What is a eulogy?

A eulogy is a speech given commemorating and celebrating the life of your loved one. It can be delivered by a family member, close friend, priest, Minister or celebrant. It can be as simple as sharing stories and memories or it may be a more detailed account of your loved one’s life.

Writing a eulogy

Writing a eulogy can be a difficult task particularly if it is not something you have had to do before. To help with guide you through writing a eulogy we have provided some advice below.

The first step is to decide what type of eulogy it will be. Most eulogies are written in one of three ways.

  1. A more formal speech which covers your loved one’s history much like a biography
  2. A sharing of a collection of stories and memories
  3. A combination of these

If you decide that the more formal approach is best for you then the below list can be used as a guide of what sort of information you may choose to include.

  • 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.

If you choose to make your eulogy a more informal sharing of memories and stories you may still find it useful to make notes on your memories, special moments together, your feelings for that person and anything else that comes to mind. It doesn’t have to be their life story but more about what your loved one meant to you.

If you are finding it difficult to put your thoughts down on paper remember that writing a eulogy is not something you have to do alone. Include your close relatives and friends, look through old photo albums, letters and other memorabilia. These things can often help to trigger memories and ideas.

When you have composed your notes 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 your speech and practice reading it out loud.

The most important thing is to write from your heart and express what means the most to you.

Below are some examples that you may find helpful

Eulogy Example 1 – A Son for his Father

Eulogy Example 2 – A Wife for her Husband