How to write a eulogy

Follow these simple steps to write a eulogy that celebrates the life of your loved one

A eulogy is a way for you to remember and honor a deceased loved one before they are laid to rest. It is often heartfelt and a way to reflect on who your loved one was during their life. However, writing a eulogy can seem very intimidating. You may struggle to know what stories to share, and depending on your emotional state, finding the right words might seem impossible. But if you break down how to write a eulogy in a few steps, the process can seem a lot less scary.

Brainstorm ideas

Before you start writing the eulogy, you’ll need to decide which stories and personal details you want to weave among the usual biographical information, such as when and where the deceased was born. You’ll want to have enough talking points to speak for at least three to five minutes, but 10 minutes is the maximum length for how long a eulogy should be at a funeral.
 
Speak with other family members to get a better idea of who your loved one was and to collect more stories you can share. Hearing more stories might help you develop a theme for the eulogy, such as the deceased’s kindness or sense of humor.
 
Remember to consider how much humor is appropriate for the eulogy. If the deceased lived a long and happy life, it might make sense to add more humor to the eulogy than if the deceased unexpectedly passed or was young.

Write the eulogy

After you have all your content planned, organize your ideas in a clear and logical manner.

Introduction

Knowing how to start a eulogy can be the trickiest part of the process. The easiest way is to introduce yourself, share your relationship to the deceased, and acknowledge why everyone is gathered.

Biographical information

List biographical information in chronological order, starting with the birth of the deceased. Remember to mention other family members, including parents, siblings, spouses, children, and grandchildren, especially those in attendance.

Stories and memories

People like to reminisce about their loved ones who have passed, so don’t be afraid to tell a few stories. Besides special memories, you can also talk about your loved one’s achievements, hobbies, and talents during this section of the eulogy — any qualities that made your loved one special.

Goodbyes

A nice way to close your eulogy is by highlighting a lesson that your loved one taught you. You could even direct the end of the eulogy toward the deceased instead of the attendees to use the time to say your final goodbye.

Final steps

After you’ve finished writing the eulogy, ask a family member to proofread your work to check for any inaccuracies and then practice reading the eulogy aloud so you feel more comfortable on the day of the funeral.

What you should not say in a eulogy

Some things are just better left unsaid in a eulogy. As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t have said it to the deceased’s face, then you shouldn’t say it at their funeral. Some other things to avoid mentioning in a eulogy include:

  • Family rifts
  • Poor decisions
  • Inappropriate humor or stories
  • Faults and shortcomings

​Eulogy example

Your eulogy could look something like this:
 
We are gathered here today to celebrate the life of John Doe. John was my grandpa, and he was one of my best friends.
 
John was born on Jan. 1, 1945, in Capital City. His parents, Jane and Michael, had three kids, and John was the youngest. In 1968, he married his wife, Katherine. The two of them had four children and 13 grandchildren.
 
Grandpa John was an avid fisherman, and some of my best memories are with him on his dock. We spent every morning out there during the summer, reeling in fish and sharing laughs. I could talk to him about anything, and he gave the best advice.
 
During those hours on the dock, Grandpa taught me so much about life, but the biggest lessons I learned from him were to value patience and take life one moment at a time. I miss Grandpa John so much, but I know he’ll be with me every time I go out to the dock.

Additional resources

Writing a eulogy may not be the only difficult task you’ll need to complete. You may feel overwhelmed by the things that need to be done or be unaware of all the steps. That’s why Great Western Insurance Company has created resources to help you during this difficult time: 

How do you want to be remembered?

It’s an important decision. Preplanning your funeral now, before the need arises, puts you in charge of how you will be remembered and ensures your funeral will be meaningful for your loved ones.

While no one wants to think about their own death or planning a funeral, creating an advance funeral plan may bring peace of mind to you and your family. Advance funeral planning allows you time to understand the process, helps you make clear choices that are right for you, and alleviates financial and emotional burdens for your family during a difficult time.
 
The best way to guarantee your wishes will be followed is to prearrange your end-of-life plans. You can outline every detail in advance, so your loved ones won’t need to wonder what kind of service you want or whether you desire a burial or cremation. You can also alleviate the financial burden on your family by setting up a Preneed Funeral insurance plan.

Preneed Funeral insurance

Preneed insurance is used to fund a funeral service agreement between you and a funeral home. You decide every element you want included in your funeral service, which includes everything from the casket or urn to transportation for the family. The funeral home partner totals the costs, and that amount is the basis for your Preneed insurance plan. You can either pay the amount in one installment or through monthly premiums. Upon your death, the funds are used to pay the funeral home for your funeral.

Find a Preneed funeral home partner in your state

 
This article may contain links to third party websites, but Great Western Insurance Company is neither responsible nor liable for their content, accuracy, or security. Review our Terms and Conditions to learn more.
 
Photo credit: iStock

Estimate your funeral expenses

Our funeral expenses calculator can help estimate your burial and end-of-life expenses and show how those costs could be affected by inflation over time. The data can help you determine whether Final Expense or Preneed Funeral insurance will meet your needs.

Calculate Your Funeral Expenses

Request a FREE Funeral Planning Guide

Do you need help preplanning your final wishes? Request a free copy of our Planning Guide.

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