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Eulogy Writing Guide

This Eulogy writing checklist contains a list of questions to help you gather your initial thoughts.  It may be helpful to go for a long drive or walk by yourself to help you gather your thoughts.  It may also be helpful to talk to family and friends to see if they have anything they would like to add.  They may tell a story or say something that gives you an idea.

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Questions to initially think about before you begin to write:

How do you know the person? How long have you known the person?

What where their hobbies?  Did you share any of these hobbies together?  If you did, do you have a funny story to share?

What where some positive attributes about the person?  Do you have a story about one time when you saw this attribute in action?

What did they like to do?  What did they hate to do?

Do you have a special memory that you want to share?

Did they have a favorite saying or "motto for life"?

Did they have an achievement they were particularly proud of?

Did your relationship with the deceased change you in any way?

What do you think their lasting effect on the world will be?

What is the one thing that you would like to say about the deceased?

After you have talked to other people, and thought through some topics on your own, it is now time to choose a focus. 

Pick a focus:

Their Life Story

Where were they born?  Did they get married, and have children?  Where did they live?   This type of Eulogy would tell the story of their childhood, any special awards they won, and any major accomplishments as an adult.  This type of Eulogy would be used if the majority of the audience knows the person from the latter part of their life.

Personal Accomplishments
This type of Eulogy would  be for an audience that is close family and friends.  The accomplishments would be focused on areas that directly affected the audience.  Ex. If the deceased was a devoted grandmother, and her grandchildren were present, this type of Eulogy would focus on her devotion to them.  If the deceased especially enjoyed the holidays, then their ability to "host" could be discussed. 

Personal Stories
This type of eulogy focuses on personal stories between you (or other family members and friends) and the deceased.  This is usually a light-hearted and sometimes funny.

Tips to Get Started Writing:

Once you have answered some general questions, and picked a focus get organized and get writing.  Use these tips to help you get started with writing.

1.  Choose the tone of of the eulogy.  You may want to check with family members to determine if the service is formal, casual, religious or secular.  Your tone should match the tone of the service.

2.  Compile your information --   Organize the information that you have written according to the focus of the eulogy.

3.  Be concise and organized -- Check with the funeral organizer about how long the eulogy should be.  Typically, eulogies should be between 5 and 15 minutes.

When writing (delivering)  the eulogy consider organizing the speech by using the following:

Opening Statement
It is important to identify yourself and your relationship to the deceased.  The opening statement will give tell the audience the direction you are going to take the Eulogy.

Briefly explain the theme or focus
Expand on the theme or focus and how the deceased affected your life. 

Tell the Story
This can be either a personal story that you shared with the deceased, or it can be one that a family member shared with you.  The story should be reflective of the theme you have chosen for your Eulogy, and will the general message of your Eulogy.

Summarize the information you have shared in a concise manner.  The summary can also serve as your conclusion.  No new information should be introduced in the summary.

Poem, Quote, or Song
Share a poem, quote or song that you think is reflective of the life of the deceased.  This is often a nice finishing touch.

4.  Rehearse the Eulogy.  After you have completed your initial draft, you should take a break.  After a break, you should return to your draft and make a few polishing changes.  Have someone else read the Eulogy, and practice your delivery in front of the mirror or another person.  Remember, when delivering your speech, maintain eye contact with your audience, and speak in a normal conversation voice. Compile cards to help you stay on track (if you need them).

Also See:
How to Write A Eulogy
Eulogy Examples
Sample Eulogy for Mother
Sample Eulogy for Father
Sample Eulogy for Grandmother
Sample Eulogy for Friend




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