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Eulogy for Dad, who died suddenly

A heartfelt eulogy from a daughter for her father

Contributed by: Maria Izzard, Australia

Most of us have experienced, and understand, how hard it can be when a much-loved person dies. But do we understand how much harder it is when a person dies suddenly? Without warning? And most importantly, without time for anyone to say goodbye?

This is Maria's poignant eulogy for her Dad who died totally unexpectedly. She's contributed it in order to help others who find themselves in the same position: struggling with shock, grief, and a eulogy they have to write.

It closes with several verses taken from "If Tears Could Build a Stairway" - a poem many have used to help express the pain and bewilderment they feel.

Below the eulogy you'll find comments from grateful readers, as well as links to more example eulogies and to step-by-step guidelines for writing the speech, which include access to a free printable outline for structuring what you want to say.

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Eulogy for Dad by his daughter, Maria

Firstly, I would like to thank you all for your support, flowers and cards for my Mum over the past ten, very difficult days. It has meant an awful lot to her to know everyone is thinking of her at this time. And a comfort to me knowing she has everyone around her for the future.

I have written most of this through a veil of tears and a lump in my throat. I am still not sure that it will be me who will actually read it all out yet, but I am going to do my best.

Stan and I discussed how hard it is for us to compose this and were given the advice that you are supposed to keep reading it and keep reading it and reading it and then it becomes easier to speak on the day. For the record it doesn’t.

John: his roles and his ways

John: Husband, grandad, son, friend, relative, golfer, bowler, colleague and sometimes a few other unmentionable names! But to me he was always just “Dad”, someone I took for granted would be around for a lot longer.

To sum up what he meant to me in a few short paragraphs is impossible. I am not even used to him being gone yet. I am not even sure what you are supposed to say at these times. However, these are just a few of my thoughts on my “Dad”.

A star-burst list of all the roles Jon played in his life, plus 2 sayings: It was 'his way' of 'his way', and 'Don't do what I do, do what I say'.

Growing up with him as a father was not always easy. But so what! Most things worth having aren’t easy and all the hard lessons in life he taught me are the ones I still remember now and learnt from the most.

We could argue and complain all we liked, (well, actually we couldn’t as we weren’t allowed), but it was not just “his way or the highway”. It was “his way” or “his way” and even if he didn’t follow the same rules he was implementing that was no defense, as he would just say, “don’t do as I do, do as I say”. End of conversation. But I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Playing games with Dad

Even playing games with him as a child, he was always fiercely competitive. It just wasn’t in his nature to let us win to be nice to us because we were younger and less experienced and his children. We would only ever be able to win on our own merit and I don’t think to this day I ever did beat him at ludo. Nor was I ever allowed to choose the yellow counters as they were always his color. Not negotiable.

In later years family card games would get quite heated and rowdy and were not for the fainthearted.

Dad: an honest, dependable, principled man 

He was always very strict, unless you had four paws, but brutally fair and everything was black or white. There were no grey areas with Dad. 

Quote from eulogy for Dad: He was traditional, conventional, careful, immensely private and family meant everything to him.

He wasn’t perfect but he was honest, reliable, dependable and a man of strong principles and always had the courage of his convictions. He was traditional, conventional, careful, immensely private and family meant everything to him.

I would never, even up to the day he died, have wanted to have disappointed him or have his disapproval and he made me a much better person than I really am.

Dad: his particular particularities

He was very particular about exactly how he liked everything. Tea had to be drunk out of a china cup, preferably with a saucer and NEVER spilt over into that saucer or you would have to start all over again.

Growing up we always ate at a dinner table fully laid with a table cloth for every meal and I don’t think I have ever seen him drink out of a bottle or can. Scotch from a crystal tumbler was far more his style.

Even when he came to visit me in Australia and we would go out on our boat I was worried about him drinking out of a plastic wineglass. But he did manage that!

His cars were always immaculate, which must have been quite a challenge when we were a young family. I am certain I never to this day had a drink or anything to eat in any of his cars.

Dad: how he didn't really like children except for his grandchildren, whom he loved, along with his pup

Quote from eulogy for Dad: We all knew he never really liked children, not until he met Chloe, then Jack and Molly.

We all knew he never really liked children, not until he met Chloe, then Jack and Molly.

I remember an argument he used to have with Jean Dargue where she would tell him that when he had Grandchildren it would all change and he would be as smitten as most other Grandparents are.  He always was adamant it wouldn’t change his mind a bit, but I think that he would be happy to admit, for once, that he was well and truly wrong. Although he probably wouldn’t admit that Jean was right.

