Ideas and Outlines for a Eulogy Speech
Getting ready to write a eulogy?
Looking for some sample eulogy templates?
Is there a way to keep a eulogy conversational?
Do you have to write a eulogy? Writing and delivering a eulogy is probably one of the greatest honors one can be asked. At the same time, writing it can be a most daunting task. First, you are grieving yourself from the loss of someone dear to you. And second, you are trying to write a eulogy speech that is appropriate for the deceased person.
In many cases, the deceased may have lived a long, productive life and was loved by many. But what if it’s some who wasn’t loved so much? Or someone who committed suicide.
Your situation may be similar to one of those listed above. Or you could be experiencing a completely different situation. In this article, we’ll supply several eulogy examples that will cover a variety of family and life situations.
How Is a Eulogy Template Useful?
A eulogy template provides a basic outline to follow when writing and giving a funeral speech at a memorial service. If you are not creatively endowed, you may want to rely on a eulogy example to help you through the process. A template can provide you with prompts that you can write about, or you can use it as a fill-in-the-blank template. You can also copy and paste the text into another document to write your eulogy.
Are you worried that someone will know that your eulogy speech isn’t entirely original? You can rest assured that most likely, the only people searching ‘how to write a eulogy’ online are those who are actually writing a eulogy. In addition, it’s the details that truly make a eulogy personal, not the writing prompts. So, feel free to borrow.
Keep in mind that a eulogy template can serve as an example of what to write about as well as a source for inspiration for the funeral. You are welcome to use these templates exactly as they are, or you can change them as you wish. It’s up to you. (Need help with an obituary? Feel free to use our Obituary Templates as well)
Keeping Your Eulogy Conversational
No doubt, a room full of grieving people experiencing a difficult time could probably use a laugh or two. So, it’s not necessary to be strictly formal when giving a eulogy speech at a funeral. It’s a good idea to write your remembrance speech as if you are sitting across from a friend and talking about the deceased will help you get through the writing process. And when delivering a more casual-toned or funny eulogy, you will be putting your audience at ease and help with the healing process.
One of the best eulogy tips: it usually helps to tailor the speech to the individual it’s about. If the deceased had a sense of humor, was a comedian or a practical joker, then write the eulogy in keeping with their personality. Recite some of their jokes or tell stories about things they used to do. Talk about what he/she meant to you and how they touched your life. Talk to other friends and family members and include a few of their memories during the funeral service as well.
No Eulogy Is Perfect
Let’s get this one out of the way. Just like no person is perfect, there is no such thing as a perfect eulogy. Instead of focusing on perfection, just be sure you use the right tone and you will deliver a good eulogy. And make sure it’s the right length. (Between five and 10 minutes is best.) If you are worried about grammar, try having someone skilled proofread the eulogy in advance. You may know someone who is good with grammar or you may be able to hire a professional (local or not) in a pinch.
Sharing Your Eulogy
Would you consider sharing a eulogy you have written? After putting so much heartfelt effort into your loved one’s eulogy, you may not want to put it in a drawer, rarely to be seen or read again after the funeral. Instead, consider sharing the special memories online. There are many websites—including Lastly.com—that invite you to upload your eulogy for sharing, safekeeping or as an example to others.
In addition, close friend and family members would enjoy having a copy for themselves. So, you can also print the eulogy on nice paper to give to mourners (and those who could not attend) after the funeral or memorial service. Depending on the quantity, you can print them yourself or consider using a local printer or office supply store to help with the job.
Ready to write your eulogy? Here is a general eulogy template followed by eulogy template text for special situations.
General Eulogy Template
This general eulogy template text will work for many situations. You can use this template as the basis for your funeral eulogy, then look to the other funeral eulogy samples here to further individualize your eulogy speech.
- Start with a quote about life and death, an inspirational quote or an interesting detail about the deceased.
Example of a quote: “You were born a child of light’s wonderful secret— you return to the beauty you have always been.” ― Aberjhani, Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black
- Introduce yourself. Describe your relation to the deceased and how you met and knew them.
THE EARLY YEARS
- Describe details of their early life in chronological order.
- Where/when they were born
- Names of parents, siblings
- Education: schools, graduations, degrees, training, favorite academic subjects or sports in school
- Add one or two brief stories that provide a snapshot of his/her growing-up years.
