Losing a person with whom you have a close relationship is never an experience to look forward to. However, as sad as it may be, losing loved ones is an inevitable human experience. Therefore, over time, humans have devised means of expressing their final farewells through speeches about the deceased during the funeral process, which has become a tradition for many worldwide. This type of speech is known as a eulogy. In this article, we have provided you with a guide on how to compose a eulogy along with many professionally crafted templates.
Composing a eulogy can be tricky and overwhelming, especially considering that it is a period filled with grief and sorrow. This article will help alleviate the process by highlighting tips to write an effective eulogy and providing templates that make the process even easier.
What is a Eulogy?
A eulogy is a verbal or written speech that commends the life of a deceased person. It primarily commemorates a dead person’s life and vividly projects the life they lived onto the audience’s minds. However, the eulogy can also be a speech used to appreciate and celebrate a person’s life, impact, and achievement at the same time, while they are still alive – usually at retirement or send-forth party.
The word “eulogy” originated during the 15th century from Latin (eulogium) and Greek (eulogia) words which means “praise; good or fine language”. “Eu” means “well,” and “logia” means “speaking” or “words”. Together, it means “speak well”.
Free Eulogy Templates
Writing a Perfect Eulogy
Writing a eulogy is no easy task, but here is a systematic guide to making it easier and more accurate to capture the loved one’s memory:
Phase 1: Brainstorming
Writing a eulogy for the dead can be tedious, especially if the person died young or tragically. To facilitate the process, start by brainstorming. Think about the audience, the deceased, and their loved ones. Note down some affectionate or exceptional recollections of the dead, along with vital information about their birth, graduations, anniversaries, and death that will illuminate the person’s essence.
This section will guide you on what to write, and memories to tenderly hint at or outrightly avoid:
How will they feel?
A eulogy is a powerful recollection that will evoke emotions in the audience. The audience will generally be sad, and some of them might be in tears. Try to lighten the somber mood by embedding inspirational and uplifting content about the deceased in the eulogy. The audience will appreciate this.
What do they want to hear?
Most people want to remember only the good deeds of their loved ones and will want the audience to have a positive image of the deceased. Therefore, it is wise to speak about the deceased’s good acts, jokes, or achievements that will capture their essence in a constructive light. On the other hand, there are subtle and acceptable ways to mention a deceased’s shortcoming without dwelling on it.
How long should it be?
Each speaker in a funeral program might have a time allotment. The eulogy should fit into that time without encroaching on another speaker’s time. In the absence of a time limit, keep the eulogy short within minutes (5 minutes on average) to maintain the audience’s attention. Inversely, a too-short eulogy signifies a lack of effort to celebrate the loved one.
Phase 2: Composing a eulogy
The following is a standardized outline to compose the best eulogy:
Introduce yourself and your loved one
The speaker should introduce themself and the relationship they shared with the deceased. Then, they can talk briefly about the deceased’s life, birthday, death, parents, siblings, education, and accomplishments. In addition, during the introduction, if the eulogizer is a member of the immediate family, they should appreciate the audience’s time and support during a difficult time.
Basic information about the deceased
The speaker could speak on any memory or event during the deceased’s early life, childhood, or school adventures. The speaker does not need to recount all that happened – this will be long and lose the audience’s attention – but should highlight significant events that illustrate the deceased’s life.
For example, the loved one could talk about how the deceased made friends with victims of bullying in their school.
Career, occupation, achievements, interests
This area is where a loved one can draw on materials to demonstrate the deceased’s life. A person’s occupation, interests, career, and achievements powerfully exhibit their core values and what occupied most of their time.
For example, the loved one could talk about why their father became a medical doctor or why he volunteered every year at the teenager’s summer retreat.
Structure the eulogy to highlight the deceased’s commitment to their family and family values. An example can be a time when the deceased helped a distant family member in trouble.
Share your memories
Numerous memories are shared with the deceased, especially for immediate loved ones like family members, religious members, club members, and colleagues. Some memories are famous, while some are not or are specific to individuals. A loved one can recount any one or a mixture of stories to exemplify the deceased’s influence in their life. This vibrantly projects the heart of the deceased to the audience.
