Writing a Eulogy or a Tribute

The first thing we need to do is decide whether you are writing a tribute or a traditional eulogy.
Most people say they are doing a eulogy, when they really mean tribute.

So what’s the difference?

A eulogy is a chronological account of the deceased’s life – from birth to death. It includes their education, their achievements – both personal and professional. Think of it like an embellished timeline. Think – what they did – and where and when they did it. A traditional eulogy is reasonably formal and structured. There are many, many eulogy templates available online to help get you started.

A tribute is more about the who. In a tribute, we are less concerned about all the little details of what, when where and more about who they were and why they did what they did. It can be written from any perspective, including stories and analogies and memories, and does not need to adhere to any particular timeline. They can be funny or emotional, personal and relevant to the memories of the speaker. It doesn’t matter if there are gaps in the stories, or that the speaker jumps from one topic to the next.

If multiple people are speaking, you will find that mostly they will be doing tributes.

How do we start?
Tell us who you are – and your relationship to the deceased in a few words.
Tell us a story. Personal memories can do so much to tell us about the character of the deceased. It doesn’t have to be big. Often, it’s the little things that mean the most.
Tell us what you admired about them. Did you look up to them? Did they have qualities to be celebrated?
Tell us why they made you laugh? Humour is ok. In fact, a good laugh can be a great gift to a room of grieving people.
Tell us about their idiosyncrasies, their little quirks and funny sayings. These are the things that make us all human. They make us lovable; they make us approachable; they make us real. Don’t skip over them in an effort to make the deceased into a perfect creature.