The death of a child is so tragic, and has such a deep impact on everyone in that child’s life, that there are literally no words that can bring consolation or peace to the surviving loved ones. For this reason, the eulogy for a child is by far the most difficult speech you will ever have to give, but it should not to be dark. The life of a child adds light to the world and has a positive impact on every person he or she meets. It is that light which should be the focus of the eulogy.
A Eulogy for a Child
Keep it Simple
Grand, sweeping language is not necessary when delivering a child’s eulogy. The eulogy should be gentle, but very personal, and written in a way that reflects the nature of a child. That is, sweet, tender, warm, and loving.
Begin the eulogy with the child’s name, and then give a brief explanation of your relationship to him or her. Acknowledge the parents and siblings right away, making note of any special bonds between siblings, or special relationships with pets. It is during this period that you would also acknowledge the child’s best friends, and possibly, his or her favorite teachers.
At this point, if the parents have previously requested (or, better yet, you’ve asked), make a statement on their behalf. It is possible that they will be so overcome with grief that they will not be able to stand and acknowledge the other mourners, so it is important that you speak for them by sharing a story or thought they’ve requested you to share.
The focus of the middle part of the eulogy will be on the child’s life. If the child was of school age when he or she passed, mention interests such as favorite books or movies, television characters they obsessed over, sports teams they followed or played on, and any other characteristic that is known to the mourners. If you have time, reading an appropriate quote from the child’s favorite book or poem would be a wonderful addition to the eulogy. Preserving these memories in a eulogy will make it all the more personal for the friends and family in attendance.
The conclusion of the eulogy is the point where the child’s family and personal stories, and interests and life experiences are all tied together. When you close out the eulogy, end it with something befitting the child and his or her age. For example, for a young child who faced a long illness prior to passing, you might say something like “he fought his battle with courage and strength – like the knights of the round table he admired so much.”
If you are genuinely not up to the task of delivering a child’s eulogy, tell the family right away in order to give them time to find someone else. They will understand. If you can do it, however, make sure to have someone there to take over for you in case you become overwhelmed and can’t finish. Remember, being asked to give a child’s eulogy is a gift. You are speaking for a child and his family at a time when they simply can’t.
Return to the Eulogy Writing Overview
Photo by: pippalou