The eulogy is the part of the funeral service that celebrates the life of someone who has passed away. It’s a personal and often anecdotal speech that commemorates life and bids farewell while offering comfort to those left behind. The eulogy usually lasts for about five to ten minutes – although there are no rules to this – and can be delivered by a family member, close friend, the minister or celebrant, or someone else appointed by the family.
There are no rules for writing a eulogy story – the important thing is that it comes from the heart. But if you’re struggling to find the right words, following this simple structure might help.
A good place to start is to call close friends and family members to gather stories or information they might like included in the service. Contact people from all walks of their life, from family and close friends to colleagues, sports team members, club members, carers, old friends and anyone else you think might have a unique story to share.
As the eulogy is a commemoration of a life, it helps to plan it as a life story. After introducing yourself briefly, start at the beginning with the deceased’s early childhood or information about their parents.
Move on to their education and include anecdotes from people who knew them at this time. Do they have any embarrassing stories from school years? Did they make any major achievements? What sort of activities were they involved in and who were their friends?
Outline what kind of work the person did and what inspired or led them to do that work. This is a good time to bring in anecdotes from colleagues and employers.
The most important thing here is to talk about their relationships, how they were loved and how they were seen through the eyes of their family members. This is an emotional time for everyone, so it’s important to make all family members feel included.
Personal Interests and Achievements
Include information about the person’s interests, hobbies and achievements as a separate section or lace it throughout the eulogy as you refer to their time in school, work and family life.
Each person’s eulogy will be very different. It should celebrate the uniqueness of the person and honour their life and their death. To finish the eulogy, you might like to add a few sentences about their personal qualities and legacy they leave behind. If you have a quote you’d like to include in the eulogy – either one that relates to the person’s life, a religious quote or one that simply seems relevant – this makes a solid closing to the speech.