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
- Names of spouse(s)
- Where/when they met
- Where/when they married
- Name children from the marriage(s)
- Significant wedding anniversaries
- How long he/she was married
- Jobs held, names of employers / companies
- Work achievements / accomplishments
- Charitable work / service
- What he/she was known for
- Share something you learned from the deceased or some advice they gave to you.
- Talk about their character traits.
- Add two or three short stories or good memories about the deceased and/or list four or five things that family members or friends remember most about the deceased.
Examples: trips, things the deceased enjoyed or said often, unique things about him/her, significant life events, beliefs
- Describe the deceased and how they will be remembered
- Add a closing quote about life lived well and/or death
Example of a quote: "End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.” —J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
- "In closing, I would like to share this poem / song / prayer with you.”
- "Thank you (name of the deceased) for being part of our lives. We cherish you and we will miss you dearly.”
A Eulogy Template for Someone Not Well Liked
You may find yourself in the unique position of having to give a eulogy at a funeral for someone who was not well liked. There may be no other volunteers to give the eulogy, and you may also find very few attendees at the funeral or memorial service. If you didn’t like the person either, try to find someone who may be more appropriate. If you are not able to find another volunteer, then we suggest you do the best job possible.
When giving a eulogy for someone you didn’t like or someone who had very few friends, try these tips.
- Be kind.
- Stick to the facts.
- Speak in broad, stereotypical statements.
- Stay away from negativity or “bashing.”
- Keep the eulogy brief (under five minutes).
- Find a few positive things to say.
- Turn a negative into a positive.
Use the following template to create your short funeral speech.
- Perhaps start by stating the obvious. The few who are in attendance may only be there out of an obligation. At moments like these, it’s best to get the proverbial elephant in the room out in the open. In addition, you’re helping the mourners in attendance know that they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings.
Example: “It’s no secret that (name of the deceased) was not well liked by most…”
- Introduce yourself. Describe your relation to the deceased and how you met and came to know them.
- Describe a few anecdotes about their life you may know: growing up, marriage, family, career, etc.
- Recite a poem—even a long one. A lengthy poem can take up the majority of the eulogy, thus removing the pressure from you.
Here are two examples:
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can go no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
--Christina Rossetti, British poet
Don’t Cry for Me
Don’t cry for me now I have died, for I’m still here I’m by your side,
My body’s gone but my soul’s is here, please don’t shed another tear,
I am still here I’m all around, only my body lies in the ground.
I am the snowflake that kisses your nose,
I am the frost that nips your toes.
I am the sun bringing you light,
I am the star, shining so bright.
I am the rain, refreshing the earth,
I am the laughter, I am the mirth.
I am the bird, up in the sky,
I am the cloud, that’s drifting by.
I am the thoughts, inside your head,
While I’m still there, I can’t be dead.
- Keep the closing simple by thanking people for attending.
A Eulogy for Someone Who Committed Suicide
Mental illness and depression can be so difficult for most of us to understand. When giving a eulogy for someone who took their own life, it’s best to address the circumstance rather than keep it quiet. No doubt, everyone in attendance at the funeral service knows what happened. And surely, everyone is feeling a range of emotions… some of them all at once. Take the time to address these emotions in your opening so that everyone can feel at ease in consoling one another instead of placing blame during a time of grief.
- Asking “Why?”
Here is an example of a poem that you could read during your funeral eulogy. If you do an online search, you will find more like it.
If only I’d stopped and knocked on your door;
If only I’d known you couldn’t take any more;
If only I’d been there, if only I’d called;
If I’d not been so busy—and once again stalled.
Why didn’t I see then, the pain in your eyes
And know that you felt so alone and despised.
Why didn’t I hear the hurt in your voice,
And know you were about to make your last choice!
Maybe if I had been home on that day,
I’d have changed things for you in some little way
Maybe if I’d chosen my words with more care,
I could have seen more and been more aware.
I feel so bewildered and torn from inside,
The truth of it all gives me nowhere to hide.
Each time the phone rings, though I know it’s not you,
I’m still trying to see things from your point of view.
God, help me find some true peace of mind,
Without leaving the memories of this friendship behind.
Grant me the courage to start once again,
To trust in the love and the life of a friend.
Would you like to see more sample eulogies? If your circumstance is not covered here, let us know. We’re always looking for new topics to provide to our Lastly.com family. In the meantime, look back and see if you can use or alter one of these sample eulogy templates to suit your needs.