How to write a eulogy

Writing a eulogy can be a daunting prospect. What to say? What not to say? How much to say? 

Take a deep breath and exhale.

You can do this because we’ll help. 

Here’s what you need to do to write a heartfelt eulogy.

  1. Follow our easy 7 Step Guide: How to Write a Eulogy (below)
  2. Download our ‘How to write a eulogy’ template. WORD or PDF
    (This will help you get started.)
  3. Write between 500 to 1000 words.

As Henry Ford once said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”

Before You Start

  • Target writing between 500 and 1000 words
  • 500 words = 3 mins to read
  • 1000 words = 7 mins to read

Anecdote = short interesting and positive story about a memorable incident involving your loved one. 

Steps 1 & 2: Research/Opening

Instructions:
  • Choose your favorite anecdote from your stand-out moment’s
  • Show the true and personal nature of your relationship with your loved one.
Eulogy Script:

_____ (years/weeks/months/days ago) ___________ (name) said/did ________________________________.

Example opening:

Two years ago, the police stopped Mom and I.  Yes, I was driving slow. The officer asked if I had been drinking. Before I could ask, “Was my driving that bad?” mum leaned across, looked up at the officer and said, “No, she hasn’t been drinking, but she’s got pot plants in the trunk.”

To this day I still laugh about my car being searched for illicit drugs. The astonished look on mom’s face was priceless.

For all those who knew mom, her love for gardening was as legendary as her green thumb.  She welcomed new plants into the garden with as much excitement as a newborn grandchild.  

On the day my car was searched, mom was only trying to share her ‘potted’ plant joy with the officer.

That was my Mom; always looking for a way to add sunshine to someone’s day. 

Step 3: Who is your audience?

Instructions:

Introduce yourself as not all attending the service may know you.

Eulogy Script:

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m __________’s (name) daughter/son/wife/husband.

__________ (name) touched the heart of all those she met, and I thank you all for being here to honor her/him.

At such a difficult time, it’s essential to take comfort from the happy memories we all have of ________ (name).

I’m sure ______(name) would remind us all to take comfort from these memories.

Example:

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Dorothy’s third daughter and youngest child. Although I sometimes wonder. Unlike mom, I’m a plant torturer.

Mom – Dorothy – touched all our hearts in her own special way. I thank you for being here to honor her. I’m sure mum is looking down from heaven’s garden saying thank you too. But she would also remind us to take comfort from the happy memories we share. She won’t want us to feel sad.

Step 4: Write about achievements/a short bio

Instructions:
  • Choose the starting point on your loved one’s timeline.
  • Highlight the events that best reflects who he/she was and how others will remember him/her.
  • Expand on events here
    (if > 500 words)
    For example, you may also add more school, university, career, family, community, sport, and retirement achievements
Eulogy Script:

___________ (name) was grew up in _____________.
As a warm, compassionate woman/man who always _______________ people naturally ______________.

With a passion for (life, art, sport, practical jokes), ________ (name) became known for ________________ and ________________.

Example:

Mom grew up in a small house in Miami with her mother – having lost her father when she was two. Although times were difficult, mum was raised knowing right from wrong. And like all women of her era, she also learnt to cook, sew, knit and embroider. She was a one-woman domestic miracle. But in her heart was the dream to become a concert pianist.

While childhood financial hardship denied mom the opportunity to realise her dream, she didn’t give up. Instead, she adjusted and trained as a middle school music teacher.  That is where she met and fell in love with my dad.

Mom left teaching to raise her family — us. Mom made us her world. Every night she drew a heart shape on our palms and whispered, ‘My love is with you. Sweet dreams.’ Mom was my source of courage, strength and inspiration from day one. And it breaks my heart she is no longer with us.

But as I stand here, I know mom is saying I am now the source of courage, strength and inspiration for myself and my children.

Step 5: Family Recollections

Instructions:
  • Recall a short positive anecdote that captures your loved one’s character and their role in the family.
  • Expand on heartfelt anecdotes here (but keep to your word limit.)
Eulogy Script:

Everyone’s experience of family and growing up is different. But the time I treasure most is when ________ (name) ___________________.

Example:

Mom and dad met, married and parented as a team. Music and laughter filled our formative years, along with a healthy dash of tears and tantrums. But the year mum insisted she give a Thanks Giving piano concert in our front yard is legendary.

Word spread. Neighbors, friends of neighbors, friends of friends, ex-students, former work colleagues, tradespeople – over 150 people gathered that day to listen to mom play. Back then there was no Facebook, yet the network of people who knew and admired mom was astonishing.

It’s collective moments like mom’s piano concert in the front yard that make my memories of her so special. Mom was: selfless, hardworking, funny, generous, forgiving and most of all inspirational. Not only could she work magic in the garden, but her music opened doors in children’s minds and uplifted all those who stopped to listen.

