Writing a Eulogy: Simple Tips for Delivering a Heartfelt Tribute

Writing a eulogy can be stressful. You want to truly honor your departed loved one, but you fear not being up to the task. You fear not being able to handle the emotions in the moment. And you fear letting down those in attendance at the memorial service – family and friends who hold their own special memories. These are all valid concerns, but by paying attention to a few upfront tips, writing a eulogy – and delivering it – can be a rewarding experience for you and the other mourners.

From the Start, From the Heart

When writing a eulogy, it helps to first understand that no one in attendance at the memorial service expect you to be perfect. So, stop trying to be something you’re not. Instead, reflect on your own experiences and favorite memories of the departed. A eulogy filled with personal recollections delivered from the heart can be moving and meaningful, and can encourage others to think about their own experiences.

Be Brief and Focused

By focusing on personal reflections and what the deceased meant to you, you’ll be able to stay focused and deliver a eulogy that doesn’t ramble on without direction. Keep the eulogy to between 3 and 10 minutes.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Humor

When a loved one passes away, a big part of our sense of loss comes from remembering good times, happy occasions, and laughter that has been silenced. Just because a memorial service can be a solemn occasion doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be true to the nature of the individual. In most cases, your personal, happy reflections include moments filled with joy and laughter. And of course, because laughter can be comforting, don’t be afraid to include humorous recollections when writing the eulogy.

Know the Facts

While the eulogy shouldn’t be a mere rundown of dates and places and achievements, these can help provide context in the right measure. And yet, it can be surprising how often we think we know more than we do about our friends and family. So, before you include dates and fact in your eulogy, confirm their accuracy. Talk with other family members and friends if you are not sure of the details.

Think About the Legacy

When writing a eulogy, think about the legacy of the departed. What did they mean to you? How did they enrich your life and the lives of others? What were their notable accomplishments? How have they made the world a better place? How is the world diminished by their passing? How would they want to be remembered? Questions like these can provide perspective – and perhaps even a theme – for the eulogy. And considering the legacy of the departed can be a wonderful way to wrap up the eulogy.

Think It, Write It, Edit It, Practice It, Deliver It

Writing a eulogy actually has five parts. First, you’ll think about the departed and begin to formulate the personal thoughts and reflections that will go into the eulogy. Next, you will write it down. Then you should probably edit the eulogy over several drafts. Next, when you are satisfied with the words on paper, you should practice the eulogy. Oftentimes, words that read well on paper sound clunky when spoken, so it’s best to figure that out before you deliver it. Practicing also will give you an idea where in the eulogy you might struggle with your own emotions. And finally, the time will come to deliver the eulogy. Again, you don’t have to be perfect. Simply speak from the heart and you’ll do fine.

At Stillinger Family Funeral Home in Greenfield, Indiana, we hold many memorial services each year. Each one is unique because each person who passes away lived a unique life. We know that writing a eulogy can be stressful, but we also know that heartfelt eulogies are an important part of the grieving and healing process. If you have questions or would like to discuss pre-planning a funeral, contact us today at (317) 462-5536.

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