“He was a great man – a crazy, wonderful genius.”
Eddie Izzard on Spike Milligan
A unique tribute to a unique life. Writing and giving a eulogy is a way of saying farewell to someone who has died that, in a sense, brings the person to life in the minds of the audience.
A eulogy may be a short life history of the person who has died, details about family, friends, their work or career, interests and achievements and may include favourite memories, poems, songs, quotes or religious writings.
Try to plan what you would like to include before you start writing. Gather memories by speaking to loved ones, family and friends. Think about what made the person happy, where they lived, what they achieved and what made them special.
Whether you would like to deliver a serious eulogy or one with a light tone, try to make your tribute sound as natural as possible. You may want to read it to your friends or family before the funeral and it is a good idea to print the eulogy out to read from.
Here are some prompts to help you get started in writing a eulogy:
- Who am I speaking to?
- How would the person like to be remembered?
- What made them special?
- Favourite pastimes and interests, likes and dislikes?
- When were they happiest?
- Who was really close to them?
- What did I really like about them?
- What did other people really like about them?
- What are the highlights of their life story?
- If I could say only three things about them, what would they be?
- Who can help me check my facts?
- Do I want someone else to give the eulogy on my behalf on the day?
- Is anyone else planning to speak about the person at the funeral?
- Do we need to avoid saying the same thing twice?
It is natural to feel emotional when delivering a eulogy, so take your time. Remember that a eulogy does not have to be perfect; the most touching and meaningful tributes are written and delivered from the heart.