Preparing a eulogy

The eulogy is the speech or presentation during the funeral ceremony that talks about the life and character of the person who passed away. The eulogy acknowledges the unique life of the person who passed away and affirms the significance of that life for all who shared in it.

The eulogy typically lasts 15-20 minutes, although longer presentations may also be appropriate. The eulogy can be delivered by clergy, a celebrant, a family member or a friend of the person who passed away. Instead of a traditional eulogy delivered by one person, you may choose to ask several people to speak and share their memories.

There is also a growing trend toward having people at the funeral stand up and share a memory of the person who passed away. This works well, especially at smaller or less formal gatherings.

Your funeral celebrant can write the eulogy for you or they can work with the family or close friend, to craft the eulogy together. When preparing a eulogy, ask yourself:

  • “What stands out to me about this person’s life?”
  • “What are some special memories I’d like to share?”
  • “What were the times I felt particularly close to this person?”
  • “What were some admirable qualities about this person?”

Some of these memories can be amusing.

The eulogy doesn't have to cover every aspect of the person’s life. Often the best eulogies are those that focus on the eulogy-giver’s personal thoughts and memories. Do try to acknowledge those who were closest to the person who passed away as well as important achievements in the person’s life, but don’t feel obligated to create an exhaustive biography.

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