how to write a goodbye speech for a funeral

5 Tips for Writing a Beautiful Funeral Speech About Your Loved One

Saying “goodbye” hurts to the core, especially when it’s a loved one. You all of sudden think of all the things you should have said when they were alive.

You still can. A funeral speech gives you the opportunity the says things you never did.

A good eulogy honors the life of the person who has passed away. It highlights the positive attributes of their character and lifestyle. Eulogies offer moments of reflection for those in attendance, giving them temporary relief from grief.

They also express the need to let go while saying “I’ll always love you, and I’ll never forget you.”

Were you asked to speak at a funeral? You may find it challenging to arrange your words into a proper funeral speech. Relax. Here’s some great advice for planning the perfect speech.

1. Remember What a Funeral Speech Is

Funeral speeches are eulogies. They pay special tribute to someone who’s recently passed away. If you’ve never been asked, consider the request as an honor.

Your purpose as the eulogizer is to bring comfort by reminding grieving people of the important role the deceased played in their lives. While you’re reminding them, also pay your respects.

2.Start With Opening Remarks

While there’s no set outline for eulogies, they all start with opening remarks. This is where you introduce yourself to the funeral attendees.

Keep your intro brief unless you’re opening with a sweet anecdote about the deceased. Refrain from giving your entire bio, especially if the entire grieving attendees are family.

The short intro serves those in attendance who don’t know you and your relationship to the deceased.

3. Gratitude and Condolences

As a eulogizer, you’re standing in an honorable position. Family members of the deceased thought highly of you if they chose you to eulogize their loved one.

Thank them for it.

Show your appreciation for getting asked to honor the deceased and the family. After you give thanks, offer your condolences , even if you’re family. Condolences further express thanks for the privilege of paying tribute to the deceased.

4.Start With the Honors

If you didn’t get the opportunity to give the deceased their flowers before they died, here’s your chance. Start with the honors.

Discuss all the things that made the deceased special. Talk about awards you know of, their work ethics, and their parenting skills. If you know of any honors they earned in their community, bring those up as well.

This is the heart of your eulogy, so make it count.

If they were religious, speak on their faith and the role it played in their everyday life. It may draw out a lot of emotion in the room, but that’s fine. Sometimes speaking on faith has a way of offering free therapy.

Round the eulogy up a beautiful memory. Include as much imagery as possible.

5. Say Farewell

Sharing a heartfelt memory in your eulogy is like leaving the family with a hug. Afterward is the perfect time to offer words of comfort and prepare them to say farewell.

Don’t offer a singular goodbye. Involve the room, particularly the family. Consider having everyone stand as you read the deceased favorite quote, mantra, or bible verse.

Bid them farewell.

Say Goodbye

There’s no easy or textbook way set in stone on how to deliver a funeral speech. Saying goodbye isn’t something you plan. One thing is true, however. You can be authentic, gracious, and most of all, benevolent.

Do you need help planning a loved one’s funeral? Use our planning ahead guide then contact us for help laying someone you loved to rest.

Our family-owned funeral homes, Kuzo and Foulk, are here to help the Kennett Square, West Grove, and surrounding PA communities. Whether that’s with preplanning, a death in the family, cremation, a casket, the funeral service, or a funeral director, we’re here for you. Contact us for all of your funeral needs.

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Funeral Speech Examples for a Heartfelt Eulogy

We hope our funeral speech examples will inspire you to write a heartfelt eulogy to honour your loved one.

Delivering a funeral speech can be a daunting task.  Quite apart from the challenge of speaking in front of people while in a highly charged emotional state, the task of actually writing the funeral speech can be overwhelming. 

We are here to help you tackle this important job especially if you are in a state of shock from the grief of losing your loved one.

Further down the page there are links to example eulogies for all loved ones, friends or colleagues to give you inspiration.

The life given us by nature is short, but the memory of a life well spent is eternal.  Cicero. Meme with seascape background.

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Guidelines for Writing Funeral Speeches:

First of all, we have put together the following simple guidelines to help you to think of things to say: 

Next, read the following two pages to give you step by step instructions on writing the eulogy and giving the speech:  

'How to write a eulogy'  

'How to give a eulogy' 

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Eulogy Sample Speeches

All the following links are sample eulogies written about real people.  The ones for a father were written by myself and my brother when my Dad died.  The one for a mother was written by my mother (founder of this website) about her own Mum.  

