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How to Write a Eulogy Speech

Once the transition of death occurs, it may fall on the spouse, child, or friend or clergy, to compose and deliver the eulogy. The eulogy is the "sending off" message, the "funeral praise" or the oral memorial given in honor of someone who has died.  The Eulogy may also be in written form, and can be included in funeral programs and memorial keepsakes. Being asked to undertake this task is a great honor and symbolizes the trust and love the family members have for you, the Eulogist.   It can also be a difficult experience to be asked to give an eulogy as you are recalling memories that are personal and deep to your heart. 

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The eulogy itself can be delivered in a varieties of ways.  It can be somber or humorous, brief or lengthy, deeply personal or very generalized.  It may be helpful to check with the deceased's family to ask what the general "tone" and format of the service will be.  You should also consider giving a brief and general overview of what you plan to say in your eulogy to family or clergy.
The eulogy can contain a chronicle of the deceased life history, shared memories between family and friends, a reflection of the deceased person's legacies, personal achievements.  It may also include details about family, friends, career, and hobbies.  Just as no two people are exactly the same; neither do any two eulogies perfectly echo one another. Their content and delivery vary widely based on factors such as nationality, culture, religion, values, personality and traits of those involved. 

General Format or Guide Composing a Eulogy

Introduction and Opening Statements

Things you may want to include:

  • Introduce yourself and explain your relationship to the deceased

  • Thank guest for attending the services, acknowledge guests that have traveled to attend

  • Express condolences to family member and close friends of the deceased

Talk about the special qualities and characteristics of the deceased

This will be the longest part of the eulogy.

  • Tell about special characteristics of the person

  • Tell of stories that happened between you, or other family and friends of the deceased.

  • Talk about their goals and ambitions

  • Tell what you learned from that person...describe what they taught others.

  • Discuss personal achievements, special talents, hobbies, or life passions

Offer uplifting and comforting thoughts to the audience

Give Closure

  • Summarize your speech 

  • Say goodbye to the deceased (directly or indirectly)

Composing and delivering a eulogy can be huge task.  Do not be afraid to ask for help. Going it alone  in difficult and sorrowful situations may prove to be far more stressful on your emotional well-being than necessary. Sharing the burden of composing a eulogy may go a long way to reducing the heavy burden you bear.  Don't be afraid to ask friends and family members for stories and information to help you deliver the best eulogy you can.

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Also see Eulogy Examples:
Eulogy Examples
Sample Eulogy for Mother
Sample Eulogy for Father
Sample Eulogy for Grandmother
Eulogy Writing Guide (Checklist)

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