If you have been asked to write a eulogy, you may be at a loss about what to include. There are many approaches that one can take when choosing what to say in a eulogy. Those choices would be based on your relationship with the decedent and the overall message that you wish to convey to the listeners.
Below are some ideas about what to say in a eulogy.
Including anecdotes about the decedent is a great way to help those who may not know him or her as well to get a sense of the kind of person that they were. For example, instead of “telling” the audience how much he liked animals, “show” them by telling a story of how he would rescue every stray dog and cat he found.
The use of anecdotes makes the eulogy much more personal than just reading a list of accomplishments.
Quotes or Scriptures
The use of quotes about life and death and scriptures is another good item to include in a eulogy. Such items are especially helpful to one having trouble trying to figure out what to say in a eulogy. Sometimes, finding the perfect quote or scripture can serve as a sort of launching pad for the rest of the eulogy.
A mention of the decedent’s values is almost always appropriate in a eulogy. Remember, these were the things that were most important to him or her, so it makes sense to highlight this in the eulogy. This does not mean that you have to preach to the listeners. Instead, just mention the values that the decedent held most dear.
How He or She Spent His Life
What to say in a eulogy can include accomplishments or a mention of how the person spent their life. Perhaps they had a successful career. Maybe they dedicated most of their adult life to raising children or to supporting a cause that was important to them.
Mention some of the best accomplishments and, if appropriate, how satisfied they were with their choices.
You do not have to use all of the above ideas in the eulogy that you write. Just pick and choose the items that seem best suited to getting your message across and honoring the one who has passed on.
It can be difficult to choose what to say in a eulogy, but remember that most of the people in the room are there because they cared about the person. Just choose words that will bring comfort and help them to remember the good times they had with the person who has passed on.
photo credit: simon_cocks
For those who may not know me, I am [NAME] uncle. The fact that someone had to sit down and write a eulogy for a child seems unjust. To us, there is nothing quite as unfair as the death of a child. But here we are, gathered together to say goodbye to someone who was here so briefly. As I prepared to write a eulogy for our beautiful [NAME], I thought of my sister and her husband.
At first, I thought of the pain of their loss. Soon, however, my thoughts turned to the first time I saw them all together. I thought of how happy that baby made my sister and her husband. The joy that [NAME] brought to each of us is something that should be looked upon as a gift.
Was she taken from us much too soon? Absolutely, but truly how much time would have been enough? Anytime we are forced to live through the death of a loved one, we long for one more chance to talk to them, or one more chance to hold them.
The truth is that when we love someone, it is never enough time and being separated from those we love will always seem unfair.
There was something about [NAME] that brought a smile to the faces of all who knew her. She had such a friendly, bubbly and outgoing personality. She could strike up a conversation with a lady in the grocery line or the lunch lady at her school. She knew no strangers and she truly did touch the hearts of each of us who were blessed to have her in our lives for just a brief moment.
We say goodbye to the earthly version of [NAME] today, but not to her spirit. That will live on in every smile brought on by her memory and in the hearts of all of us who will love her until we go on to meet her in the next life.
There is no easy way to say goodbye to a child. There is no way to make it seem right, just, fair or easy. What we all must try to do during this difficult time is to focus on the joy she brought and on the gift that she was and realize that we wouldn’t trade those memories to relieve ourselves of the pain that we feel today at her loss.
We will miss much about her, but we know that she is now winning the hearts of the angels as she strikes up conversations with them while she waits for us to join her in that beautiful place.
photo credit: quinn.anya
The loss of a loved one is never easy. If you have been asked to write and deliver a eulogy, you are dealing with your own sense of loss which can make it difficult to be able to prepare to write such an important item.
Because you want to be able to properly honor the decedent, it is important to take the time to prepare to write a eulogy that will be impactful, meaningful and memorable.
Set Time Aside
In order to write an appropriate eulogy, you will need to set time aside to do so. Depending on how involved you are with the rest of the funeral planning, this might be a challenge, but it is necessary. You might consider removing yourself from the flurry of activity by heading to a local library, coffee shop or other quiet spot. This will help you to focus on the task at hand without interruptions.
