How to Write a Memorial Speech: A Beginner's Guide

Monday, December 14, 2020

Nearly 135,000 people passed away in Pennsylvania in 2018, according to state statistics. That number of deaths leaves thousands of grieving relatives to plan funerals and prepare for delivering eulogies and memorials.

For most people, you don't learn how to write a memorial speech until you are already in the grips of a personal tragedy

So it's important, especially with all the distractions a funeral service can create, to have a clear and simple playbook to work from.

The following article will walk you through how to prepare a eulogy or memorial speech in simple and effective terms.

How to Write a Memorial Speech? Brainstorm First

All writers, from first-grade students to professional ones, start with the same place — brainstorming.

Sitting down and jotting down as much as you can about your loved one is a great way to get the writing process started. Don't worry about complete sentences or fully flushed out thoughts; try to get words on the paper that signify your family member or friend. 

You should write down moments that meant a lot to you and reach out to other people to share their brainstorming ideas. When it comes to a project like this, inclusivity and multiple ideas are key.

Write the Introduction

Once you have several ideas and feelings on paper from your brainstorm, take a stab at your introduction. As the saying goes, "A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step." And an introduction is a lot like this first step in the actual writing.

An introduction should acknowledge everyone in attendance, introduce yourself and your relationship to the deceased, and thank everyone for attending.

The introduction will also help set the tone for your eulogy. Yet, don't feel locked into the introduction. This is probably an area you'll want to revisit once you've written the majority of your eulogy.

Write a Short Biography

Next, flow into a short biography of the deceased. Include birth, important family members, their spouse and children, and significant dates in the person's life. Always write in complete sentences. Don't drop dates with no context.

Special Stories and Memories

Refer back to your brainstorming sheet for a good story or memory you'd like to share that exemplifies your loved one. It could include their achievements, talents, passions, or sense of humor. 

Try to keep the story light and as positive as you can.

Close with a comforting note

In the final section of the in memoriam, try to emphasize any lesson the loved one taught you or their impact on others' lives. This is often the hardest part to read in front of a crowd, so practice it a bit so you can read or recite the passage with some confidence. 

Finally, close with a final goodbye, or, if you're a religious person, a short prayer. Don't forget to thank everyone in attendance for coming to the service.

Proofing and Feedback

Once you've completed your draft, it's time to put on your editor's hat. Proofing the text is one of the most important aspects of how to write a memorial speech.

Check the facts like names, dates, family relationships. Also, ask a friend or family member to listen to the speech to make sure your tone is appropriate, and you've captured the person's essence.

Try not to get offended if you don't like the feedback. It's OK not to use it.

Do you need help planning a funeral? Contact us today with any questions or to speak with a representative. 

Since 1905, families in the Greater Pottstown area have turned to the independent, family-owned Schumacher and Benner Funeral Home & Crematory to meet their funeral needs with professionalism and sensitivity.  

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