How do you squeeze a lifetime of memories and experiences into a eulogy? It’s a challenge to fit everything that you want to say into a ten-minute speech! Here are some tips to help you share your memories without sounding like you’re reading from a list.
What is a Eulogy?
A eulogy is a remembrance speech that family members or close friends give during a funeral. Most tributes are around 10 minutes long and serve as an opportunity for reflection as people gather to honor someone’s passing.
The speech is meant to capture the essence of the deceased life, typically honoring their character, values, and what they contributed to this world. The best place to start is to think about what stories you would like to include.
How to Write a Meaningful Eulogy
Let us start by saying that there is no right or wrong way to write a eulogy. If you were asked to deliver a eulogy, you most likely had a solid connection to the departed.
- Gather Memories – Take a moment to create a timeline of some of their more significant life memories. These can include getting married, having children, talking about a career or travel, or involvement and dedication to their community. Once you see the timeline on paper, you can identify what is important to you to highlight in your eulogy.
- Formulate Your Ideas – Once you’ve created your timeline and chosen the moments you want to highlight, try to write down some keywords that you would use to describe the person and their personality. You may want to include some of these descriptors in your eulogy. Writing down what you cherished about their character and your life together will bring back specific memories about them.
- Ask Friends and Family – Friends and family members are an excellent source for ideas. You can ask them about their favorite memories, insights into their relationships, or places or times of year that will always remind them of the deceased. Gathering ideas from different sources can help tie the pieces of the eulogy together.
- Put Pen to Paper – The typical eulogy is about ten minutes long. That equates to around 1,500 written words. When you sit down and begin writing, write as you talk and let the words come naturally. The most important part is to focus on how and why this person was important to you.
Don’t Forget to Edit
Share your first draft with friends and family members once you’ve written out all of your ideas. It’s always helpful to have a fresh set of eyes to look at your writing.
During the editing process, remember the focal point of your eulogy. Was the deceased a great listener, had an adventurous spirit, or was it their dedication to their family or community? Make sure you bring those traits to life.
Writing a meaningful eulogy for someone near and dear to you can be quite an emotional process. It can also be wonderful and therapeutic. Embrace the opportunity to reflect on your treasured memories and help keep them alive even after your loved one has passed.