Draw on Memories
When preparing to write a eulogy, it is a good idea to jot down several memories that you have of the decedent. You may not use all of them in the eulogy, but it is helpful to have the list of memories handy as you are writing.
You should also make a list of accomplishments that you might choose to include as well as of the values that meant the most to the one who has passed on.
Find Appropriate Quotes
Another step in preparing to write a eulogy is to gather a list of quotes, poems and/or scripture versus to use. Browse books, Web sites and other places for meaningful scriptures and quotes. Jot down the ones that catch your eye. As with the memories, you will not use every quote, but having a list handy will help you as you are writing the eulogy.
Dealing with Emotions
Another important part of preparing to write and deliver a eulogy is understanding how emotional you may feel when it comes time to read the eulogy. While it is perfectly normal to feel emotional at such a time, it is important that you find a way to deal with those feelings so that you will be able to deliver the eulogy. There will be plenty of time to deal with your own grief. Those few moments that you are at the microphone is the time to honor the one who has passed.
Read the eulogy out loud over and over again, so that when you read it during the service, you will have a better chance of keeping your emotions in check.
When you begin to write a eulogy, you must keep in mind how long you want to make the eulogy. This will have an impact on how many details, anecdotes and quotes you include, so the length is something you should decide even before you start writing. Below are some things to keep in mind when deciding on the appropriate length.
The first thing to consider is whether or not you will be the only speaker. If there are going to be several eulogies offered, it will be more important to keep yours brief. If, however, you are to be the main speaker or the only speaker, it may be appropriate to offer a eulogy that is a bit longer.
Venue/Formality of the Service
Once you know if you will be the only speaker, you should learn about the formality of the service. In general, a longer eulogy is appropriate if the venue and service is more formal while a casual service calls for a eulogy that is more concise.
Relationship with the Decedent
If many people are asked to speak a funeral, those people often represent different areas of the decedent’s life. For example, it may include family members, childhood friends and co-workers. Your relationship with the decedent should have some impact on the length of the eulogy. It would be appropriate for a family member to offer a longer eulogy while a co-worker would typically write a shorter eulogy.
There is not a “right” length for eulogy. You should not try to fill a set amount of time if doing so means that you have to use filler and useless anecdotes. Instead, say what you want to say as briefly as possible.
In most cases, a eulogy should not be any longer than 15 minutes. That is not a hard and fast rule, but a generality. Keep in mind that there will be other things going on at the service such as words from the minister or rabbi, music and special readings.
It is also important to keep in mind the wishes of the family when delivering a eulogy. Some may expect a longer eulogy, while others may want you to talk for just a few minutes. If you are unsure, just ask them how long they want you to talk.
May 22, 2010 by admin
Filed under Connecting with the Audience When Delivering a Eulogy, Tips for Delivering a Eulogy
When delivering a eulogy, as with any type of public speaking, it is important to try and connect with the audience. Doing so will allow your words to have more of an impact and to be remembered even after the service is over.
While first year public speaking classes offer tips on how to connect with an audience, all of those tips may not be appropriate when delivering a eulogy. For example, starting a speech with a joke is usually a good way to draw the audience in. When delivering a eulogy, however, this is not appropriate. You can use humor in a eulogy, but it should take the form of funny anecdotes from the decedent’s life rather than jokes. Instead, consider starting the eulogy with a quote. The quote could be from a famous person or from the decedent. It should be powerful, brief and interesting.
A well chosen quote can help you get the attention of the listeners, and this will help you to connect with them throughout the rest of the eulogy.
Eye contact is another effective means by which a speaker can connect with his audience. Even though you may feel a bit nervous, resist the urge to continually look down at your notes. Instead, look at members of the audience. Move your eyes over the crowd rather than looking at the same person all of the time.
It is difficult for the audience to connect with you if they have trouble understanding what you are saying. Be sure that you speak into the microphone. Also, speak slowly. If you are not accustomed to public speaking, this can be a challenge. A good rule of thumb is that you should feel as if you are speaking just a bit too slowly, then you will know you are speaking at the proper speed.
