Writing a Eulogy? We Can Help

If you’ve been tasked with writing the eulogy for your recently deceased loved one, you may be thinking; how do I start?

What do I focus on? How can I do this person’s life justice? We’ve been in this position before and we have a little advice for the layman-turned-writer reading this post.

If you don’t know where to start…

We know the feeling of staring at the blank page for hours with no words coming to mind. Do you start where your loved one was born? Do you start with the information of their death? Do you start with the most important information? Our advice is just to start. Get some words on the page, you can even write paragraphs that exist in isolation at first, and then rearrange them into a cohesive and logical progression of ideas. Usually, eulogies that start at the beginning of the deceased’s life read like boring summaries of events. We recommend starting with a personal story that encapsulates an admirable quality of your loved one. Start with a quote or an excerpt from their journals or even one of the last things they said to you. Once you have some words written, the organization will come more easily.

If you are worried about tone…

Eulogies can be hard to write because there is a specific tone that is appropriate. You don’t want to write personal jokes into a speech you’ll be reading in front of a congregation holding a variety of guests. We think you should read some eulogies to get an idea of the tone that most people use, and compare it to the eulogy you’ve written. People actually like eulogies that take some personal moments and share family emotions and stories, but it’s important that everyone reading it can connect with it, and if it’s too intimate or uses inside jokes, other people will feel like it’s beyond them. Have a few people proofread your eulogy who have different relationships with the deceased. If they still smile with fond memories and laugh when it’s intended, you’re good.

If you’re not sure how much is too much…

You may feel that you’ve gotten carried away with the amount of writing you’ve done, especially if other people are contributing and “being helpful” in the writing process. The average eulogy is about 7-10 minutes long, which is about 1000 typed words. It is generally acceptable to be brief if your speech ends up about 5 minutes long, but we would caution you to not go shorter than that or longer than the 10-minute guideline. Talking for too long is a great way to make enemies—avoid it at all costs.

If you are way intimidated…

Don’t be. Write something authentic, get some outside advice, and practice reading it out loud several times. Truthfully, people attending a funeral are more focused on their own emotions than on what you are saying. We recommend you take some deep breaths as you’re writing it and before you read it. It’ll all go smoothly, break a leg!

Continue Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *