When it’s time to put a funeral plan in action, families and friends of our clients often ask for help with the intricacies of their loved one’s funeral service. Frequently, they ask us questions about eulogies such as ‘What is a eulogy?’, ‘How do I write a eulogy?’, ‘What should be included in a eulogy?’ and ‘What makes a good eulogy?’ In this article about writing a eulogy, Rest Assured Funeral Plans looks at the best plan, structure, context and content for writing a meaningful eulogy in tribute to a loved one. We’ve packed it full of tips and handy hints that will be helpful for writing a memorable eulogy and paying proper respects to a person who has died.

What is a eulogy?

A eulogy is a brief speech, most frequently given at a funeral or memorial service, made in account of a person’s life.

They commemorate and pay tribute to a person who has passed away.

Eulogies provide a way for one person to give an account of another’s life, through theirs and others’ memories.

They give mourners a way to pay their respects and reflect on a person they knew.

Just minutes long, eulogies are typically between four and eight minutes long and, in written form, need not be any more than 1000 words long.

There is a guide to writing a eulogy at the bottom of this article.

Well-crafted eulogies sum up a person’s life through their character and deeds, and how those things impacted the people around them.

Where possible, they note patterns in a person’s life and shed light on little known aspects of it.

In doing so, eulogies capture what made a person unique and they honour that uniqueness.

 

What is the purpose of a eulogy?

The purpose of a eulogy is to help mourners reflect on a person that they knew, by providing an account of their life.

Eulogies help to initiate the healing process after loss.

They are often the first time mourners encounter memories of a person, after that person has died.

Eulogies provide opportunity to recall the life, character and most important parts of a person so mourners may pay their respects and begin to grieve.

In enabling moments of reflection together at a funeral or memorial, eulogies generate a sense of comfort by re-establishing our understanding that people live on in our memories.

 

Who gives a eulogy at a funeral?

Eulogies are usually prepared and given by a close family member or friend of the deceased.

Often spouses, siblings and children are among those who choose or are asked to give a eulogy at a funeral.

While there is no obligation to accept the responsibility of giving a eulogy, it is regarded as a mark of respect and trust to be considered for the role.

Giving a eulogy is an honour, privilege, and a sign that people thought you knew the deceased well and played an important role in their life.

When the occasion appears too overwhelming to consider giving a eulogy, a friend or other celebrant are often equally able to fulfil the task.

 

What to include in a eulogy?

Eulogies offer a chance to give a heartfelt account of what made a loved one unique in various ways.

They celebrate the whole person and, in doing so, are best when they’re written with honesty and affection.

Eulogies incorporate a person’s best qualities and character traits, their personal milestones and professional achievements, their family and work life as well as their passions and hobbies.

When those things are relayed through memories, anecdotes and accounts of relationships they enjoyed, eulogies provide a warming experience for funeral goers.

Eulogies are written to be spoken. They don’t have to be serious and solemn. Many eulogies have a light tone in exploring the uniqueness of the deceased.

 

How to write a eulogy?

Finding the right words to sum up a loved one at their funeral is a challenging task.

It is a particularly difficult job to undertake in the midst of grief and disarming emotions.

All eulogies should be as unique as the people they portray.

So, the job of writing one becomes more daunting and difficult.

However, eulogies offer the chance to share in a loved one’s life. There are guidelines on ‘how to write a eulogy’ that you can follow too.

This blog post gives you a guide to writing a meaningful eulogy.

It will give you content and words that come from your heart, and a eulogy that resonates with mourners attending a funeral.

Follow these eight steps to help you gather content and write a good eulogy.

  1. Compile all the important names and dates

Names and dates are the nuts and bolts of your eulogy. Make a list of close family relatives and friends. Log all the important dates on a calendar to gain a greater perspective of time. Identify any significant events, and important people to contact, for research.

  1. Soak up their environment

Visit places they enjoyed. Walk through their neighbourhood, and home. Visit their local park. Use their local shops. These visits will help to stir memories, and a sense of their life, for your eulogy. They can also add a visual element to your writing.

  1. Get your own thoughts down first

Think, and write a list, of your own experiences and memories of the departed. Write about what that person meant and represented to you. This is key to allowing your authentic view of the deceased to form the heart of your eulogy before the memories and views of others are sought.

  1. Get some input

Talk to close family, relatives, and friends to gather consensus for a communal remembrance of the departed. Curate content for your eulogy by asking for stories, anecdotes, and any special mentions. Including this input in a eulogy helps everyone to feel included when it is relayed at the funeral.

  1. Identify the highlights

Consider the things you uncovered and considered. Select those that best remind you of the person to be eulogised. Identify the key milestones and parts of their life. Record how people described them. Include some of the funny and unusual things you learned and tell up to two anecdotes.

  1. Find a theme

Search their favourite songs, lyrics, poems, quotes, prayers or scriptures for a resonant theme for your eulogy. How do the themes of these writings relate to the personal data you’ve compiled? Add one or more to your eulogy to give more depth to your account of the deceased.

  1. Structure and organise your eulogy

Thank attendants and introduce the deceased (200 words). Identify a theme early. Relay others’ recollections of the deceased (200 words). Recount milestones and achievements (200 words). Acknowledge personal losses of named family and friends (200 words). Recognise a universal loss and close themes (200 words).

  1. Write your eulogy

First, consider your audience. Who will be there and what was their relationship to the deceased? Write, rewrite and edit your eulogy to strike balance in composition and tone. Focus on positive aspects of the deceased’s life. Write knowing that your words will be spoken. Be honest and warm in recollecting the person.

 

Rest Assured is an authority on all end-of-life matters including funeral plans, wills and property trusts.

For more information about funeral plans and how we ensure every customer is happy with the funeral plan they buy, please contact Rest Assured Plans on 0800 065 4514