Writing a eulogy is never easy. Whether you’ve had months to prepare or must organise your thoughts and feelings in just a few short days, it can be hard to find the right way to say goodbye. There’s no single way to plan a funeral, just as there’s no ready-made speech that encompasses the feelings of love and loss that you may be going through at that time.
Yet, at Capital Life Funeral Plans, we firmly believe that anyone can write and deliver a beautiful eulogy. You might need some guidance, but that’s what we’re here for. This is our guide to writing a eulogy, one of the hardest parts of how to plan a funeral.
Plan a Funeral Eulogy that Suits You
We often worry that our own words aren’t good enough. That they can’t possibly express the feelings we had towards the deceased and everything that they meant to us. This sense of self-consciousness is completely natural, but it makes the writing process incredibly difficult. Don’t worry about sounding eloquent, or poetic. Some of the best eulogies are conversational and anecdotal, drawing from shared experiences in simple and honest ways. We’ve always advised you to plan a funeral that suits you, and we think a eulogy should be no different.
So, where should you start? Try writing down a few of their defining traits or experiences in a short list and use one or more of those aspects to form the basis of your eulogy. For example:
‘Steve worked at what he loved. He worked really hard. Every day. That’s incredibly simple, but true.’
This is simple and affective. It’s even more potent when you realise that this is taken from a eulogy written for the late tech mogul, Steve Jobs. Not every sentence in a eulogy needs to be profound, just true.
Structuring Your Eulogy
Plan a funeral that celebrates the deceased in a way they would like to be remembered and eulogise them in the same way. Make time to mention the moments they were most proud of and include any memories that others at the funeral might like to share. Typically, a eulogy is designed to tell the life story of the deceased, meandering through the experiences of those gathered. You might choose to tell their story from start to finish in a tidy fashion or break the structure down into the points you set down in the first step. Prioritise what was most important to them and talk about these details in turn.
Don’t forget to give people a reason to smile. Often, we mistake grief for sadness, but there are plenty of opportunities to look back with fondness at a funeral. The eulogy is the perfect place to give people a reason to laugh by talking about their quirks and habits.
Plan a Funeral Reading
If you still feel that the words you’ve written aren’t enough and would like to borrow from literature to say what you’re really feeling, then you’re not alone. Thousands of individuals, whether they’re experienced in how to plan a funeral or not, have turned to the words of other writers to capture what they want to say. We’d always encourage you to say a few words of your own and be confident in your ability to speak the truth that matters to you, but here are some of the most popular funeral poems – in case you still feel the need for some extra support:
- ‘Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep’, Mary Elizabeth Frye
- ‘Funeral Blues’, W.H. Auden
- ‘The Parting Glass’, traditional Irish poem
- ‘If I Should Go Tomorrow’, unknown author
Plan a Funeral with Capital Life Funeral Plans
Capital Life Funeral Plans is always here to support you if you’re taking out a funeral plan for yourself or for a loved one. We offer support through all the technical aspects of how to plan a funeral, and make sure that you’re given plenty of opportunities to make your wishes known throughout the process. If you want a loved one to eulogise you, or would like someone to deliver readings of your favourite poems, we can make sure that comes across in your funeral plan.
If you need some more inspiration, read our previous blog post: Funeral Plans: Four Famous Eulogies. Or, if you would like to know more about how to plan a funeral with a dedicated funeral plan, contact us on 0800 411 8683.