Use specific examples to describe the person
Specific examples are stories about the deceased that bring their core closer to the audience. A recollection of a shared trip with the deceased, their advice, the assistance they rendered, etc., can help describe the deceased explicitly. A highlight of the person’s interest, hobby, or uniqueness portrays them better to the audience.
“during a bird-watching hike that we had some years back, Collins took the time to teach me how to recognize the birds’ mid-flight and stayed behind with me to catch my breath. He did not make me feel inept or that I was dragging down the group.”
Closing (say thank you and goodbye)
The speaker may use a quote, poem, or extract to close the eulogy. Remember to appreciate those that supported the family during the tough time and those present at the memorial. A simple, heartfelt goodbye to the deceased is also an effective close to a eulogy. State the deceased’s name with any bit of expressions of parting such as,
“We will miss you dearly. You are gone but will remain forever in our hearts. Rest in peace.”
Last Minute Tips for You
The tips listed below are essential to writing a good and moving eulogy that will illuminate the deceased’s life:
Decide on the tone
The tone of the eulogy could decide if the funeral service will move forward as a light-hearted service or a solemn one. The cause of death, age, personality, or wishes of the deceased could also set the tone of the eulogy.
Write it word for word
Writing down the entire eulogy is not compulsory, but it is necessary if the speaker plans to recite a literary piece or quotation. It is best to use speaking prompts instead to ensure suitable emotional delivery. Or you can also play some uplifting funeral song in the memory of the deceased one to end on a lighter note.
It is recommended that the eulogizer asks close family members or friends of the deceased to scrutinize the draft for any mistakes, update facts or remove improprieties. Doing this provides an additional check for the accuracy of the eulogy to the deceased.
Keep your eulogy conversational
Write the eulogy with a conversational tone, just like speaking with friends and family. This makes the eulogy riveting.
Share your eulogy
Eulogies are beautiful pieces immortalizing the deceased, and those who attended the funeral service or were absent should have a copy of it to celebrate the deceased beyond the service. Print and share copies of the eulogy to people during and after the service and publish it online. Share a copy with a trusted person who can finish the eulogy if, for emotional reasons, the eulogizer cannot.
A typical conversation is habitually imperfect, and the eulogy should flow like a normal conversation. This helps to connect with the listeners better and guides the speaker against mistakes during delivery.
Effective practices to give a eulogy
Leverage the practices listed below to deliver an effective and lasting eulogy.
Rehearse the eulogy
Rehearse the eulogy before the memorial service. The speaker should first sound out the words of the eulogy to themselves to judge their appropriateness. In addition, the speaker could read it in the mirror or other people to evaluate the effectiveness of the eulogy and review it. This helps to avoid mistakes during the actual delivery and adequately manages the emotions.
Use a conversational tone
The speaker should deliver the eulogy in a conversational tone and make eye contact with the audience to keep them interested and focused.
During the delivery, the speaker should pause when needed and speak in a slow, unhurried tone. This connects with the audience but does not drag the words. In addition, it helps to keep anxiety at bay and helps select words that convey the message better carefully.
Do not read the eulogy directly off the page. In addition, memorizing the content of the eulogy might be harmful during delivery. Emotions will be high, and the speaker might forget some memorized words. This will interrupt the flow of the speech. Instead, have a list of prompts that cover essential areas of the eulogy, which can be consulted quickly during the speech.
Overcome your emotions
There is no right or wrong way of delivering a eulogy, and the last thing the loved one should worry about is how to rein in their emotions. If overcome with emotions, the loved one should pause briefly before they continue. The display of emotions might help others to connect to the loss and the message of the eulogy.
- A eulogy is a commendation of a deceased’s life while alive. It covers their triumphs, lifestyle, and legacies.
- To write a good eulogy, the loved one should go through memorabilia like photo albums. In addition, they should think about the deceased’s life from birth to death, values, successes, family, education, and hobbies. The eulogy writer may also consult people who shared memories with the deceased.
- Keep the eulogy brief, light-hearted, and heartfelt. Use a conversational tone, avoid perfection, and share the eulogy with others at the service or online.
- Use one of the downloadable eulogy templates to help facilitate the writing process as the templates are easy to use and are highly customizable.