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A short Guide for writing a Eulogy

A eulogy is a memorial speech delivered at a funeral to recount the life of the deceased. Most people would agree that the most difficult part in eulogies is the delivery. However, composing a good eulogy is half, if not as difficult as delivering it.

What people look for in eulogies are accounts that identify the deceased in a dignified way, so the deceased can be brought back to the minds of those assembled. The worst case scenario in a botched eulogy would be one that (intentionally or unintentionally) embarrass or defame the deceased, and subsequently his/her family, instead of paying respect.

As rather opposed to an obituary, a eulogy sways a little bit more to a personal account about one's encounters and opinions about the deceased. Base your eulogy script in this knowledge. Try to remember the circumstances you met, any outstanding and distinguishable (humorous, touching etc.) memories you had with the deceased, what you most admire about him/her, what would be missed and remembered most, and so on. This personalized approach is very important to help the audience identify as well with your speech.

Also keep in mind another equally important function of an eulogy, which is to provide a kind of biodata of the deceased. Cover important things such as the person's age, families, work/career, education, hobbies, places lived, and special events and accomplishments. Don't hesitate to research, as often mistakes are unaffordable in the sensitive setting of the funeral.

With these information coming to your mind, start deciding how you will put them together. Will it be light-hearted or serious? Which is more appropriate is up to you to decide. Use your utmost creativity to not make the eulogy clich├ęd, so it will be memorable. Put balance in the recount and biodata aspect of the eulogy. You don't necessarily have to segregate them into separate sections, as you can slip in facts in the recount stories, or use the recounts to strengthen a biographical fact of the deceased.

Remember that there's usually no need to make your speech formal. Moreover, a sense of casualness will make the delivery more personalized for each member of the audience.

Finally, structure your speech into three major parts, the beginning, middle, and end. The beginning should contain the generalized praises and statements about the deceased, while it gets more specific with recounts as it progresses through the middle. At the end, draw a conclusion and give your final messages to the audience (future hopes, statement of support, motivation, etc.).