Writing a eulogy can either be a cleansing and demonstrative way to work through the grief of losing a loved one. Or it could put you into full-on panic mode. If you are in the latter group, have no fear! With some simple tips and an outline, we will help you write a touching eulogy that can be cathartic and move not only you, but those who will hear it.
Know Your Limits
To begin, the first step is to get in touch with the clergy or person who is overseeing the service. Depending on the location, religion or style, there may be different specifications of what the eulogy should look like. The person in charge should be able to tell you if there are any expectations about what the eulogy should look like (or not look like). Once you have that base covered, you can move on.
Start Your Outline
The purpose of a eulogy is to remember and praise the person who has passed away. As you write, you will be able to create a sketch of the life of the one who has passed. Whether you were asked to speak at your loved one’s service or wish to do this for your own purposes, going through this process can be very healing. Below you will find a simple template for writing a eulogy. Some of the items may not be applicable and other items can be added so that you are creating an authentic and personalized history of your loved one.
- Birth Details: date and place of birth, parents, and siblings
- Growing Up Years: schooling, favorite memories as a child, sports played, hobbies, favorite pets
- Employment: occupations, accomplishments, awards
- Marriage Years: when and where marriage took place, remembrances on how the couple met
- Memorable Family Moments
- Details of Children: their spouses and grandchildren, etc.
- They would like to be remembered for…
- Values, favorite sayings, and character qualities
- Life lessons to be passed on
- Favorite Pastimes: hobbies and other accomplishments
Fill in the Details
Once you have used the simple outline above as a template, you may naturally fill in the details, adding the character and life of your deceased loved one. If that doesn’t come naturally, start by thinking about your own simple interactions with your deceased loved one. That will often bring to remembrance the saying they always spoke or the stories they told you about their hometown. Add those memories and stories in to create a fuller picture of your deceased loved one.
Talk to the Right People
Another helpful tip is to talk to the deceased’s other closest loved ones. Ask them questions to help get a fuller picture of the deceased. Adding stories from someone else may be what you need to make the eulogy personal and touching, while not putting all the pressure on your own recollections. Here are some great questions to ask:
- What is their favorite memory of the deceased?
- What did they enjoy doing with him/her the most?
- What was the greatest lesson they learned from the deceased?
- What virtue or personality trait did they value most in your loved one?
Don’t be afraid to ask these questions of your close loved ones, but keep in mind that they might need some time to answer them in their grief. Often those times of remembering your loved one together can be more helpful and touching than anything.
For more help on writing a touching eulogy, reach out to us at Bakken-Young Funeral and Cremation Services. We would be glad to help put you at ease as you prepare for the funeral or memorial service of your loved one.