Tips on How to Start a Eulogy
Delivering a eulogy is a challenging proposition, especially if it’s the first eulogy you’ve ever delivered. The hardest part about the entire process is having to deal with your personal grief as you write the eulogy, and the hardest part about writing the eulogy is simply figuring out how to start it. Here are a few ideas that can help you start an exceptional eulogy. Once you have the beginning figured out, it will be much easier for you to finish it.
The beginning of the eulogy is the place where you explain your relationship with the decedent. This explains to the mourners why you are the person delivering the eulogy.
The first moments of the eulogy are also where you will set the tone and direction of the remainder of the eulogy. That’s not to say that you should write the eulogy to include the delivery of an outline in the beginning. Eulogies are typically not written in the format of a class speech in that you use the beginning of it to detail what you will say throughout. Eulogies are, however, traditional speeches in that they do have a beginning, middle and end.
If you are stuck, and can’t come up with an appropriate beginning to the eulogy, just write down something, and come back to it once you’ve completed the rest of it. Sometimes the beginning is the most difficult to write but something in the body of the eulogy can often provide inspiration.
Another method to try when composing the introduction is to look for appropriate quotes or scriptures, maybe even a favorite of the decedent, and jot it down. You may keep it as the opening line, or include it later in the eulogy. This can be a marker, or source of inspiration, to help you get started.
If all else fails and you just can’t seem to set the tone for the eulogy, try following a traditional route. Here are a few sample eulogy starters that may help:
- “My name is John, and Steve and I were coworkers for 20 years at…”
- “My name is Sarah, and I am Barbara’s oldest daughter…”
Bible verse or poem quote:
- “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and fortress, my God, in whom I trust… Psalm 91:2… Mary believed that with all of her heart…”
- “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; All that we love deeply, becomes a part of us… Helen Keller…”
Acknowledging decedent’s attributes:
- “Joe will be remembered for many things, most notably his love for and devotion to his family…”
- “Every time I think about Susan, I will remember her warm smile and her genuine concern for others…”
The most important thing to remember throughout is that no matter how you choose to begin the eulogy, it should be about the loved one who has passed. It is important to introduce yourself and say a few words about your relationship with the decedent, but the focus throughout the eulogy should be on the person who has been lost.
Return to the Eulogy Writing Overview