Person writing in a note book.

Writing a eulogy

A speech at a funeral is known as a eulogy. It’s a way to say goodbye and let everyone remember their loved one. There are no rules as to what you should say yet we found that over two thirds of bereaved UK adults are often lost for words.

Funerals make connections bringing family and friends together. You may often find it difficult to give a eulogy as there is a big sense of responsibility whilst also having to cope with your own strong feelings. We’ve created a guide to help you find the right words and some advice below to get you started.

Where to start

  • If you could say only three things about them, what would you say? This can really help focus your speech. Think about everything that they were to you, and how they impacted your life.
  • What made them special? Any favourite pastimes, interests, likes and dislikes?
  • What are the highlights of their life story? Draw on memories of their life, including having children or scoring a winning goal – anything that made them truly happy.
  • Ask siblings, friends and family about times they shared and times they would have been proud of.

Structuring a eulogy

  • Decide on the tone. Do you want it to be light hearted or formal? A letter, a poem or a simple few words?
  • Divide it in to three parts, beginning with their childhood and working through the highlights of their life. Or beginning with the recent past, then working backwards.
  • Alternatively, you can write it as a letter to them.

Delivering the eulogy

  • Think about who you will be speaking to. You can speak to those at the funeral using words such as he/she/they or you could choose to speak to the deceased – “I remember when you…”.
  • Practice aloud first so that you are familiar with the words, you understand how long it will take and where to put in pauses if necessary.
  • If you change your mind about delivering the eulogy, it’s okay to ask someone else to give the speech on your behalf.

Download our guide on how to write a eulogy to help you find the right words, with a foreword by Sir Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate.

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