6 Simple Steps to Writing A
Eulogy To Remember
Give A Eulogy to Remember
Imagine a wedding
where the wedding speeches are made by someone who has never met – or barely
knows – the bride and groom.
Wouldn’t that be a
And yet all too
often, with a funeral, this is exactly the kind of thing that happens. And
people sometimes regret it for years to come. “I wish I’d stood up and said
something,” they say.
Of course, in a way
it’s perfectly understandable. The time between a person’s passing and the
funeral is naturally a sad and emotional one for those left behind. And because
many people are at first daunted by the idea of delivering a eulogy, it’s all
too easy to leave it to someone else.
And yet the reality
is that it doesn’t have to be that way. As well as being a great honor, and an
opportunity to do something good for everyone who will be there, giving the
eulogy is almost guaranteed to be a positive and moving experience for the
person who steps up for the task. And, with the right approach and support, it
can actually be pretty straightforward. In all my years of experience, I have
never met anyone who regretted giving a eulogy.
So if you’re at all
considering it, take heart, be bold, and go ahead.
And here are the six
steps you can follow to make the process easier and even more rewarding for you,
for all your own special reasons.
Step 1 – Take A
Moment for Yourself
At a time like this,
it pays to take a little time for yourself, so you can reflect for a while and
connect with your memories of this special person. Remind yourself of the very
good reasons you are doing this, and also bear in mind the truth, which is that
people who hear your speech will be extremely supportive, and will actually be
grateful to you for doing it.
Step 2 – Decide What
Kind of Eulogy
There are two kinds
of eulogy – the short biography, and the personal view. You simply need to
choose the right one for you.
The short biography
considers someone’s life as a whole. That doesn’t mean it covers everything,
rather that you start at the beginning – when and where they were born, etc. –
and mention the various parts of their life, up until their last days. This way
you touch on the different aspects of their life, plus it can also be a very
personal approach, especially when you include happy stories and
The personal view is
more like a slice of the person’s life, a series of snapshots. It can be purely
your own experiences, stories and impressions of their character, or you can
include other people’s memories too. This is very poignant, especially if you
write as if you are talking directly to the person who has gone, e.g. “I’ll
always remember the time when you…”
Some funerals have
both kinds of eulogy – a short biography from a family member, plus a personal
view from a colleague or friend, for example.
Step 3 – Collect
Your Building Blocks
What if you could
imagine floating up in a balloon, and looking down on someone’s life as a
sequence of photographs laid out below you?
This step is simply
collecting those photos. You can rely on your own memories and knowledge, or ask
others for their input. You might ask about their most precious memories, or
things they remember that really show the person’s character. And you can also
gather facts on the person’s childhood, family, career, pastimes, passions,
dreams, best ever holidays, etc.
Bear in mind that
humor is a good thing. Yes, funerals are sad, but this person also had happy and
funny times in their life, and telling stories of these can be a great way to
really bring their memory to life. And you’ll be giving people the healing gift
Step 4 – Bring Your
Building Blocks Together
Every eulogy has an
opening, a middle and a closing.
For the opening you
might simply welcome people and acknowledge the sadness of the day. For the
closing you can sum up the person’s character, say how much they’ll be missed,
thank those who have helped, and perhaps invite people back
As for the middle,
that’s where your building blocks come in. If you want to keep your speech to
about five minutes, you may need to discard some of them – trust your own best
judgement on this.
Step 5 – Rehearse
Once you’ve drafted
out your speech, read it aloud a few times, because this way you’ll naturally
notice improvements you can make.
You can also borrow
a wonderful technique which Olympic athletes use to calm their nerves. What they
do is, they make a movie of themselves running the race, with everything going
well (see yourself giving the eulogy, with everything going well). And once
they’re happy with the movie, they step inside and run it again, looking out
through their own eyes, hearing through their own ears, and feeling how good it
feels to have everything going well like this.
Muhammad Ali did
this many times for every boxing match he ever had, which is one reason his
predictions so often came true. And you can use the same approach to make sure
you deliver this eulogy really well too.
Step 6 – Delivering
This is a time to
make things easy for yourself. If you can, find out beforehand about the room
layout, the lectern, the microphone, how many people will be there, etc. The
more you know the more confident you will feel. Also, if you had any concern
about being too emotional, ask someone to stand by as your back-up person for
reading the eulogy, as this will again boost your confidence.
Then, for the day,
print the eulogy out double spaced so that it’s easy for you to keep your place,
take two copies of it just in case, and carry a small bottle of water so you can
keep your mouth moist before and during your speech.
My friend, when you
follow these six simple steps, you will be doing a great service in three
1. To the special
person who has gone, by honoring their memory
2. To the people
who hear you, by giving them the gifts of sharing, of fondly remembering, and of
3. To yourself, by
giving yourself the chance to do something special, to heal yourself at an even
deeper level, and to know you have made a difference
And as you look at
it like this, I wonder how easily you can now see what a wonderful thing it is
to take the next steps, to give the eulogy, to share the memories and stories,
and to bring some love and laughter at a time of sorrow and loss.
Burch BSc MSc PGCE MPNLP is a Professional Funeral Presider and author of the
eulogy guide ‘A Eulogy to Remember – How to give a great eulogy in six simple
steps’, which presents a simple, six-step process for successfully delivering a
eulogy and includes example eulogies, appropriate poems and quotes, and even
some 30-minute fill-in-the-blanks templates which you can use if you are really
short of time.
You can download
Section One of ‘A Eulogy to Remember’ for free – and the complete guide at a
discount – by visiting www.Eulogy-Guide.com.
For more free information on eulogy writing assistance, please visit our site at EulogySpeeches.net.
Resource offering proven and pre-written eulogies to help you prepare
your funeral speech. Offers sample eulogies, examples, and funeral
poems for the loss of family and friends.
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