Return to the Blog

Posted on March 14, 2022 by jhcadm

How to Write a Eulogy That Celebrates the Life of a Loved One

When it comes to the funeral planning process, one of the biggest hurdles for many people is the writing of the eulogy. And it makes sense. After all, how are you supposed to write a tribute to a loved one that represents all of who they were as a person? When you put it that way, the task seems nearly impossible.

After more than 100 years providing funeral services and support to the Metro Detroit community, we’ve heard thousands of eulogies in a wide array of mediums and lengths. We’ve heard eulogies that have been sung, eulogies in the form of poetry, even eulogies that weren’t planned—coming straight from the heart. At the end of the day, there is no right answer for how to write the perfect eulogy for your loved one, but we do have some tips to help make the process easier.

Pick Your Favorite Stories (But Don’t Go Too Crazy)

The best eulogies are the ones with a consistent storytelling flow. This doesn’t mean you have to walk everyone through your loved one’s life from birth to death, but any stories or facts you share should have a purpose. As you’re getting started, consider what stories you want to share and how you can best do so succinctly and with impact. Can you think of stories of your loved one that made you laugh? Moments of gratefulness or love? Jot them down.

If you’re unsure about whether or not a story would be appropriate to tell at the funeral service, consider the guests who will be in attendance. Is the story likely to upset them? Then perhaps it is one best saved for another time. With that being said, there’s nothing wrong with incorporating moments of humor into the eulogy. In fact, many people find the act of laughing at fond memories a healing, cathartic experience.

Keep in mind that the format and tone of a eulogy may be dependent on the setting. A eulogy performed in a church, for example, is likely to be given by a minister and does not typically allow for friends or family to contribute during that time. For a funeral outside of a religious institution, a family member or possibly a close friend may be chosen to deliver the eulogy. Outside of the eulogy itself, which is traditionally given by only one person, there will be other moments throughout the funeral service for friends and family to speak.

Time Your Speech in Advance

If you’re nervous about speaking in front of an audience, or if you tend to find yourself going off on tangents, you might want to consider timing your speech out before the day of the funeral. Figure out what pacing works the best for you to give your eulogy in a good amount of time. Most eulogies range from five to ten minutes in length, though the five-to-seven minute mark is usually a good number to aim for. It’s not unusual for people who are in the midst of grieving to have trouble focusing, especially when it comes to a lengthy speech, so short and sweet is often best.

You Don’t Need a Dramatic Ending

Finding a conclusion to your eulogy can be incredibly difficult. There is simply no way to completely summarize the lived experience of a loved one. Our suggestion: don’t try to. Many people attempt to make the finale of their speech the most meaningful, and while there is certainly nothing wrong with this, don’t force yourself to somehow draw a dramatic conclusion. Instead, it’s far better to speak from the heart or make reference to something that meant a lot to the deceased.
Some of the most impactful eulogy endings we’ve heard have included:

  • A short, happy memory of an interaction with the deceased that demonstrated who they were as a person
  • A quote
  • A poem or poetry excerpt
  • A short reading from the deceased’s favorite book
  • A proverb or Bible quote
  • An excerpt from the deceased’s favorite song
  • A farewell sentiment spoken directly to the deceased

Still struggling with how to write a eulogy for your loved one? Our highly experienced and empathetic staff are here to guide you through the funeral process every step of the way. While we cannot help you write your eulogy, we can provide additional guidance and suggestions based on decades of history helping families just like yours plan the funerals of their loved ones. Don’t hesitate – talk to a funeral director today.

Posted in Funeral Industry, General Topics