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
No two eulogies should be exactly alike. Each should be written with the decedent in mind, and should be a reflection of that person’s life and accomplishments. That being said, there are some things that should be included in most eulogies. Keeping these key points in mind will help keep you focused as you write a eulogy.
When writing a eulogy, you should almost always include a mention of the person’s core values. What was important to him? How did he choose to live his life? How did he impact those around him?
Remember that a eulogy is a memorial of a person’s life. It should almost always include a mention of those values that were most important to him.
A eulogy should also include a few of the biggest accomplishment achieved by the person being remembered. This may include career accomplishments or personal accomplishments. You can include recent accomplishments, but it is also fine to go back several years.
If you are unclear about his accomplishments, ask a close friend or family members for ideas about what to include.
- Mention of Family
Obviously, it is almost always a good idea to include a mention of how much the person being eulogized loved their family. You could repeat some especially nice thing you heard him say about his spouse, or talk about how he was always bragging about his children’s accomplishments.
- Looking Ahead
When writing a eulogy, it is often a good idea to include a mention of life without the person being remembered. This will usually be placed near the end of the eulogy. You could say, for example, “While it is difficult to imagine life without Tom, we know that we will forever be able to cling to the wonderful memories that we have and that he will be watching over us.”
Such looking ahead can help to give the eulogy a feeling of having a beginning, middle and an end which will make it easier to follow and make it feel complete.
- Quotes or Scriptures
Finally, most eulogies contain a quote from a famous writer or a scripture verse. Such quotes can be found in books and on Web sites. Look for quotes and scriptures about life, death and mourning.
While it is common to include a quote or scripture as a way to end the eulogy, feel free to insert such material anywhere that it seems appropriate.
It can be a challenge to write a eulogy. While it is a good idea to read all that you can about what you should include and where to find inspiration, it is just as important to learn about what you should avoid including in a eulogy.
- It Was God’s Will
Even if you truly believe that it was God’s will that the person being eulogized died, it is not usually appropriate to say so. Not everyone will agree with that assessment, and it can cause pain to those closest to the person who has died to hear those words, especially so soon after his passing.
- It’s for the Best
Again, not everyone will agree with this statement. Even if the person who died had suffered through a long illness, there is a good chance that those closest to him would do anything to have him back.
- Minimizing the Loss
This is a quite common mistake made by those delivering eulogies. In an attempt to make the family feel better by putting their loss into perspective, they instead unintentionally minimize the loss.
For example, they might say something like, “While it is difficult to say goodbye, at least he lived a long and happy life” or “While losing a parent is difficult, it is far worse to bury a child.”
Remember, at that moment, this is likely a devastating loss to the decedent’s family. Do not say anything that could be interpreted as minimizing that loss.
- Inside Jokes
At most funerals, the use of inside jokes during the eulogy is not appropriate. The eulogy should be easily understood by all who will hear it. If you include inside jokes, this will not be the case.
Instead, stick to more general stories or choose inside jokes that can easily be explained in the eulogy.
- Making it About You
Another common mistake that people make when writing a eulogy is to make it about them. For example, “I don’t know how I will go on” or “He told me that I was the best friend that he ever had”.
The eulogy should be about the person who has died, not about the person who is delivering it. Avoid language that puts the focus on you and instead find ways to honor the one who has passed.
The above mistakes, while common, can detract from an otherwise beautiful eulogy. Keeping these five tips in mind will help you to write and deliver a eulogy that will bring honor to the one who has died.
photo credit: oneselfsacrifice