Writing a eulogy is no easy task, more so delivering it. One cannot help but be emotional. But if you will ask those who have already done it, you will learn that it is actually therapeutic.
One of the hardest parts is actually squeezing into a few minutes the wonderful life moments of someone dear to you that has departed. That’s why I am here to help, to give you seven simple tips that are both heartfelt and memorable.
7 Steps in Writing a Eulogy
Writing a eulogy Step#1: Do your research.
The very first step is to collect as much information as you can. Take it from your personal memories with the person. Check out old photographs. Look at his old photo album collection to see what his important memories were and to paint a clearer picture of the kind of life that he lived. You can even interview key resource persons, those who were present during important moments in his life, including family, friends, relatives, colleagues. Look for common themes in their stories. Hopefully you will be able to get the top qualities of this person. In writing one, try to answer the following questions:
– What made him truly happy in this life?
– What drove you to write a eulogy?
– What were he passionate about?
– What will you remember the most about him?
Writing a eulogy Step#2: Organize your thoughts by starting with an outline.
Start by establishing the main theme of the eulogy from the information you have gathered. After the opening salvo, build on this main theme by narrating stories, quotations, and your personal memories with him and stories from other people. This part comprises almost ninety percent of the eulogy. When you have narrated all the important stories and have solidly built the character of the person, you are ready to end it with short conclusion. Sum up what you have said and don’t forget to state again the main theme of the eulogy.
Writing a eulogy Step#3: Work on the hardest part of the outline.
As mentioned above, it is the mid-section that comprises most of the eulogy. That is why you should devote more time and energy writing it. After you have finished writing this part, it will be easier for you to write the first part and the last part. Drafting an outline would help in writing a eulogy, especially this part. Write down themes that are similar based on your notes from your research. For instance, you could group together all the achievements. And you could group together all quotable quotes and funny anecdotes mentioned by his loved ones. Grouping like themes would help you write a better and more concise.
Writing a eulogy Step#4: Conclude it well.
The last part of a speech is often the most memorable part and the one that will leave a mark to its audiences. In this part, your goal is to remind the audience of the main theme and the emotions brought about by the sorry loss. A concise yet effective conclusion is what you need. You can use these as a guide:
“What we will all miss the most about her is her great sense of humor. Along with her great baking skills, who wouldn’t miss those delicious choco chips?” (Injecting a bit of humor is fine as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone).
Writing a eulogy Step#5: Go back to writing the first part of the eulogy.
You would want to have an attention-grabbing start. This will set the mood and tone of your whole eulogy. You can start with a quote, a poem, some famous lyrics of a song, or even a short story. It should be fitting and will lead to the main theme of your eulogy.
Writing a eulogy Step#6: Refine your work.
After you have finished writing it, let it sit for a while, sleep on it, and then go back to reviewing it and polishing it. Check if it flows properly. Check if it is like talking to the audience and they can relate to it as much.
Make sure it’s written concisely. The standard is often three to seven typewritten pages, and around four to eight minutes long when delivered. Make sure font size is legible, it is recommended to use size 14. Do not forget to put the page numbers in case the pages fall down. Rehearse reciting it out loud in front of a mirror, or even to family and friends. Ask for their feedback and recommendations. Make the necessary changes when needed.
Writing a eulogy Step#7: Delivering the eulogy.
It is often unadvisable to read everything verbatim when delivering a speech. But with the case of a eulogy, it is often advised to do so, to also avoid being too emotional. This is also so that you would not leave out any important point. If looking at the eyes of the audience would trigger too much emotion, then it would probably be better to just keep looking at your notes, or perhaps look at a point at the back of the hall. If you need to take a breather, pause and get some water, it is totally understandable. Don’t forget to talk clearly, loudly and naturally. Speak from your heart.
Hopefully these simple steps would help in writing a eulogy become more memorable and less daunting.