20 things to keep in mind to help you write the perfect eulogy
Writing a eulogy is a wonderful opportunity to honour a loved one in front of family and friends at their funeral service.
While it may appear to be a daunting task, speaking from the heart and including fond memories is enough to give a moving and fitting tribute.
It may feel overwhelming fitting everything you knew and loved about the person into around four minutes but highlights and humour will make it enjoyable for everyone.
Here are a few helpful tips to writing that perfect eulogy:
- Before you do anything, seek the guidance of the funeral celebrant in relation to when to speak and what to say.
- Preparing the eulogy in advance will prevent rambling and make you feel stronger about stepping in front of the congregation.
- By combining the person’s main life achievements, personality and contribution in life with funny and fond memories, it paints a whole picture.
- Writing a memorable funeral speech doesn't require top writing skills.
- Instead, all it really needs is an honest and complimentary portrayal of the deceased.
- The organisation of the speech is important to hold attention. So, have a structure or at least mental signposts to fully capture the person
- Speak well of the person, there's a time and place to release skeletons from the closet but the funeral eulogy is not it. It's the opportunity to remember the good things and shine some light on an otherwise gloomy time.
- It's not a biography, as it's only four minutes long it needs to be short and sweet while still capturing the whole person.
- How to start a eulogy is what stumps most people. Once you get into the flow it's easy but the opening line is a difficult one to capture perfectly. Start with something light, a quote from a poem or a quote from the person themselves if they once offered some wisdom which never left you or maybe they had a funny expression to which everyone will relate.
- Include big achievements in the person's life - be it a university degree, a series of successful jobs or something as simple as being a wonderful family member and community activist.
- The simple day-to-day things that make someone special is what they will be most remembered for.
- Mention the people they were close to; their parents, husband or wife, children and any extremely close friends.
- Any sports or club involvement will also illustrate the type of character they were.
- Write these main points down before expanding.
- Also prepare yourself for the Eulogy, as it's a difficult speech when emotions are running high.
- Have cue cards which display the speech clearly as you may get lost reading from one long page.
- Practice reading it a number of times beforehand so it sounds natural and read it in front of someone.
- Bring some water with you and don't be afraid to pause and breathe to help hold composure.
- Finally, remember that everyone is there for the same reason - to remember someone they loved and whose memory they will cherish.
- They're on your side so take your time.