How do I write a Eulogy?

The Life Tribute (Eulogy) is a speech given at a memorial or funeral service to celebrate the life of a loved one.  It can be delivered by a family member, a family friend, a colleague or associate, by someone else or by the celebrant.  We always recommend that it is delivered by a member of the family who feels comfortable to do so, giving people the chance to feel as much about the life as they hear.

A eulogy is a way of saying farewell to a person who has passed away by expressing and sharing thoughts, feelings and experiences that honour and respect them.

The Life Tribute can be written in many different ways depending on the person and the circumstances.

•      Delivered as a more formal speech which includes the person’s history, career and achievements;

•      More personal through the sharing of stories, memories and anecdotes, or

•      Combination of these two styles

Writing The Life Tribute can seem like a daunting task, however writing one can also be a way to start the healing process. To help with writing a life tribute or eulogy, here are some tips.

Ideas to help

The most important thing is to write from your heart and express what means the most to you. Remember you don’t have to do it alone – there are resources around that can help.

•      You could start by looking around the house and pulling out old photo albums, going through old letters or emails, and any other memorabilia.

•      Perhaps go for a walk around your loved one’s house and garden as this may trigger memories and ideas.

•      Talking to close relatives, friends, and acquaintances is also an excellent way to remember things.

If you are still not sure how to put your thoughts and emotions down on paper, here are some tips to help you with the writing process:

•      Make some notes of your memories, special moments together, your feelings for that person and anything else that comes to mind. It doesn’t necessarily have to be their life story but more about what your loved one meant to you.

•      From these notes pick out a number of items that are especially meaningful. If it is appropriate you could include something humorous that can help diffuse some of the tension people at a funeral might have and can help to make the tribute personal and unique.

•      Write a rough draft without worrying about how it sounds – you can polish and review it later once you have all your thoughts down on paper.

•      Organise the information so that it contains an introduction, middle and end.

•      Review and polish The Life Tribute and practice reading it out loud.

Some things that can be included in The Life Tribute

The Life Tribute can also be made meaningful by describing your loved one’s life in terms of achievements as well as a timeline of their life. Here are some facts you might like to gather and include in The Life Tribute. The Life Tribute doesn’t have to include all of these to be meaningful, but by adding some of them it can help make The Life Tribute more complete:

•      When and where was the deceased born

•      Nicknames and/or names they are known to others by

•      Parents names – where they met and married

•      Brothers and Sisters

•      Early childhood – localities and interests

•      Schools attended, awards gained

•      Academic or trade qualifications and achievements

•      Some interesting items about childhood days

•      Details of any war or military service

•      Details of marriages, divorces, children, significant relationships

•      Details of grandchildren/great grandchildren

•      Details of any Club memberships, positions held

•      Details of sporting achievements

•      Details of any hobbies or interests, travel, crafts etc.

•      Details of historical significance

•      Preferences, likes and dislikes

•      Details of activities e.g. music, theatre etc.

•      Any special stories, sayings, qualities that are significant to others

•      Special readings, music or poetry to be included.

What if I am not able to deliver the Eulogy on the day of the Service?

If on the day you do not feel that you can deliver The Life Tribute, your celebrant or minister should be ready and willing to step in and help you deliver the eulogy.   Remember however that people do not expect you to not feel emotional and they won’t judge you if you need to take a few moments to collect your thoughts and composure during the service.

The reality is, you don’t need a formal eulogy or life story, some of the best tributes are spoken from the heart, or are songs sung by someone, or any other type of tribute you like.  You have the opportunity to do almost anything you would like to at a funeral, so don’t feel that you are bound to traditional eulogies if that isn’t your thing or if that won’t reflect your loved one.

If you need some help planning a eulogy or tribute, why not get in touch with us at 1300 043 522 or [email protected] and see if we can assist you through the process.

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