How to Write a Eulogy

The death of someone you know, especially a loved one, can be devastating, depending on the relationship you had with that person. You run the gamut on emotions: shock, anger, and grief. On top of all that, you have a funeral to plan. You have to choose a funeral home, a day for the burial service, what kind of burial service, visitation, a casket, what outfit to bury your loved one in, and the list goes on and on.

Probably the most important part is the burial service. Again, a myriad of decisions must be made — and on a time frame. When will the burial service be? Who will speak at the burial service? Will there be a priest? Do we accept flowers or should we ask for donations in lieu? And the list goes on once again.

You’ve been asked to speak at the ceremony. But what to say? How can you capture a life in a few minutes? Dolan Funeral Home in Chelmsford, MA, recognizes the challenges involved in such a task. We’re here to help, so we’ve compiled some tips to help you recognize and remember your loved one.

TIPS FOR WRITING A EULOGY

  • From the heart. This is not the place to be concerned about grammar and proper English (especially if your loved one used colloquialisms!). Write with one thought in mind: would your loved one like what you say? What others think doesn’t matter.
  • Serious or funny? Humor is a great healer of grief, so even if you want to focus on the accomplishments of your loved one, throw in a joke or funny memory here and there.
  • Consider the audience. This is important — mainly for adult language. If there are a lot of little kids there, that favorite dirty joke of Uncle Harry’s may best be left unsaid.
  • State your relationship to the deceased. There will be guests you don’t know, so clarity in who you are can give the listener some idea of where you’re coming from.
  • Don’t forget the basics. Remind the audience the basics of your loved one: birthday, anniversary if he or she were married, favorite places he or she visited, favorite activities, favorite facts, etc.
  • Powerpoint is optional but nice. With technology, don’t be afraid to have a slide show playing in the background of some memorable moments of your loved one. A visual is a great remembrance for your audience members, especially for the littlest ones!
  • Personalize the eulogy. This encompasses your memories of you and the loved one. Don’t feel obligated or pressured to leave out stories that someone else thinks is embarrassing. Remember, this is for the loved one and no one else.
    Stories. All of our lives are chapters woven together to make one big book of who we are. Sometimes what speaks the best of who we are are the chapters in this book: the trip we took fly fishing, the time we picked up a hawk by the side of the road and drove it to the rescue center, the unpredicted chance meeting that led to marriage, the reconnected friendship that defined a decade, the tradition of cutting a Christmas tree, carving a turkey, or making homemade cookies for the first snowfall every year. Include the stories that speak to your loved one’s amazing life.
    Quotes. Another defining characteristic of most of us is how we talk, what sayings we have, and what advice we were famous for. Include these as well.
  • Stay positive. Leave the past in the past where it belongs. We’re all human, and we’ve all made mistakes and caused others hurt. These past hurts or angsts are personal demons we need to make peace with and not at a funeral eulogy.

Dolan Funeral Home in Chelmsford, MA, is here to help in all of your burial service needs. We are available 24/7 since, like life, death is unplanned. We pride ourselves in providing bereavement support services and aftercare resources as well. If you need an ear to listen to your eulogy, give us a call. Serving Chelmsford, MA, and the surrounding areas since 1974, we’ve heard thousands of eulogy speeches and can offer advice and guidance. If you’ve had a loved one die recently or are just interested in pre-arrangements, contact Dolan Funeral Home today.

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