Tuesday, 1 December 2020



Don't forget that funerals are for the living. Your audience for the eulogy is the grieving family, and those closest to the deceased. 

A eulogy is an opportunity to honour the dead through the memories of the living. You are not speaking on behalf of yourself – rather you are speaking on behalf of the family, friends and the community.


Sit down with the members of the family, and invite them to speak of the family member they knew and loved. Immediately after the death their grief is greatest and they may want to talk about their loved one, and you may assist them on their journey towards dealing with the grief.

Tell the family that in preparing the eulogy you will seek to describe the essence of the person through the eyes of her/his family, friends and acquaintances.  

Make full notes of what they speak about and try to be clear:
  • Who was this person? 
  • What did she/he do with her/his life? 
  • Who did he/she influence and how? 
As you look in on a life or listen to stories, you have the opportunity to be personally touched and continue to be influenced by the person’s life and death.

You are seeking to describe this person's essence filtered through the eyes, ears and hearts of those the person loved and who loved her/him. 


Your eulogy will not remove the grief of the family’s loss. 

Rather it gives them the possibility of remembering the good things, celebrating the good times and giving thanks for the gifts received, the gifts shared and the gifts of life you were privileged to share from the person’s time with them.

Some thought starters

This is the person I knew 

This is how I knew this person

The essence of this person for you



3 things this person loved

3 things this person valued

3 things this person hoped for

3 things this person was good at

3 things this person enjoyed

The good this person accomplished 
    • for the family
    • for friends
    • for the community

If you use these then quote and mention them by name.
Ask friends to give a 25 word testimony of what the essence of the person was for them.

Family members can be asked to provide a sentence of up to 50 words on the relationship with family members. 

If the person was a spiritual person – mention that in an appropriate manner.


Lovely words from a Hindu poet RavindranathTagore
Death is not the extinguishing of the light
It is only putting out the lamp
Because the dawn has come.” 


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