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Preparing the Eulogy

A loved one has died and you have been given the special task of presenting the eulogy. This is an honourable responsibility to be able to give a fitting tribute of a person who is loved by all who are present.
Writing is not a strength we all hold. You may be thrown into a panic. However, remember that you are not alone and the eulogy doesn’t have to be perfect. Family and friends attending the service are compassionate and understand that this is a very emotional task and are there to support you.
To help you in preparing the eulogy, Sylvan staff have generated the following guide.

How long should the Eulogy be?

Generally the eulogy is 5 to 10 minutes in length. While this may seem like a long period, you will find the time is easy to fill with all those precious memories yourself and others have.

You don’t need to be a good writer

Not everybody is gifted with writing, and you may see yourself as this. To deliver a eulogy you need not be a write, but a story teller. Reflect upon the times you have shared stories with family and friends in the lounge room, in the street or at work. Presenting the eulogy is simply another moment of ‘story telling’. As you write, don’t only include your memories, ask others what their memories are also and write these down.

Preparing to write

When thinking about what to jot down on paper, perhaps you could present the following information.

1. Begin with the person’s history.

(Note the significant events in chronological order: childhood, education, jobs, marriage, children, places lived, holiday destinations, etc.)

2. Gather you stories

Jot down stories which capture your loved one’s character. Your family and friends are there to help you add to these stories. Remember to include stories which others listeners remember and relate to. Even the simplest stories are worthwhile; remembering their love of sweets, the way they drove along the road, their big powerful hug are but a few examples which can help reflect the persons character.

Answers to the following questions may also be useful to be included:

  • How did you first meet and become close?
  • What did you love and admire about them?
  • What did he/she do that made you smile?
  • What will you miss most?

3. Use a theme

It is a wise with any storytelling to use a theme so that the story flows from one to another. For example – a persons love of animals can start with stories about the strays they found whilst a child to opening up their own veterinary practice. By having a theme, this shows the pathway the person took in their life to achieve their goals.

4. Organise your notes

Once you have all your stories, put them in chronological order so that the stories flow from when he person was young to old. We suggest placing short notes of these stories in point form then elaborating on each point to tell the story.

Writing the Eulogy

When doing any form of writing it is wise to break it into parts – introduction, body, conclusion.

  • The introduction is simply an opening statement which grabs listeners attention along with presenting what ideas you will be telling. For example “Today we are here to honour and remember our loved one, who has touched us all with her kindness and generosity to the community in which she lived.”
  • The body of the eulogy is where you share the stories demonstrate the qualities named in the introduction. Be sure to use a theme so that your stories flow from one to another.
  • The conclusion is simply ‘summing up’. This is where you summarise all the qualities listed in the introduction which have been emphasized through your stories. Also, reiterate what your loved one has meant to you.

We realise that this is a very basic guide, and it is difficult to sum up a person’s life in such a short period however we trust this has been helpful.

I need help writing

If you still feel that you are unable to write the eulogy, or feel afraid of public speaking, staff at Sylvan’s are able to help you with this. Philip J. McCormack has made himself available to help those who are struggling with the task of writing and presenting. For his contact details, please give us a call on (07) 3812 4000 and we are more than happy to pass on this information.

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