Recall Your Memories
Think about the deceased and the relationship you had with him or her. For example, where did you first meet? If he or she is a family member, what is one of your earliest or most special memories? What things did you do together? Can you remember any particularly humorous or touching memories you might like to share?
What will you miss about him or her the most?
Gather Information About the Deceased
In addition to your personal knowledge, you can also talk with family members and the deceased’s close friends or co-workers to gather additional information about the departed. Some important details to gather (in case you don’t already know them) might include:
The deceased’s age and date of birth
The full names of family members and other close friends
Specifics about his or her education, workplaces, and/or career
Hobbies or special interests
Places the person lived
Other special accomplishments he or she achieved
If there are going to be other speakers, coordinate with them so you aren’t repeating the same biographical details.
Organize Your Info/Memories
Next, you should organize your notes, create an outline of your eulogy or remembrance speech and then fill in the information you gathered. Use whatever method is most comfortable and familiar to you, such as your computer, smartphone or tablet, or by writing on paper or note cards.
In terms of the eulogy’s tone, some people prefer to prepare and deliver a serious eulogy while others want to keep their remembrance speech light. A mix of both elements, solemnity and humor, often proves effective because it allows time for the audience to grieve appropriately while also sharing in a celebration of a life well lived.
Keep in mind how much time you will have to deliver your eulogy. It’s best to err on the short side, especially if other people will also speak.
Don’t get bogged down by the formalities of writing. Just write your speech in your own voice, which means you should write it in the same way you would normally talk. Your audience will want to feel like you are talking to them, not reading from a script. And as you write your eulogy, keep in mind the most important thing: write from your heart.
If you’re having trouble getting started or need some inspiration, it’s often helpful to build your eulogy around an appropriate quotation about mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, etc.
You might also read a eulogy delivered for a famous person, such as Princess Diana or Abraham Lincoln, which can help you figure out the tone of your speech, the right length, what sort of things to mention, etc.
Review and Revise
The first draft you write is usually not the final version. Once written, you should read through it and decide what to keep and what to toss out. You might also want to read it aloud to family or friends to get their feedback or record it so you can listen to it yourself.
When you think you are finished and happy with the result, let it sit for 12 to 24 hours. The next day, review it again when it will feel fresh and then make any necessary revisions.