How to write a heartfelt eulogy
Giving A eulogy is an honour and can help yourself and others on the path to healing. This Eulogise Eulogy Assistant can help anyone write and deliver a beautiful heartful eulogy speech, no matter your writing ability or speaking experience.
How to write a eulogy in 7 steps
How to write a eulogy in 7 steps
Read our walk through guide to help anyone write a touching, heartful eulogy with ease.
Free eulogy example templates
Free eulogy example templates
Explore our range of complete, editable eulogy samples, to suit the style of speech you wish to give
Helpful tips for reading a eulogy
Helpful tips for reading a eulogy
Remember these simple tips to help you handle your emotions and nervousness whhile delivering your eulogy.
What is a eulogy?
A eulogy is a speech delivered during a memorial service, in tribute to someone who has died. It is often spoken by close family or friends or can be read by a celebrant or minister of the service. The eulogy is an opportunity to say farewell, to honour and express their life, achievements and how they touched the lives of others.
Eulogise helps you write a personal heartfelt eulogy, with our Eulogy Assistant; A step by step guide with tips and examples to reference.
Why write a eulogy?
Writing a eulogy can seem a daunting task, especially in the midst of grieving for the loss of someone close to you. However, it can also be a powerful step in the healing process. Thinking about the one you’ve lost for the purpose of writing a eulogy can also give added purpose to how you’re feeling, producing something positive for all the family and friends. The eulogy can also serve as a personal farewell, helping you process your grief.
Write a touching eulogy in 7 simple steps
Relax and don’t be overwhelmed by the responsibility, or fearful of being overcome by your emotions. Follow the steps outlined in our Eulogy Assistant, and approach the task one step at a time. Remember, you don’t have to do it alone and everyone present is supporting you.
Take some time to reflect on the deceased. You may choose to walk through their home, or garden, look through old photos and remember times you experienced there. Talk to close friends and family about their life, how they met, what they did together and how long they’ve been a part of each other’s lives.
You may wish to make some notes to gather your thoughts and spark memories. Let the thoughts flow, rather than trying to write any story at this point. You may wish to consider what they meant to you or your feelings for them. How they impacted your life or the special moments you shared.
Identify a selection of the most meaningful notes to include in your speech.
Decide on the tone.
Be natural: write and speak in your own voice. Consider how serious or lighthearted you wish to be, depending on the personality of the deceased and their family and the circumstances of their death. A Eulogy need not be a completely sombre speech.
Humour used cautiously, or amusing stories can help convey their character. Mixing a lighthearted tone with more sombre moments can help the healing process. However, consider the person and the audience when deciding how to use humour.
It’s a good idea to introduce yourself and your relationship to the deceased at the beginning. It provides context and depending on the size of the service, there may be people present who are not sure of who you are.
The introduction part of the speech should include the personal details of the deceased, including their nick-name, where they were born, age or date of birth. The names of the parents are usually included, as well as other loved ones in chronological order during the introduction.
You can recount this in a storytelling way, rather than a list of facts. For example: “Eva was born to Jean and Simon Angelheart in the beachside town of Margaret River. It was a beautiful day in 1973, made more special by the arrival of Eva, who would touch the hearts of so many through her eventful life.
What to include
After the introduction, you can tell the story of their life, or if there are several speakers, the part of their life that was most important and relevant to you.
Usually, the details of the deceased’s life are covered chronologically, starting with where they grew up, their education and career. The growth of their family, from how they met their spouse to the birth of children and grandchildren follows next, naming each of the family members in turn. Any notable achievements, hobbies and interests can be outlined next.
This is where you can focus on one or two details, experiences or qualities that matter most to you, and expand on them in greater detail. You may have an anecdote or a humorous experience, or simply wish to reflect on a part of their character that you felt made a difference in their world around them.
Again, try to share these details as a story, or how they enriched their life and made them who they were, rather than merely a list.
