When a loved one dies, there's always a lot to be done. Funeral services must be planned, the visitation must be arranged, and the cemetery plot must be chosen. All that work can be overwhelming at a time when you're feeling emotionally drained. In the light of all this grief and planning, writing the eulogy can seem like an insurmountable task. These tips will help you write a eulogy that is both respectful and worthy of your loved one's memory.
Approach Your Task Methodically
For many people, the hardest part of writing a eulogy is getting started. After all, words can seem terribly inadequate at a time when you and the people around you are experiencing intense feelings of grief. The following steps will help you plan the body of your eulogy and give you a starting point.
- Make a list of fond memories. Sit down in a comfortable, quiet place that reminds you of your loved one. Put on some music that reminds you of the person whose eulogy you are writing. With a clean, blank sheet of paper in front of you, make a list of several fond memories that you shared with that person. These memories may be funny or sweet, intense or commonplace. They should be memories that you are willing to share with your audience, as these memories will become the building blocks of the eulogy.
- Collect quotes from your loved one's favorite authors. Look through a few of your loved one's favorite books and pick out one or two quotes that would have been meaningful for your loved one. These quotes may not make it into the eulogy, but should provide inspiration for you as you write the eulogy.
- Draft an outline. Using the fond memories of your loved one as a starting point, draft an outline of the eulogy. The outline will look like a list of topics to touch upon in the eulogy. Keep the list of topics brief and meaningful, as the outline will be fleshed out in the next step.
- Write one paragraph for each topic you touched upon in the outline. Use the outline as a road map that guides you from one topic to the next. When you've written one paragraph for each topic, string the paragraphs together and add transitional sentences as necessary.
Have a Friend Edit the Eulogy
Seek help from a friend who is comfortable with his or her skills as a writer or an editor. Getting a second pair of eyes to look at the eulogy will ensure that the eulogy makes sense to the audience.
Keep it Brief
The eulogy will have the most impact if it's short enough for everyone in the audience to digest. The longer the eulogy, the more likely you are to lose the audience. Ideally, the eulogy will be approximately 3 to 5 minutes in length. If that's not possible, try to keep the eulogy under 5 minutes.
For more help, seek council from the funeral director, like Taylor Funeral Home, as you plan the funeral services. The funeral director will have heard many eulogies over time and may be able to offer tips and advice.