Step 6: The Closing Goodbye

Eulogy Script:

It’s hard to say goodbye; to let go – to move on.  But if we keep beautiful memories in our hearts, we can find comfort in our minds knowing _________ (name) will always be with us.

As ___________ (name) always said, “______________”

________ (name) may you _________________.

We all love you and will miss you dearly.

Example:

It’s hard to say goodbye; to let go – to move on. But I know if I keep beautiful memories in the forefront of my mind, I will find comfort because mom will always be in my heart.

As the framed quote on top of mom’s piano reads, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Mom – may you forever nurture pot plants and play piano concerts in heaven.

We all love you and will miss you dearly. God bless.

Step 7: Proofread

Instructions:
  • Check dates and names are correct
  • Assess the overall tone
    Is the eulogy respectful, optimistic, heartfelt?
  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to read the eulogy
  • Approve. Do all family members agree with/approve of the eulogy?
  • Read the eulogy aloud and time
  • Practice reading the eulogy aloud.

7 Steps for Writing a EulogyFull example: 500 words

‘Mom’s Eulogy’ is 500 words long.
The reading time is 4-minutes. 
Suggested places to pause have been noted.

Dorothy Jean 
(Mom’s Eulogy)

[Steps 1 & 2]

Two years ago, the police stopped Mum and me.  Yes, I was driving slowly. The officer asked if I had been drinking. Before I could ask, “Was my driving that bad?” mum leaned across, looked up at the officer and said, “No, she hasn’t been drinking, but she’s got pot plants in the trunk.”

[PAUSE A MOMENT – ALLOW LISTENERS TO ANTICIPATE WHAT COMES NEXT]

To this day I still laugh about my car being searched for illicit drugs. The astonished look on mom’s face was priceless.

[PAUSE A MOMENT – ALLOW LISTENERS TO LAUGH OR NOT]

For all those who knew mom, her love for gardening was as legendary as her green thumb.  She welcomed new plants into the garden with as much excitement as a newborn grandchild.  

On the day my car was searched, mom was only trying to share her potted plant joy with the officer.

That was my Mom; always looking for a way to add sunshine to someone’s day. 

[PAUSE A MOMENT – ALLOW LISTENERS A MOMENT TO REFLECT ON THE  MOMENTS SHE MADE THEM SMILE.]

[Step 3]

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Jenny, Dorothy’s third daughter and youngest child. Although I sometimes wonder. Unlike mom, I’m a plant torturer.

Mom – Dorothy – touched all our hearts in her own special way. I thank you for being here to honor her. I’m sure mum is looking down from heaven’s garden saying thank you too. But she would also remind us to take comfort from the happy memories we share. She won’t want us to feel sad.

[PAUSE A MOMENT – ALLOW LISTENERS TO CHECK-IN WITH THEIR EMOTIONS]

[Step 4]

Mom grew up in a small house in Miami with her mother – having lost her father when she was two. Although times were difficult, mum was raised knowing right from wrong. And like all women of her era, she also learnt to cook, sew, knit and embroider. She was a one-woman domestic miracle. But in her heart was the dream to become a concert pianist.

[PAUSE A MOMENT – THIS MAY BE A FACT LISTENER’S ARE UNAWARE OF]

While childhood financial hardship denied mom the opportunity to realize her dream, she didn’t give up. Instead, she adjusted and trained as a middle school music teacher.  That is where she met and fell in love with my dad.

Mom left teaching to raise her family — us. Mom made us her world. Every night she drew a heart shape on our palms and whispered, ‘My love is with you. Sweet dreams.’ Mom was my source of courage, strength and inspiration from day one. And it breaks my heart she is no longer with us.

[PAUSE A MOMENT – TAKE A BREATH AND EXHALE]

But as I stand here, I know mom is saying I am now the source of courage, strength and inspiration for myself and my children.

[PAUSE A MOMENT – ALLOW LISTENER’S TO THINK ABOUT THAT]

[Step 5]

Mom and dad met, married and parented as a team. Music and laughter filled our formative years, along with a healthy dash of tears and tantrums. But the year mum insisted she give a Thanks Giving piano concert in our front yard is legendary.

Word spread. Neighbors, friends of neighbors, friends of friends, ex-students, former work colleagues, tradespeople – over 150 people gathered that day to listen to mom play.

Back then there was no Facebook, yet the network of people who knew and admired mom was astonishing.

It’s collective moments like mom’s piano concert in the front yard that make my memories of her so special. Mom was: selfless, hardworking, funny, generous, forgiving and most of all inspirational. Not only could she work magic in the garden, but her music opened doors in children’s minds and uplifted all those who stopped to listen.

[Step 6]

It’s hard to say goodbye; to let go – to move on. But I know if I keep beautiful memories in the forefront of my mind, I will find comfort because mom will always be in my heart.

As the framed quote on top of mom’s piano reads, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Mom – may you forever nurture pot plants and play piano concerts in heaven.

We all love you and will miss you dearly. God bless.

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