Pointing and hand gestures are another means by which you can try to connect with the audience. If you are telling a story that includes someone who is present, it is fine to motion toward them. If you use a phrase such as “all of you”, you can make a sweeping motion with your hand.
Remember, to best honor the decedent with a eulogy, you must present it in a way that those listening actually hear what you are saying. By seeking to connect with the audience, you will help them to not only hear what you say, but to remember it for some time to come.
photo credit: Loozrboy
As you prepare to write a eulogy, one tool that you might find useful are sample eulogies. While these samples are not intended for readers to use word for word, they can provide some much needed inspiration.
Where to Find Samples
There are many sources of sample eulogies, but some are better than others. When you read the sample, consider how it makes you feel. If it fails to inspire any type of emotion in you, then it is probably not the sample that you want to use for inspiration.
How to Use Samples
Once you have found some quality eulogy samples, you can then decide how to use them. Because a eulogy should be personal, it is not a good idea to copy a sample eulogy word for word. You can, however, take key points or themes and then customize them to suit your own needs.
Look at the layout of the sample. What is the first line? What is the closing? What key points are included? Based on those layout points, you can create an outline that will help you when writing a eulogy.
Another useful bit of information you will find in many sample eulogies are quotes and scriptures. You can certainly use such items when writing a eulogy.
In addition to the layout of a sample eulogy, you can also draw inspiration from the theme. Some samples will be quite poignant while others will be more lighthearted. Decide which type of eulogy you want to create and then use samples that are similar in tone. You will be able to see how the desired mood was created and then apply those techniques to the eulogy you are writing.
While, as mentioned earlier, each eulogy should be personal, if there is a line in a sample eulogy that really grabs you, it is fine to include it in your eulogy. This, however, should be kept to a minimum.
It is best to gather several samples that you find appealing and then try to learn how the writer created the mood or tone that you want to replicate. By doing so, you will be able to create a eulogy that is 100% original while using some of the skills and techniques used by the write who created the samples.
Perusing several samples is an important part of preparing when writing a eulogy. You will gain inspiration and that will help you to write a meaningful and appropriate eulogy.
photo credit: simon_cocks
My mother was the type of person that always put others needs ahead of her own. It was of the utmost importance to her that those around her be happy and comfortable before she gave her own comfort any thought.
Any who had the pleasure of visiting her home can testify to the fact that you would be offered a veritable buffet of food choices. You can also likely testify that you weren’t going to get out there without eating something. My mom loved to see people enjoying her wonderful cooking, and often had enough leftovers to drop off a pan or two at the local homeless shelter.
She always seemed to find time to lend a hand and to reach out to someone who really needed it. She raised four children, and was an amazing mother. We never felt like we were a bother. Instead, we knew we were her priority, and she always managed to make us feel like the most important people in her world.
I remember when her mother died. She was crying and I put my hand on her shoulder and said, “Don’t be sad, Mommy.” She pulled me onto her lap and spoke words that I’ll never forget and that bring me great comfort on this day. She said, “I’m not sad for Grandma. I’m sad for me. Grandma is in a better place, but I will miss her. Still, I know that one day we’ll all be together again.”
The same faith that my grandmother instilled in my mom was instilled in me. I am sad today, but I am not sad for my mom. I am sad for each of us who grew so accustomed to her big smile, kind words and good cooking.
I am sad for all of the tomorrows in which she will not be an active participant, but that sadness is tempered with the belief that we will all be together again. That she is right now with her own mother, making plans for the day that they will greet each of us with a smile, a hug and the offer to sit around their banquet table for a bite to eat.
I look forward to that day, but for now will be satisfied with the many wonderful memories that I have of the most loving, caring woman that I have ever known. I know the loss will be difficult to bear some days, so I want to close with a promise found in the scriptures.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. . . . For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. –Isaiah 41:10, 13
photo credit: dorothy.voorhees
I have known [NAME] for more than 30 years. I know some of his deepest secrets and his most wonderful accomplishments. I also know that the day that he died, the world lost a very special man. He was the type that was more concerned about doing the right thing than he was about doing the easy thing. That, unfortunately, is a trait that grows increasingly rarer with every year that passes.
