Writing a Eulogy

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How to write a Eulogy

Writing a Eulogy

Writing a eulogy is a difficult task. It can be hard to condense a lifetime of experiences into a short speech to be delivered at a funeral service. A eulogy doesn't have to be depressing and formal however. A eulogy can include favourite poems, meaningful reminiscences, war stories or even jokes. At the bottom of the page, we’ve included a quick guide on how to put together a thoughtful eulogy.

What do you want to say?

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First, collect the facts: age, family information - including children and marriages, places lived, career information, etc. Now think about the person you're remembering - what stories come to mind? What kinds of stories or quotes capture your loved one's personality? Talk with other friends and family so their ideas can be included as well.

Decide on a eulogy theme

A theme gives purpose to the eulogy and helps your audience see an overall pattern of behaviour and what the deceased's life stood for.

If you're writing a eulogy for your grandfather for example, your theme could be how he was always a great storyteller and a confidant to his grandchildren. With your theme in place, you can collect stories that he told other people and yourself, how he went on endlessly about the war, and how he helped his family through the rough patches with his wisdom.

If your theme was his important work and career, you might speak with co-workers to get stories and remembrances of his working life and contributions made to his field or place of business.

Organise your notes into segments

Rewrite your notes onto index cards or sheets of paper that you can shuffle around and work with. This will help you group the information into like stories or similar topics. Once you’ve organised your notes into an order than flows well, jot the information into a rough outline.

Write your speech

Write out a first draft and stick closely to the outline you've developed. Fill in any gaps by putting information in to link the topics, making each idea flow into the next. Try not to let the speech get too stiff; you don't want a fact sheet on your loved one's life. Try to incorporate real-life experiences or anecdotes, using bits of humour and light heartedness, if appropriate.

Practice delivering the eulogy

  • Read your speech to yourself out loud. This will help you point out any areas that don't sound right or are not appropriate.
  • Practice your speech in front of another person to get their input or deliver it in front of a mirror to get used to saying the words. Even delivering the speech on a trusted family pet, while imagining an audience, can help you work the kinks out.
  • While giving the speech, remember to relax and breathe normally. If you get nervous speaking in front of a group, pay attention to the speed that you are speaking. We tend to speed up when we're nervous, so take it at a normal speaking pace. It’s okay to add pauses to collect your thoughts or provide time for the audience to digest your information. Remember, no one will be judging you; they’re all there to honour your loved one.
  • Always take a second copy of your speech and provide it to a backup in case you can't continue at any point. It’s common to get emotional or break down during delivery. People will understand, but having a backup will ensure your information will be delivered if you can’t finish.
  • Above all - relax! If you start to feel nervous, try to imagine that you’re giving the speech only to your loved one. This can help take the pressure off.

    Guideline for writing a Eulogy

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    Delivering a eulogy can be one of the hardest things that a person can do. How do you summarise a life in just a few minutes?

    As long as the words are from the heart, it doesn't matter how much content there is. It’s more about the feeling and meaning behind them.

    There are two ways to deliver a eulogy – life-story, or funny and quirky stories of their personality. One thing to keep in mind is that there will be a mix of people that will hear your speech, so try not to swear or say anything that will cause embarrassment afterwards.

    Create a time line:

    • When and where the deceased was born
    • Nicknames and or names known to others
    • Parents’ names - where they met and married
    • Brothers and sisters and deceased’s place in the family
    • Early childhood - localities, interests, achievements
    • Schools attended and awards gained
    • Academic or trade qualifications and achievements
    • Some interesting facts of childhood days
    • Details of any war or military service
    • Details of marriages, divorces and significant relationships
    • Details of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren
    • Details of any club membership and position held
    • Details of any sporting achievements
    • Details of any hobbies or interests
    • Details of any travel
    • Details of any historical significance
    • Preferences, likes and dislikes - activities e.g. music theatre
    • Any special stories or sayings that are significant to others
    • If required, special readings, music or poetry
    • Special qualities they possessed 

    For help writing a eulogy, call us on 07 3392 9919

    day or night, seven days a week.

    For help writing a eulogy,
    call us on 07 3392 9919 day or night, seven days a week.

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