Eulogy Writing – Organize the Material

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Step Three
Organize the Material.

You’re probably facing a long list of random stories, personal qualities and facts now you’ll need to decide what to include and organize the material into a cohesive format. This may be the most challenging part of writing the eulogy.

Try grouping the material into categories of similar topics and sorting it into a logical order. Look for common topics in the information and stories. Look for a logical order that develops with the information.

Review the three common ways of organizing a eulogy, perhaps one of these formats will work best for you.

Three Common ways to organize a eulogy.

1.Chronological Life History – the person’s life story starting with childhood and working through the highlights of their life. Another way to organize based on a life history is to go in reverse chronological order – starting with the present and working back through the person’s past.

This type of eulogy often reveals parts and aspects of the person’s life that friends and family may not have been aware of, such as childhood adventures, early work experience and military history.

2. Develop a special theme – as you review your notes and the information provided by others, a theme may develop. Choose one big area and give examples, anecdotes and stories to explain and illustrate it.

  • Example – Organize the eulogy around the way the person loved a challenge or was always there for a friend, how the person was a great humanitarian or how they were a “fighter” or “survivor”.

  • Example –This example is from an actual eulogy for a mother. The eulogy was organized around how the mother lives on in each of her three adult children.  One daughter has the mother’s sense of humor – with examples of mom’s many practical jokes and great love of theater, another daughter has mom’s love of nature – with examples of mom’s extensive hiking and camping experiences, and a son who has the mother’s passion for sports – with examples of how mom played high school basketball, taught PE for many years and was a huge Red Sox fan.

3. Three Points – Decide on three major points or key things, focus the eulogy around these three points such as three passions, three careers. Introduce the three points at the beginning of the eulogy and go through each point by number. Conclude by summarizing the three points.

  • Example – In reviewing Dad’s life it became clear to me that he was devoted to three things 1) Mom 2) us kids and 3) hunting season.

  • Example – My aunt wore three hats:  1) Mother to her son Harry; 2) Political hot-shot at the Governor’s office, and;  3) devoted parish deacon.
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