Chloe was his pride and joy from her very first words and Jack is now the last remaining male “Izzard” to carry on the family name. (Just don’t do that too soon Jack!) Molly isn’t here today but he would totally understand and not have wanted to upset her for the world. Mainly because when our Mol cries there is just no stopping her.

Anyone who knew him knew how much he loved animals and “Pip the pup” who is actually 10 and not a pup at all, has lost her best friend and is missing him terribly probably because her constant source of snacks has now been taken away.

Dad's last day, interior design and my love for him

On his very last day Mum forgot she was supposed to going out to a Zumba class and instead spent the day with him.

They looked at old haunts and went out shopping for wallpaper for the hall. It was obviously fate, and meant to be and some kind of divine intervention. Not because they had unexpectedly spent the day together but as they actually agreed on new wallpaper for the hall!

Quote from eulogy for Dad: He worked hard all his life to provide well for his family and I think, to begin with, he found retirement difficult to adjust to.

He worked hard all his life to provide well for his family and I think, to begin with, he found retirement difficult to adjust to.

His recent interest in household matters was often quite alarming for Mum and honestly, judging by the brochures for the Chesterfield sofas I found in his office all measured up for the living room she had a lucky escape from those.

Mum was reading his old school reports a few days ago for the first time and his art teacher said that “his color skills were weak”. She only wished she had had this information earlier to be able to use as ammunition against his newfound hobby: interior design.

He wasn’t a man of sentimental words. I am not sure he ever told me he loved me, but I knew for sure he did. He would always hug me and say, “be lucky”. That was his way of saying it.

I didn’t always agree with him; we were far too alike in many ways, but I always loved him and always will.

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Poem for John

Quote from poem for John: No farewell words were spoken No time to say goodbye You were gone before we knew it and only God knows why

No farewell words were spoken.
No time to say goodbye.
You were gone before we knew it and only God knows why.
My heart aches in sadness and secret tears flow,
What it means to lose you, no-one else can know.

A presence from our family has gone.
A voice we loved is still,
A place is vacant in our lives,
That never can be filled.

The blow was great.
The shock severe.
We never thought the end was near.
And only those who have lost, can tell,
The pain of heartache without farewell.

Your memory is our keepsake,
From which we will never part.
God may have you in his keeping,
But we still have you in our heart.

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* Several of the verses above come from a frequently quoted poem called 'If Tears Could Build A Stairway' which deals with unexpected loss. 

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Comments about Maria's eulogy for her Dad

Maria's eulogy for her much-loved Dad has helped many since it's been online. Some have taken the time to comment. Here's what they've said. (The most recent are first.)

Leanne says: "Wonderful tribute. Thank you for sharing.  My Dad passed away suddenly from a heart attack two weeks ago and this has given me the words to say I couldn't find myself. Much love to you and your family."

Sandra says: "Thank you for sharing. My dad just passed away on March 5th, and your words have given me the strength I needed to write a eulogy for him even though I feel heart broken.

Sam says: "I am tearful as I write these comments because of the honesty in your words, and your strength.
I am also tearful because I am about to write a eulogy for the man I called dad and you have written it all for me. Not word for word but reading it has given me the courage to pick up my pen.
Thank you.

Susan says: "Thank you for sharing. My stepdad just passed on January 29. He had cancer, but the doctor kept saying that he was doing really good and kept lowering his chemo. My husband and I found him. I am completely heart broken and right now I don't think I will ever find peace. He was the dad that I needed when my real dad was not always there for me. I feel like my life is falling down around me. Thank you so much for sharing.

Susan, whose website this is, says: "Hi fellow Susan,
I am so sorry for your loss: your sense of disintegration, bewilderment, and aloneness. I'm glad you found a place where you could share what you feel.
Go gently, with love.

Beverly Elaine says: I lost my Dad May 4th. I am feeling so heart broken, so empty, and so weak.
Thank you for sharing your eulogy with us. Sounded like you guys had a full life. Just enjoy the good memories.

Susan, whose website this is, says: Maria, thank you for sharing your Dad with us. The stories you've told give such a vivid picture of his character. He sounds very special, strong, unique, and much loved.

Would you like to comment on this eulogy?

If you'd like to add a comment, please let me know what you want to say through the submission form on my about me page. Be sure to tell me it's Maria eulogy for her Dad you are commenting on, so I know where to post it. Thank you.

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Resources to help write a funeral speech

Watercolor painting of spring blossoms on tree with text: If you'd like to contribute a eulogy to help and inspire others, please click sample eulogies

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