Eulogy & Obituary Writing
Are you preparing a loved one's eulogy or obituary?
We know many people are uncomfortable with the tasks involved; that's why we've shared these valuable guidelines.
How to Write a Eulogy
"The writing and reading of a eulogy is, above all, the simple and elegant search for small truths. This can be surprisingly hard, to take notice of the smallest, most unpolished details of a life and set them up for us to stare at in the wonder of recognition."
- Outline the eulogy. In addition to helping you stay focused, an outline will keep your eulogy organized and effectively break down the task of writing into manageable pieces.
- Ask for the input of other family members and friends. They may be able to provide you with some great stories to share.
- Always try to share examples of the statements you make about your loved one. If you want to say, "she was generous with her time," tell a story that supports the statement.
- Do not focus too much on yourself. After all, this isn't a eulogy for you; keep your writing focused on your loved one. You may even want to ask others to read your first draft to make sure the focus is in the right place.
- Go for the humor. Shared laughter is a very healing experience so don't be afraid to make people laugh.
- Write the first draft. Don't fuss over every word; just get your ideas on paper.
- Put it aside for a while. This has, no doubt, been an emotional experience. Take some time away from the writing desk to get perspective and release stress or sorrow.
- Come back to edit and polish. This is the time to refine the eulogy into its final form.
- Print a legible copy of the eulogy, in a large font, to assist in the delivery of your well-chosen words. There's nothing worse than not being able to read your handwriting when you're standing in front of a crowd of people.
Delivering a Eulogy
Unless you're a seasoned public speaker, delivering a eulogy can be a scary, emotionally-trying time. It is recommended that you:
- Take your time with the delivery.
- Breathe deeply.
- Stay relaxed.
- Take regular sips of water.
Where to Find the Best Eulogies Online
All you need to do is search online for "best eulogies" or simply "eulogies"—you'll be directed to literally dozens of videos and articles.
- Chiarella, Tom, "How to Give a Eulogy"
- Ianzito, Christina, "How to Write a Eulogy"
How to Write an Obituary
What's the Difference Between an Obituary and a Death Notice?
The obituary is a longer, more detailed look at the life of the deceased and the death notice is merely a compilation of relevant facts. The obituary also includes those essential details but it expands on them to provide a more complete look at the deceased's life experiences.
- Their age upon death
- A list of the surviving relatives
- The date of death
- The location (city/state) where they died
- Details about the funeral service: date, time, place
- Full name
- Date of death
- Where the person lived
It's very easy to find examples of obituaries that are worthy of attention. There are interesting obituaries for everyday folks that inspire us; maybe even make us cry or laugh. Obituaries which, when we're done reading them, we say to ourselves, "I wish I'd had a chance to get to know that person." Obituaries are scattered in cyberspace, acting as digital records of a life, a time, and a place; and recently, some very funny obituaries have been written.
- Parents' names
- Information about the spouse and children
- Church affiliations
- Job or career information
- Personal and professional accomplishments
- Personal character and interests
- Influence on his or her community