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What to Include in a Eulogy

15th March 2017   Latest News

Knowing what to include in a eulogy is a commonly faced challenge when grieving the death of a loved one. Eulogies are an important part of a funeral ceremony, and act as a reminder that each of us live a unique life and we all have qualities that are worth commemorating.

Writing a reflective eulogy is an incredible honour, and a therapeutic way to pay tribute to a loved one. There is no right or wrong way to give a eulogy; each one is as special and unique as the person delivering it, and as the person being described.

In the early stages of the grieving process, it’s likely that the shock may still be with you. It can, therefore be difficult to gain inspiration for a thoughtful obituary. To save you from becoming anxious over what to say, we’ve listed some top tips, memorable quotes and popular poems that you might give you ideas on what to include in a eulogy – whether you’re delivering for a spouse, sibling, friend or family member.

things to include in a eulogy

To ensure you give the best eulogy you can, our first instruction is to have a journal or laptop at the ready (somewhere you can bullet point and record your thoughts before you start writing the first draft.)

Tips before writing a eulogy

At times of loss, it can be difficult to think of happy memories. If you’re finding it hard to make a starting point, try to follow the guidelines below to gain incentive and influence.

  • – Look through photo albums, letters, emails or text messages. If you held any memorabilia of yourself and the deceased on social media, this could also inspire you to write about a certain time or memory.
  • – Go for a walk around the residential area of the deceased, ideas and memories may be triggered from seeing their home.
  • – Meet with close friends and relatives of the deceased to discuss shared memories.
  • – Ask yourself questions:
  • – What are the highlights of their life story?
  • – What characteristics and habits did this person contain?
  • – What made them happy?
  • – What would guests like to hear about the deceased?
  • – What made them special?
  • – What did I like/love about them?
  • – Is anyone else speaking at the service / should I confer with them to avoid repetition?

Preparing a heartfelt funeral speech

If you are nervous about the delivery, this may overshadow your ability to write a great eulogy, so try not to overthink how it’ll be spoken and simply write from within. Speeches can be as short or long as you wish – with the usual delivery being 5-10 minutes. The best eulogies are not those that are spoken with great confidence, but those spoken with heartfelt love and emotion.

The first (optional) points to include

This optional list states the main topics that can be included within a eulogy. You can add as many or as little of these as you like and in your order of preference.

  • – The name of the deceased
  • – The residence of the deceased
  • – The career of the deceased
  • – Extracurricular achievements of the deceased
  • – Personal stories and anecdotes; funny memories are often the best and most treasured during a service.
  • – Likes and dislikes of the deceased
  • – A photograph of the deceased while you speak, this can be held by yourself, and some choose to give out small photographs to all funeral guests while a speech is made.

photo album eulogy

What to include in a eulogy: Quotes

The right selection of words are known to heal, calm and soothe. The most difficult part can often be the starting point, but sometimes an insightful quote can convey exactly what you would like to say in a truly meaningful manner. At ISCA Funerals, we have created a list of our favourite quotes below that relate to life, love and death.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
– Dr Seuss


“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, but the life in your years.”
– Abraham Lincoln


“A death is not the extinguishing of a light, but the putting out of the lamp because the dawn has come.”
– Unknown

“There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.”
– Unknown


“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
– Richard Bach (Illusions)


“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched, but are felt in the heart.”
– Helen Keller


“Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure and you are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure.”
– Unknown


“The passing of the years awakens in our hearts the cry for permanence.”
– F. B. Meyer


“Grief is the price we pay for love.”
– Queen Elizabeth II


“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the same.”
– C.C Scott

Using a poem in your eulogy

Using poetic words at a funeral is another popular way to personalise a memorial service. Many choose to include poems in the order of service programme, as well as reading them aloud while everybody shares a moment of silence. Sometimes using your own words as well as the words of somebody else can ease the nerves. Below we share two of our favourite related poems:

You can find a list of more funeral poems here.

Structuring the eulogy

Once you have gathered the necessary photographs, research, quotes, poems and have made a list of the factors you wish to include, it’s time to write. It is entirely your choice whether you’d like to record the speech word for word, but remember that grammar is not important when speaking to a crowd; it’s more about what you say. You don’t necessarily need an introduction, it may be easiest to get to the point.

For example: “[Name] will be remembered for so many things, but I’d like to talk about a time which stands out for me the most…”

An exception to this is reading a poem or quote aloud, in which case it’s a good idea to have a print-out of the exact words.

Helpful tips when delivering your eulogy

  • – Have a copy of your eulogy in large type so that it can be read easily.
  • – If there is a microphone available use it.
  • – Take a glass of water with you in case you need to take a break before resuming.
  • – Try to look at the guests occasionally.
  • – It may be comforting to have a loved one stand with you while you deliver your speech.
  • – Experiment with humour where appropriate.
  • – Allow yourself to cry.
  • – Many like to play a particular song during the middle of a eulogy, here you can find a list of 100 popular songs to share at a funeral service.

ISCA Funeral Services

Funerals make connections while marking the life of the departed. ISCA Funeral Directors is based in Exeter and operates across the south-west to provide heartfelt and thoughtful funerals. If you’d like to discuss or plan a funeral service with us, please contact us on our 24-hour helpline or fill out our enquiry form.

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ISCA Funerals