How to Write a Eulogy

Writing the perfect eulogy for someone close to you can be difficult. We’ve got some helpful tips and advice to help you compose your tribute.

When you lose someone close to you, it can be an incredibly traumatic experience. In the lead up to the funeral, you may find that you’ve either decided or been asked by family or friends to deliver a eulogy – a tribute to the departed, to honour their memory and share the experience of their life with all the attendees of the funeral. Writing a eulogy is never easy, and some may find that it’s incredibly difficult to summarise into words someone’s life.

We’ve asked S. Stibbards & Sons, expert funeral directors in Eastwood (and all of Essex), for their best advice on how to compose a tribute eulogy for a funeral. In this post, you’ll find helpful tips and advice on how to write a eulogy for a passed, loved one. You can see all the information you need, below.

The 7 Steps of Writing a Eulogy

  1. The Tone

In every form of writing, there needs to be a certain tone in which you craft your tribute in. It’s key to figure out what sort of tone you want your eulogy to be in. Will it be serious or light-hearted? Will you include heart filled anecdotes or funny stories? The key is to epitomise the deceased, in a way which reflects their personality and life. Some find it best to use tasteful humour to lighten the mood of an otherwise sombre day. And other prefer to keep the tone serious – it’s a preference, and the tone should be decided with the departed in mind. Tone should also be circumstantial and is dependent on the situation of their death. Funerals where someone has met an untimely or unexpected death usually are more serious in tone, and therefore your eulogy should match. When deciding on the tone, always consider the circumstances and the deceased.

  1. The ‘Audience’

Although you’ll probably recognise most of the faces in the crowd, it’s important to remember to consider all of the audience when writing your eulogy. It’s important to avoid talking about any negatives, and if doing so, always allude to them rather than directly addressing – as you don’t want to astonish, offend or confuse the deceased’s family and friends. If you’re approaching with a humours tone, avoid using jokes that only you would know. Remember, you’re addressing an entire audience, and some may be unfamiliar with your references. Always explain in concise detail when recounting stories, to give the audience a full picture. Consider the audience when composing your tribute.

  1. Yourself

As we’ve mentioned above, you may not be familiar with the entire crowd at the service. You may see people you know, people you’ve met but aren’t familiar with and even some you aren’t sure of. All that matters is that they’re there to pay tribute. So, when composing your eulogy, make sure you include a brief introduction as to who you are and your relation to the deceased. If you’re a close friend or a niece or nephew, make it known to the audience – so people that don’t know you are immediately familiar with you and your relation to the departed. If it’s a smaller service, this step isn’t always necessary but include it anyway – for those that aren’t familiar with you.

  1. Basic Info

In every eulogy, you should always include some basic information about the deceased, as well as your own stories and anecdotes. This isn’t an obituary but should hit a few key moments and points about the deceased’s life. Mention family life, their career, hobbies and interests etc. to really help paint the picture for the audience. Including this basic information in your eulogy will help encapsulate the deceased’s personality and life.

  1. Specific Examples

When paying tribute, it’s great to list the qualities they had – but instead of just reading off one by one, use examples to help those attending, remember. A little anecdote or story paired with the qualities their possessed can really help breathe life into old memories. Speak to others about memories they hold and try and include them in your eulogy with examples attached about how they were and their qualities they associate. It helps make the eulogy feel more heart filled and gives the audience a painted picture of the deceased’s life and experience.

  1. Concise

It’s said that the average eulogy is around 3-5 minutes long, but your tribute can be as long as you like – as long as there is time in the service. When writing your eulogy, it’s helpful to plan alongside, to make sure you’re covering all the bases, including basic information, stories and more. Organising what you’re going to say can really help you with the flow of the eulogy and will make sure nothing is left out. Being concise is important, especially if you have an allotted time. So, speak to the funeral organiser about the length of the delivery, make sure you’ve run through and made sure your eulogy is delivered in a timely way.

  1. Ask for a 2nd Opinion

When you’ve finished the first draft of your eulogy, it can be really helpful to show it to someone. They may be someone close or who knows the deceased but getting a second opinion is always ideal. It ensures that the tone, audience and everything else is going to be right, and any examples you’ve included are appropriate and relevant. It’s always great to have a second pair of eyes look over what you’re going to say. From their feedback, you can make any adjustments they’ve suggested. Friends and family members will be able to read over your eulogy and help notice any errors or may be able to suggest things to help the smoothness of the tribute. Grammar isn’t key, as you’ll be reading it, but what you’ve written needs to sound right and make sense, so a second opinion is always useful.

Hopefully, this information provided should be able to help you craft the perfect tribute for the deceased. Whilst it’s a difficult time, a eulogy delivery is a key part of the service. To help you write, follow the tips listed above.

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