How to Write and Deliver a Eulogy

It’s an honour to write and deliver a eulogy, and it can be a daunting task, so try not to feel stressed or anxious. To gather your emotions together, try bringing a trusted family member or friend to stand by and support you when talking, also have a drink of water nearby. Your task is to honour the deceased, or briefly sum up their life in an interesting way in just a few minutes. Usually it’s quite short (five to ten minutes). It may reassure you to recite the eulogy to another person in a quiet room the evening beforehand.

Step One: Gather Memories

The eulogy is a special gift for those left behind and is the beginning of the healing process. Remembering all the good things about someone helps to lighten a heavy heart.

It’s important to talk to friends, significant others, kids, and parents- all the important people in the life of the deceased. You’ll want to hear and enjoy the stories they have to share. Even if you don’t include them in the eulogy, think of these shared memories as gifts that will help you to cope with your grief. So spend as much time as you can on this step.

Step Two: Relax; Don’t Worry

Unfortunately, you aren’t going to have enough time to include all of the stories. So choose the memories you think are best by listening to your heart. In fact, many people find the words just flow out of them when they aren’t worried about what they are “supposed” to write. Trust that whatever you share will be appreciated. Trust that the words you choose will be the right words. The key is to relax and remember to breathe slowly.

Step Three: Choose a Theme

Sometimes it helps to pick a general theme and focus on that. Maybe you’ll decide to praise accomplishments and achievements. Maybe you’ll choose to talk about work and family, describe a few positive character traits, or explain how this person influenced or made a difference in your life. Some people prefer to simply share favourite music, scripture, or poems.

Step Four: Organize the Middle

Once you’ve decided on your theme, you’ll need to organize the main body of the speech. I think it’s easiest to follow the rule of three; you might remember that this rule suggests things presented in threes are more satisfying and easier to digest. Talk about three accomplishments, three achievements, three stories about work and family, three character traits, your three favourite memories, or three poems.

For each main section, just be sure to give examples or stories that illustrate your point. The main idea is to share your own stories or some of the stories you heard from others. It’s OK to share both serious and humorous stories because the eulogy is a celebration of a life well-lived.