Reading a sample eulogy can really help when you're facing the task of preparing a funeral speech for someone you love.
The tyranny of a blank sheet paper and a numbed mind yoked with the desire to 'get it right' is the perfect recipe for confusion. Start - stop. Write - cross out.
It's my hope that the eulogy samples here will step you over the threshold of shall I say this, or shall I say that and let you begin.
You'll see that there are no definitive right or wrong ways to honor a life. Yes, there are how to write a eulogy guidelines or suggestions about what to put in and what to leave out but ultimately, the choice is yours.
These funeral speeches were written for an elderly neighbor and my sister. You are most welcome to use them as spring-boards.
Although they are very different in style, both are personal tributes marking characteristics I valued and loved.
Malcolm and his wife, Margaret 'retired' into our neighborhood. Both were extremely quiet people who spent most of their time making their house and garden beautiful.
Malcolm was a little man physically but large in generosity. He had been a hard working builder, the ultimate 'do-it-yourself' guy. Over the years he transformed their little patch and we spent many happy times swapping gardening hints and cuttings.
Malcolm's service respected his wishes. It was simple and non-religious.
We Malcolm before we met him. And that was an irony as we later found out.
He and Margaret had scarcely moved into our street before the concrete mixer started growling. It went and went as Malcolm transformed his back yard into what would become a showcase for his flowers and vegetables.
Our cat Ever-Ready engineered the introduction bringing us together. She was small, black and ever-ready for a feed or a cuddle. During that time there was no-one at home through the day and Ever-Ready roamed. She inevitably found Malcolm and Margaret. It was true love. She had a second home and was utterly spoiled. There were special treats of milk and more. They called her ‘our little girl’ and I got regular updates of her daily adventures.
When she became very ill, it was Malcolm and Margaret who accompanied me to the vet for her final visit.
But what I cherished most about Malcolm was his love of plants and in particular flowers. He spent hours growing them outside and embroidering them inside. His hands, so capable with a concrete mixer or a shovel, could also turn out fine needlework. I have several cross stitched blooms and treasure them.
To me they represent his patience, perseverance and quiet endurance. Toward the end, even in severe pain, he worked on creating these little beauties.
Malcolm called me the Flower–Fairy, a name given because when I went past their letterbox for my evening walk I often dropped in a flower from what ever was blooming in my garden.
In return I now call him the Flower–Elf. I know I won’t sit down to embroider as he did so instead I offer up a thought posy.
Here’s rosemary sweet and aromatic for remembrance.
A snip of pale pink rosebuds for friendship
A collection of pansies for loving thoughts
Some larkspur signifying a beautiful spirit
And lastly because, I know you’ll remember the alstroemeria I gave you: how it invaded your garden and how hard you worked to get rid of it, some of that too. It stands for ‘aspiring’ and I know it will make you smile.
Thank-you Malcolm for your gentle love, friendship and kindness. We will
Background notes to this sample eulogy:
Rather than write a formal 'sentence by sentence' eulogy, I chose to take 'snapshots' of our childhood featuring the two of us.
Despite the eulogy being segmented it does have a three-part structure. It opens with her birth and the qualities she brought with her. The middle section is devoted to she and me. The ending returns to the start with a summary of her qualities. The repetition of her name throughout was to reinforce her being made up of many individual parts even though all of them were called 'Elizabeth'.
I've asterisked parts of this sample eulogy that you may need further explanation for in order to understand them.
Elizabeth: an enormous capacity and will to live.
Our mother spent many of the months bearing her in bed in order that she stayed put and grew. Even so she was impatient and arrived early.
Elizabeth: 'Mrs Me Too'. I did the talking. She simply said ‘Me too.’
Elizabeth: a whirl of arms and legs, turning cartwheels on the lawn with her skirt tucked into her knickers.
Elizabeth: determined to be a marching girl and practicing up and down the path to the clothesline.
Elizabeth and I having been to see the movie *South Pacific singing to the garden under the kitchen window. We snapped our fingers in time and danced: ‘Walky, Walky Talky Holly Hocks, Talk about things you like to do…’
Elizabeth and I having elaborate doll’s tea parties under the buddlia trees Their perfume still reminds me. We gave the dolls pink nail polish fingers and toes. A moment of inspiration later they had splendid sets of nipples too.
Elizabeth and I wearing hand knitted pale blue fluffy boleros and the other kids picking at the fluff.
Elizabeth and I in our *‘show’ dresses. Hers was white with red spots. When it rained the dye ran. She cried but later won a kewpie doll on a stick which brought back a smile.
Elizabeth and I playing music. She on the piano and me on the violin.
Minuet in G getting faster and faster until the notes slid into each other and our Mother shouted for peace.
Elizabeth trying to teach me to handstand and I kept falling over.
Elizabeth: a tumult of passions, sensitivities, hopes, fears and abilities.
The qualities I know to be true, despite the numbing rumble of daily life, were her deep desire to understand, her striving for peace, love and to honor and use her abilities creatively.
Elizabeth was and is a highly intelligent, articulate, courageous and
*South Pacific:The song was actually Happy Talk. The original lyric was 'Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk, Talk about things you'd like to do'. At eight and ten years old, Elizabeth and I heard it differently and there
were holly hocks flowering in our garden. It seemed natural to put the two
*'show' dresses: We lived in a rural area. Each spring there was a huge agricultural show and everybody went. In those days, (1960's) girls got new dresses for the occasion, usually sewn by their mothers.
I hope these sample eulogy or funeral speeches help.
Remember - there are no 'right' ways to write a funeral speech except that you are honest, respectful and sincere.
If you would like further assistance, please feel free to contact me via the form on my About Me page.
Go well. Write with courage and love.
Browse the sympathy verses on ObituariesHelp.org. This site offers many examples of sympathy verses and poems to give you comfort and support during a difficult time.
Is your time for finding a suitable poem or quotation to include in the eulogy you're writing limited?
Then you may like to consider Lucie Storr's instantly available downloadable PDF (e-book).
This is NOT free. However it is a beautifully compiled collection of best loved traditional, as well as contemporary bereavement poems, funeral readings and quotations indexed by theme (loss of child, loss of parent ...), author and, opening line.
How do I know it's good?
Because I have it myself and will only ever recommend something of genuine value to my readers.
Look and you'll see heartfelt testimonials from people grateful for the range of writers (180), the diversity of belief and faiths represented, and for the care reflected in the way the book's been put together.
In 5 minutes it could be on your screen and you'll have one less thing on your to-do list to think about.
When you buy Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep part of the purchase price comes to me. That keeps this website, and me, going for which I am grateful. Thank you.