How to Write an Obituary and Deliver a Eulogy

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| 6 min read Crowdfunding

With the passing of a loved one, you may find yourself pondering how to write an obituary or how to deliver a meaningful eulogy. During this already difficult time, it can be especially overwhelming trying to find just the right words to pay tribute to your loved one. We hope this list of tips can guide you in the right direction so you’re able to convey a message from the heart. 

How to write a compelling obituary

The purpose of an obituary is to announce your loved one’s passing with a brief summary of their life and to inform people about any planned funeral services. In a local newspaper, both in print and online, obituaries can be published for any local resident upon their death. While some prefer a somber and respectful  announcement, others see obituaries as a way to celebrate the life of the person who has passed away with a short story to help keep their memory alive.

1. Check local newspaper in print and online

Before you start writing the obituary, check out the requirements for having it published in your local paper. Many news publications have specific guidelines on the style and length of the obituary, and it’s possible that they may only accept an obituary if it’s written by one of their editorial staff or submitted directly from a funeral home. Most funeral homes can provide obituary templates that you can use as a guideline, and they may even cover the cost of publishing the obituary as part of the funeral services.

2. Information on their passing and biographical information

Announcing the death of your loved one is the very first step in writing the obituary. Include their name, age, the city where they resided, and the day and date of when they passed away. Providing biographical information is an important part of the obituary. Cover details such as their place of birth, marital life (if applicable), education, and employment background, as well as their passions, hobbies and lifetime achievements.

3. Mention surviving family members

It’s important to mention the deceased’s surviving family members along with any close family members who have preceded them in death. List the names and residences of their children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters and any other important family members that should be included, and be sure to list the name of their spouse if they had one. Many people are extremely attached to their pets, so you may consider adding their names to the list of surviving family members.

4. Memorial services

If there are memorial services planned, be sure to include this information in the last part of the obituary. Provide the date, time, and location where the services will be held, and be sure to indicate if the services happen to be private. If you would like memorial contributions to be made toward your family or to a specific charity that the deceased supported, rather than sending flowers, be sure to include these necessary details as well.

5. Proofread and submit

Once you have finished writing your obituary, ask a close friend or family member to read it over a few times to check for any grammatical errors. The last step is to submit the obituary to the funeral home or directly to the news publication.

How to create and deliver a great eulogy

The purpose of a eulogy is to honor and pay tribute to a person who has passed away. Taking on the task of giving the eulogy for your loved one can seem daunting at first, but it can also be a way to honor and cherish your loved one’s memory. You don’t have to be an excellent writer to give a great eulogy, as the best eulogies are straight from the heart. 

1. Gather memories

The majority of your speech will be based on memories of your loved one. Write down all your favorite memories of them, and ask their friends, family members, and co-workers if they have stories and favorite memories they can share with you. It also helps to pull out pictures to reminisce and find inspiration in things that rekindle old memories and feelings about your loved one.

2. Set the tone

Decide what the tone of your eulogy will be before you write it. Will it be a little lighthearted and humorous, or more serious—or a bit of both? Don’t stress too much about the tone, though. Simply focus on finding the right words, and the tone will naturally take shape. 

3. Create an outline

Write a brief outline of several key events that shaped your loved one’s life that you would like to share, such as when they were married, had children, or reached another similar milestone. Be sure to also write out the things that were important to your loved one, what their favorite hobbies were, and any basic facts about their everyday life that paints a picture of who they were.

4. Stay organized when writing

The best way to stay organized when writing your eulogy is to break it into three main sections by giving it a beginning, middle, and end. Start by writing a brief introduction about who your loved one was so the audience will have an understanding of your relationship to them. Then go back to your outline and expand on important details you have already written down, such as the basic info about their life and significant moments that occurred. Consider sharing some of your own personal stories and memories too.

5. Practice

Practicing your speech out loud several times will give you a good idea of how it will sound when you are delivering it to an audience at the memorial service. If you’re feeling nervous, you can ask a close friend or family member to listen to you give the eulogy so they can provide feedback. 

6. Delivering the eulogy

When it’s time to deliver the eulogy, you may feel nervous and emotional, but just remember that you have the support of everyone in attendance and no one will be judging you or critiquing your speaking skills. Bring a copy of your speech with you if you’re unable to recite it from memory, and go over it a few times before you deliver it—this will help your speech stay fresh in your mind. Remember that everyone will know your speech was from the heart. 

Consider more ways to help

If you or someone you know has recently lost a loved one, then funeral costs can be overwhelming during an already difficult time. To get assistance with memorial and funeral expenses, you can create a fundraiser in minutes and start raising money today. GoFundMe provides free fundraising and customer support for your questions. Learn more about how to use crowdfunding to raise funds for funerals and sign up today. 

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