Summary of details to include:
– Childhood experiences
– Education and work experience
– Family life
– Memberships and associations
– Travels, experiences and interests
– Notable achievements
The ideal length for a eulogy is between 3 and 5 minutes during which, you’ll have covered much detail. So use your closing remarks to summarise, by capturing one or two of the most important thoughts, that capture the spirit of the deceased. Make it personal, consider what you cherished most.
For example: Eva was a selfless and thoughtful person. She was a person of great integrity and compassion. Above all, Eva believed in appreciating what is around you. She always said, “Think of what you have, not of what you want, and you’ll always be happy”. Those are words of wisdom that I will always cherish.
You may then wish to share a poem, prayer, quote or scripture reading, to provide a moment of reflection.
Be concise and organise your thoughts
Giving a eulogy speech is a great honour, however, it can be emotionally overwhelming. It is very important to prepare, to avoid being overcome, making it difficult to complete your speech. The best way to do this is some simple preparation.
Organise your thoughts into a structure, similar to the above steps. Write them down clearly in large type that is easy to read. Be brief on details that are less important and select only a few details that are most relevant, or illustrate their character the most, to expand upon. You’re aiming to keep the speech to within 3 – 5 minutes.
Seek feedback and edit your speech
After completing the writing of your speech, set it aside and come back to it in a few hours. Read it through, from beginning to end out loud. You’ll inevitably find some areas that don’t quite sound right. Think how else you can say it and continue doing this several times. Consider how you can shorten certain thoughts or descriptions. How much detail do you really need to convey the thought? Often simplicity helps people follow and keep focused.
It is a good idea to read your speech to another person, as a practice. Listen to their feedback and consider how it may help you achieve what you wish to say.
Once you feel the speech is working, continue to read it out loud to rehearse and help you keep control of your emotions on the day.
Eulogy Examples for all personalities and relationships
We all have different relationships with each other, based on our common experiences and interests. Often a memorial service may include multiple eulogies or readings, with each speaker sharing a unique perspective on the life of the deceased.
We have prepared a range of examples to help you prepare for any style of Eulogy you wish to give. Use these as a starting point, and expand on them, edit them as creatively as you wish.
A eulogy speech and editable template with a focus on spirituality and the value of life.
A eulogy from a grandson to his grandmother focused on the bond and values she imbued in him and the family.
A daughter’s eulogy for her loving father, that captures his life and their relationship.
A eulogy from a father, saying farewell to a son with a focus on the bond and value of their relationship
A eulogy from a from an old friend, reflecting on the importance of the character and friendship of his childhood friend.
A sister eulogises her brother, a guiding force in her life from childhood to adulthood.
Helpful tips for giving a eulogy
Share the load
Remember you are not alone and you can lean on family or close friends to help you if your emotions get the better of you.
Regardless of how stoic or in control you feel you are, prepare for this possibility, as things can change when the moment is upon you. Ask a friend or family member who may be a step removed from the deceased to stand by. In the event that you find it too challenging to continue, they can step in without any disruption. Ask them to rehearse the speech also. Sometimes, just knowing they’re there can be of great comfort and help you continue.
Other strategies to help when emotions become strong
Print Your Speech.
Have your speech printed in large, easy to read double spaced type printed on a single side of the paper, or arranged on palm cards. In the event you become a little emotional, or nervous and flustered, it will be easy to keep track of where you are at and what you wish to say. Also, if your stand-in does take over, it will be easy for them to pick up where you left off.
Keep tissues handy.
It’s a good idea to keep some tissues handy. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge and show your feelings, even if that means a few tears. Just take your time and continue as you feel you are ready.
Pause and breathe.
If you feel yourself choking up, just pause, look up to the back of the room above the congregation and take some deep breaths. Don’t rush or feel self-conscious. Everyone is there to support you.
Rehearse several times.
Practice reading your speech out loud several times in the days prior to the service, in exactly the way you plan to deliver it. This will really help you maintain composure on the day.
Keep it short.
Keep the duration of the speech to around 3 – 5 minutes. It can be hard for people to follow if it’s too long and if you do become emotional it can be harder to get through. If you would like to cover more detail, consider multiple speakers. Each person could choose a different aspect of the deceased’s life or character to focus on.