The loss of a loved one is incredibly difficult to bear, but the burden is even heavier when the person we lose is a sister. If you have been asked to write and deliver a eulogy for your sister, you should strongly consider it. It is not only a wonderfully personal way to honor her memory, but it is a decision you will never regret. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when composing the eulogy that should help you through the process.
Writing a Eulogy for a Sister
You may have known your sister better than anyone else, but don’t rely on that when delivering the eulogy. Write it down in a complete outline form, at the very least. Why? The emotions of those attending the funeral, combined with your own feelings, will make it difficult for you to remain focused if you don’t write down what you plan to say. Do not rely on memory alone, as memory and concentration are often the first things to go when emotions are heightened. Another reason to write down what you intend to say is that it is the best way to honor your sister’s memory. After all, she deserves a loving, well-thought out eulogy.
Once you have written down what you plan to say, practice it until you are comfortable with the contents. Also, give a copy to a trusted family member or friend and ask them to be familiar with it as well. Then, when you are delivering the eulogy, ask them to sit near you as your back up in case you are unable to complete the delivery. Again, emotions can be difficult to manage in times like this, so it’s important to have a backup plan.
What to Include
The very first words you speak should be the name of your sister. The eulogy is about her, not about how you or anyone else felt, so keep the focus on her throughout. The best way to do this is to make sure that her name comes first.
Next, acknowledge the family members closest to her. This will include immediate family, such as siblings, parents, her spouse(s), children and stepchildren, and anyone else you feel should be mentioned, such as a favorite aunt or uncle, for example. Also, if your sister had really good friends with whom she was very close, make sure to include their names. Often, this is a step that is forgotten, but the most important people in our lives can often include those who are not blood related.
Go on to list her major life milestones such as college, military, marriage, career, children’s births, and other accomplishments that may not be so well-known by those in attendance (missionary work, employee awards, sorority membership).
Next, tell a story from her childhood that speaks to her character. Was she always helping the younger neighbor kids with their homework? Did she volunteer at the hospital as a teenager? Then, parallel that to a story from her adulthood. Was she a volunteer at a homeless shelter? Did she tutor underprivileged children? When you tie together similar stories from her childhood and adulthood, it is a good way to quickly paint a picture of your sister’s positive traits.
After that, include a fun or funny memory that you have, and ask friends and family to share their memories as well. You won’t include every one of them, of course, but you will be creating a well-rounded picture of what your sister meant to everyone, and you will be speaking for those who, perhaps, aren’t up to speaking for themselves.
Conclude the eulogy by highlighting a couple of main points that really speak to who your sister was to those she loved. Don’t be afraid to touch on how much you will miss her, and, if she had a favorite author, band, or movie, consider including an appropriate quote from a well-known work from one of them.
Before you deliver the eulogy, make sure that you have water and tissue available, and don’t be afraid to use them. Those in attendance will understand if you need a moment to collect yourself. Remember that they are mourning with you, and they want you to succeed.
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