Losing your partner is one of the most devastating life events an individual can experience. Even if your partner left you with an end of life plan, there are still a lot of things to consider as you transition to the next stage of your life.
Between funeral preparations and grieving your loss, you might feel the added pressure of writing a eulogy for your husband is too much. But many grieving widows find that the act of writing the eulogy helps them to find closure and peace.
There are many milestones you will pass in your grief. Writing and delivering the eulogy at the funeral or memorial can help you to move forward. Other milestones include scattering the ashes and saying your final goodbyes – but not without first choosing one of our memorial rings.
Writing a eulogy might seem daunting at first. With a little support from those around you, a strong structure and a little bit of research, you should have no issue creating something that is a fitting tribute to your loved one.
A eulogy is a short remembrance speech delivered by someone who was close to the deceased. It may be delivered by a spouse, sibling or parent. Eulogies are commonly delivered at funerals or memorial services as a way to bring people together to remember those we have lost.
It is a deeply personal speech, similar to wedding vows for a married couple. So, while you might look for inspiration from other sources, the bulk of the content will be personal to you. There are no rules about what a eulogy can or cannot be. And while you should write it from your perspective, you don’t always have to be the one to read it. If you get too emotional, asking someone else to step in and take over might be helpful.
A eulogy doesn’t have to be very long. You want it to be detailed enough to make sure you include important details about your loved one’s life, but not so detailed that your audience starts to lose interest. A good eulogy is typically around 3-5 minutes long, but it could be as long as 10 minutes, particularly if your partner was known to a lot of people.
Delivery is a key part of the eulogy. You want to be able to deliver the eulogy with notes, but without appearing like you are reading from a script. When you learn to relax and remember you are talking to those closest to you about the person you love, it becomes a lot easier to deliver the eulogy with confidence.
Yes, you should take control of writing the eulogy. While you might ask for advice and ideas from those around you, it needs to be delivered in your voice. Trying to deliver something that you didn’t write may sound unnatural. Also, you knew your husband best, so you are in the best position to deliver the eulogy.
We’ve included some sample eulogies at the end of this piece to help give you some idea of how to structure the speech. You don’t have to use these ideas, but it could help you to get started by triggering that first spark of inspiration.
A eulogy for a husband will typically include details about how you met, your relationship, your family, and their hobbies and interests. While the core of the eulogy will summarise how they spent their life, you also want to include an idea of who they were, what they meant to you, and how they touched the lives of others.
You can include anything that you feel is important, and this can include funny anecdotes if you think it is appropriate. It can feel cathartic to find a way to make people laugh during a eulogy. It is certainly a sad occasion, but this shouldn’t stop you from remembering the joy the individual brought to your life.
Leave out anything that would embarrass the deceased or their relatives. You should also avoid anything that might call their character into question. For example, any private information that was between spouses should stay out of the eulogy. Remember your audience, and think about what they would want to hear about your spouse.
You won’t do your best work from the deepest depths of grief. When you aren’t in the mood to write, don’t force it. Instead, try to find a way to create the right conditions that will enable you to write clearly.
Writing early in the morning could help you seize the part of the day when you have the most clarity. This is perfect for getting the outline established. But later in the evening, you might be feeling more nostalgic and creative. Give yourself enough time to get in the right headspace for writing the eulogy and then create a writing routine that works for you.
Don’t try to force it when you aren’t feeling ready to write. This will only lead to feelings of frustration and make it even harder to return to the writing at a later date. Instead, try making a few notes of things you might want to include, or reading examples of eulogies to give you some ideas.
You can use the times when you are feeling too emotional to write to set the tone of the speech. Decide what feelings you want to communicate and then let the words come along later.
Will you be delivering the eulogy to your partner’s friends, family, or colleagues? The audience matters, as they will all have a very different idea of your spouse. Will there be children present? Will there be people you have never met before? If you aren’t sure who will be there, it’s always best to keep things neutral.
Asking for advice and anecdotes from the people you know will be there may help you to build a structure to the eulogy and make sure that it addresses more than just your life with your husband. It can be easy to forget that our partners are multifaceted and have lots going on in their lives outside of their marriage.
Some people love to dig out the photo albums and take a trip down memory lane while writing their eulogy. This can be incredibly cathartic and also help you to dig up old memories you might have otherwise forgotten about. You can do this step alone or ask a friend or family member to help you. Sometimes talking through your memories in this way can help you to decide what to include and what to leave out.
A eulogy should help those who didn’t know your partner very well to understand every aspect of their life. But you should also appreciate your limitations. Speaking about any time before you knew your husband might be better left to their siblings or childhood friends. Rather than guess, let other people fill in the gaps.
If you’re struggling to get started, a great place to start is with other eulogies. Look online for examples of eulogies or head to your local library to find volumes of famous eulogies. Poetry books are another great place to look for inspiration. You could also read obituaries in the newspaper to get an idea of what to include and what to leave out.
By now, you should start to have an idea forming in your head of how you want to structure your eulogy. You don’t have to stick to a chronological account of your partner’s life. But you will find that most eulogies from spouses start with an overview of how you met and your first impressions.
Create a rough outline using bullet points to signify the most important things you need to mention. Once this step is done, all you have to do is fill in the details and finalise the flow of the text.
You don’t have to write a 100% unique eulogy. There may be sentences and phrases you find in your research that work well for your situation. Obviously, copying a eulogy word for word would be frowned upon, but since this is a speech and not a published piece of work, the chances of anyone noticing are very slim. The only time to avoid lifting content from an existing eulogy would be if it is a famous eulogy. In this case, people might notice that you didn’t write it.