Such was his desire and drive to do the right thing that failing to do so expediently was unacceptable to him. If he got a traffic ticket, he paid it the next day. If he owed taxes, he mailed a check early to be sure it would arrive on time. His sense of values was clear and unflinching.
In addition to being a generally good person, he was also a wonderful friend. He was the type of person that you knew you could call with a need, but that often beat you to the punch. When I broke my leg, I looked out my window to see him there, trimming my bushes and mowing my lawn. I hadn’t asked for any assistance, but he saw a need and he acted on it.
As deeply as he will be missed by friends, the loss is even greater for his family. His love for his wife and children was made obvious in the way he spoke of them, and bragged about their every accomplishment. Through his actions, he showed me how to be a better husband, father and friend.
Today, as we gather to say goodbye, it is clear that while he will not physically be with us anymore, that his spirit will live on as long as each of us are alive. A famous quote reminded me of the importance of keeping his memory alive.
Samuel Butler said, “To die completely, a person must not only forget but be forgotten, and he who is not forgotten is not dead.” With that in mind, I can say with confidence that our friend, father and husband is not gone completely.
We now have the opportunity to live the rest of our lives in ways that will bring honor to a man who spent his life showing us how to be our best. Let’s never forget the lessons we learned from him. Let’s choose to be better for having known him.
Our hearts are heavy at the loss of a special man, but we can also rejoice in the way that he chose to live and in the knowledge that he did not squander the time he was given on this earth.
photo credit: erictitcombe
As you prepare to write a eulogy, you will need to gather a list of appropriate quotes and scriptures from which you can make selections to include in the eulogy. Below are just a few examples of Bible verses and quotes that are appropriate for use in a eulogy.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Psalm 23:1-6
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For he who has died is freed from sin. 8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. 9 For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. Romans 6:3-9
7 None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Romans 14:7-9
It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. -Samuel Johnson
To die completely, a person must not only forget but be forgotten, and he who is not forgotten is not dead. -Samuel Butler
For a man who has done his natural duty, death is as natural as sleep. -George Santayana
And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. -Abraham Lincoln
If you have been asked to write a eulogy, the prospect of doing so can be a bit intimidating. The good news is that you do not have to be a professional writer in order to develop a eulogy that is beautiful and appropriate.
There are some key points that can be included in most eulogies.
- Introduction of the speaker
This should be very brief. You just want to make sure those who are in attendance know who you are and what your relationship was to the deceased. For example, “My name is Joe Smith, and I worked with Tom for twenty years”.
- Words about the type of person the deceased was
This could include a mention of his moral values, charities or causes that were important to him as well as the impact that he had on those around him.
- Real life stories
Including a few stories from the life of the deceased is a great way to bring the other points that you make in the eulogy to life. For example, instead of just saying “He was dedicated to his church”, say “Every Saturday he could be found on the grounds of his church, making sure the landscaping was perfect for Sunday”.
If the person who died had accomplishments that were important to him, it is a good idea to mention those at some point during the eulogy. This could include career accomplishments and personal milestones, such as running a marathon or winning volunteer of the year at his favorite charity.
- Quotes and or scriptures
Finally, when your own words fail to bring the level of emotion that you want to the eulogy, you can turn to quotes and scriptures. Find books that include quotes about life and death from famous writers. Also, the Bible is a wonderful source of quotes for inclusion in a eulogy.
Some choose to use a powerful quote or scripture as a way to wrap up the eulogy. Others open with such a quote. Either way, most eulogies will include at least one such item.
When starting the process of writing a eulogy, begin by making notes about the person being eulogized. For each of the above categories, jot down some things that you want to include. Once you have all of the information gathered, you can begin to organize it in a way that will make sense and with transitions that will seem natural rather than forced.
Once you have a draft of the eulogy, it is a good idea to practice reading it out loud. This will help to ensure the eulogy is not too short or too long and that it flows in a logical way. This will make the eulogy more memorable to those that will hear it.
photo credit: ryk_neethling