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How To Write An Eulogy

Writing an eulogy could well be one of the most difficult pieces of writing you’ll ever have to do. Writing a well-crafted piece to commemorate the life of the deceased at a funeral is always, for starters, going to be written at an emotional time, but it is important to remember that you are not only commemorating but celebrating the life of your loved one. It can be a daunting task, trying to get the balance just right.

How to Write an Eulogy

Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to include in an eulogy:

  • a condensed version of the life of the deceased
  • details about family members, friends, interests and achievements
  • favorite poems of the deceased
  • favorite songs, quotes or scriptures of the deceased

In order to make your eulogy meaningful it must be written from the heart, but then again, at a time like this, that’s probably where it will naturally be coming from anyway. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, the people in attendance will appreciate your eulogy anyway.

How to Start Writing an Eulogy

One of the first things to decide is how long you want it to last. Now then, if you’re well practiced at writing informative yet entertaining pieces you might be able to get away with 15 minutes or so, but for the most, try to stick to around 5 or 10 minutes tops. You don’t want the mourners to fall asleep now do you?

  • To be given the task of writing and delivering an eulogy is a real honor. You will have the opportunity of bringing the deceased back into the minds of those present, throwing in a funny story or two and just generally evoking memories of their life and times.
  • Personalize the eulogy with your own memories. After all, if you’ve been given the job then it’s a fair assumption that you’re one of the people who was involved most in their lives and knew them the best. If you’re not family why not tell the story of how you met, funny stories of things you did together, what you’ll miss about them the most – that sort of thing.
  • Gathering information about the deceased can actually be a very enlightening experienced. Talk to other family members (especially the older ones, they often have lots of tales to tell) and friends, find out all about the persons age/date of birth, their education, work, achievements, hobbies, special interests and where the person lived etc. You might be surprised at what you can find out!
  • Organize all of the details you’ve managed to learn about the deceased. Decide on what type of eulogy you would feel most comfortable with. Some people write a very serious eulogy, but others try to lighten the general tone a little, which can actually be a great comfort to everybody present.
  • Write your speech. Remember, the first draft does not have to be the final finished product. Write, re-write, read and write it again.
  • Rehearse – read it over and again, out loud. This not only ensures that you are familiar with what you’ve written (course you are, you wrote it!) but also you might notice things which don’t sound “quite right”. Why not try it out on a friend or partner, just to get their opinion before you go public.
  • Make your final copy – here’s a really good tip, make a final copy with bigger than average print – especially if you generally need to wear spectacles. There’s nothing worse than having to squint through your tears, whether they are tears of laughter or tears of sadness it still makes your eyesight squidgy.
  • Deliver your speech – now just remember, the purpose of the eulogy is simply to honor the memory of your loved one, not to win the approval of the audience or a comedy award. Have a drink of water handy, maybe a pack of tissues, and another person who can take over for you, just in case it all gets too much.

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