If you do borrow and adapt content that you find, make sure to make it completely unique to you. Adjust phrases that you wouldn’t typically say and make it sound more like your natural voice. If you aren’t sure if it sounds like you, try reading it aloud. If it sounds unnatural, adjust the wording until it matches your tone of voice.
You don’t have to do this alone. If you know someone who is gifted with words, ask for their help. They don’t have to write the whole thing for you, but it can be helpful to have someone you can explore ideas with. You don’t have to choose someone who knew your husband well. In fact, choosing someone with limited knowledge of your husband might help them to think more freely about what you are trying to convey.
You don’t have to ask for anyone else’s input if you don’t want it. Writing a eulogy is deeply personal and highly cathartic. You can complete the task on your own if you prefer.
By this point, your eulogy will be finalised and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you want to say. It’s time to refine the speech to make sure it isn’t too long and you aren’t missing anything out. Your eulogy should tell a story of the person’s life, with all of the highlights that they would want to be remembered. Your eulogy outline should look something like this:
Delivering a eulogy is very different to any other type of speech. It can be incredibly emotional, but delivering a eulogy while falling apart can be distressing for everyone involved.
If you are concerned about your delivery, make sure you speak to someone else who will be in attendance and ask for their support. You can maintain eye contact with this person throughout the speech, and if you feel you are unable to continue, give them a signal so they know it’s time to step in and finish the speech.
Remember that you are delivering this speech to people who know and love you. This isn’t a work presentation, so the usual nerves might not appear. But the emotional impact of delivering a eulogy might be a lot more overwhelming. Be prepared to take a step back and let someone else finish your speech if you’re struggling to get through it.
Every eulogy will be unique, but many people find it easier if they can borrow pieces, phrases and structures from existing eulogies to make life easier. The following are sample eulogies you may use as the basis for your own writing. Treat these as inspiration and the starting point for your own research. Spoken aloud, the majority of these eulogies will take around two to three minutes.
Pete was a kind and generous man. He was thoughtful in his work and in his life. He always had a smile for everyone he met and no one was a stranger for long. He always had time to chat with anyone, whether it be in line at the supermarket or at the bus stop. Pete was always there to lend an ear.
I remember when I first met this chatty and outgoing man. I was a natural cynic and didn’t trust this outgoing man talking to me enthusiastically about our first university lecture. He quickly became a permanent fixture in my life, and before long, I didn’t know how I could live without his endless cheerful chatter.
Pete lived a simple life and he was always grateful for the little things. He was the one who would play with the children and marvel at the world through their eyes. At work, he was the joker and would always keep spirits high, even when there were sales targets to be met and the goalposts would mysteriously shift.
He was passionate about volunteering for homeless charities and would give up his free time to raise money, provide support, and be a friendly face willing to pitch in with whatever needed to be done at the local homeless shelter.
Pete will be remembered as the person with a larger than life personality and the generosity to match it. Thank you for gathering here today to say goodbye to the man I loved for 37 years.
My husband Derek was a man who always had a smile on his face. He was kind, generous, and always willing to help when I needed it. Derek was my rock. He helped me through the rough times in my life. He was my number one supporter in everything I did in life.
I’m sure his work colleagues here today heard all about my projects and plans, and how they typically ended half-finished when I got bored. While I know this always frustrated him, he supported me with renewed enthusiasm every time I had that little spark of inspiration.
Derek loved living his life to the fullest, and he always found joy in the simplest things in life. He never wanted to be seen as the person battling health problems, so he would do everything he could to make those around him feel more comfortable.
Derek was a man who knew his worth and always tried to make everyone around him feel good. He was a loving husband, a caring father, and a loyal friend. Derek always put others before himself, and never complained about the hardships of life. He always had a smile on his face, and never let the negativity of the world get him down. He had been dealt some difficult cards in life, but he never let that get him down.
Carl was my prince charming. I knew my life would never be lonely with Carl around. We first met in the supermarket of all places and I remember how he made me laugh instantly like we’d known each other for a lifetime already. He asked me out, and I tried to play it cool, while also being completely transparently desperate to say yes to this gorgeous man.
I knew at once he was a kind and gentle soul. He always had a smile and was quick to help anyone around him. He was a hard worker and took a lot of pride in his work.
We got married young, and I was always told it would end in divorce. But 37 years later we were still going strong with hardly a single bump in the road. He was an amazing and attentive father, and always wanted to be involved with every aspect of their lives. His greatest pride was attending parents’ evening to hear how well his children were performing in school.
He leaves behind a wife and three children who won’t be the same without him. But we are all going to try to honour his memory through kindness and compassion for others. Carl wanted to leave the world a little kinder than he found it, and hopefully, we can all help to maintain this legacy.
Jeff was the man I always hoped I would marry. He treated me with kindness and respect. He was always there to listen to my problems and talk me through them. He was so strong, but he never made me feel weak. He was my rock.
Jeff loved his family unconditionally. He always made time for his kids and never missed their events. When his parents got sick, Jeff wouldn’t hear of them going into a nursing home. He turned his home studio into a small apartment so the whole family could live together.
Our family of four became a family of six and the house was always bustling with activity. Our children had the most wonderful time getting to know their grandparents before they passed away. This was an experience that wouldn’t have happened without Jeff’s endless compassion.
Of course, without his home studio, his instruments and recording equipment spread throughout the home. There was always music happening when Jeff was around. He was always on the verge of breaking into a song. Losing Jeff has left a gaping hole in my heart, but through the music he left behind, I hope we can all find a little bit of comfort and joy.