A eulogy is a speech or presentation given at a funeral or memorial service. It celebrates and pays tribute to the life of the deceased, and can be delivered by a family member, a friend or the priest, minister or celebrant.

“Eulogy” comes from the ancient Greek word “eulogia”, which means blessing or praise. A tradition that began in ancient Greece, eulogies are a common practice at funerals and memorial services to this day.

A eulogy is a way to say goodbye to the person who has passed away by sharing special memories, feelings and thoughts. Honouring the deceased in this way can help the grieving process.

 

What to include in a eulogy

Being asked to deliver a eulogy is a great honour, but it can also be quite daunting. Staring at a blank piece of paper can be difficult, so start by jotting down some fond memories you have of the deceased. This will ‘unblank’ the page and give you a starting point.

Start by making the beginning of the eulogy personal. Let everyone know why you have been given the honour of delivering the eulogy. What’s your relationship with the deceased? How long did you know them? Who asked you to deliver the eulogy?

Use the middle of the eulogy to describe the deceased’s life and their achievements. When and where were they born? Who were their parents? Did they have brothers and sisters? Take some time to recount the major milestones in their life – school, university, marriage, children, grandchildren. And talk about their interests and passions. Was there something in their life that they devoted their time to? What were they truly passionate about?

Don’t forget to include some personal anecdotes. Perhaps there is a funny story about the deceased you can share. Or a memory that will resonate with others at the funeral or memorial service. Remember, speak from the heart and express what meant most to you about the deceased.

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