too quickly. Don’t worry about being nervous or emotional, everyone there will totally understand and be very supportive.
If you would like any assistance writing a eulogy, please do not hesitate to contact the Living Hope Funeral team and we will be happy to help.