Many of the others have been written for us by guest writers about their own lost loved ones.  

We hope they will give you some ideas for writing your own moving tribute.  

Nicholas Sparks This is not goodbye my darling

Eulogy Examples for a Father

Eulogy for a Father-in-Law

Eulogy for a Mother

Eulogy for a Mother by a Daughter

Eulogy for a Mother in Law

Eulogy for a Husband

Eulogy for a Wife

Eulogy for a Grandmother

Eulogy for a Grandfather

Eulogy for an Aunt

Eulogies for an Uncle

Two Eulogies for a Brother

One More Eulogy for a Brother

Eulogy for a Sister

Eulogy for a Best Friend

A Humorous Eulogy for a Friend

Eulogy for a Mentor

Eulogy for a Friend

Printable Eulogy Templates

Finally, to help you with your task of writing your funeral speech, we have some printable templates as a guide to write eulogies for adults and for children. 

Print them out and then fill in the information and stories for your own departed loved one.  

Free Eulogy Templates

Related Pages: 

Planning a Funeral - Step by Step

Funeral Music

How to Deal with Grief

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How to write a eulogy

A eulogy is a speech given at a memorial or funeral service. It can be delivered by a family member, close friend, priest, minister or celebrant and it commemorates and celebrates the life of the deceased.

Eulogies began in ancient Greece and the tradition continues today as it is still very common practice, although not all cultures and religions include eulogies in their funeral proceedings.

A eulogy is essentially a way of saying farewell to a person who has passed away by expressing and sharing thoughts, feelings and experiences that honour and respect the deceased.

They can be written in many different ways depending on the person and the circumstances.

Writing a eulogy can seem to be a difficult task, however writing one can also be a way to start the healing process. To help with writing a eulogy we have provided some tips on what to include below.

Example eulogies

We have also compiled a selection of ten example eulogies, which we hope can inspire you if you need to deliver a eulogy at a funeral service and you don't know where to start. By clicking on the links below you will see the eulogy in its full length.

The most important thing is to write from your heart and express what means the most to you. And remember you don’t have to do it alone - there are resources around that can help.

If you are still not sure how to put your thoughts and emotions down on paper, here are some tips to help you with the writing process:

What to include in a eulogy

A eulogy can also be made meaningful by describing your loved one’s life in terms of achievements as well as a timeline of their life. Here are some facts you might like to gather and include in your eulogy.

Your eulogy doesn't have to include all of these to be meaningful, but by adding some of them, it can help make your eulogy more complete:

Eulogy Examples: How to Write a Eulogy for a Loved One

By Becki Andrus

how to write a goodbye speech for a funeral

How do you distill a lifetime of memories and experiences into a 15-minute eulogy? It’s an honor to hold the responsibility of eulogizing your loved one, but it can feel like a challenge to fit everything you want to say in one speech.

Instead of making the funeral attendees feel like they are reading an encyclopedia from cover-to-cover, look for ways to highlight the rich life experiences that matter most. A eulogy should be a sampling of the best the person had to offer including accomplishments, personality traits, and memorable stories.

When it comes to eulogy writing, you can search online for ideas and examples. But the most important thing you need to keep in mind: quality over quantity .

What is a Eulogy?

Giving a eulogy means that you are sharing a remembrance speech with the purpose of paying tribute to a loved one. This speech is given at the funeral or memorial service by a family member or close friend.

A good eulogy highlights the lasting impact of the person on their family and community. Through your speech, you’ll have an opportunity to share their unique qualities, as well as the ripple effect of positivity and change they created in the world around them.

How can you best honor  your loved one? A eulogy can be a part of your healing, and a beautiful way to reflect on the details that were most special about them.

Eulogy Examples

One of the simplest ways to write a eulogy is to review a eulogy speech example that matches your own preferred tone and style. What makes a eulogy unique is the unique details you’ll share about the person themselves, which is why it’s essential to customize your eulogy to honor and celebrate the personality of your loved one.

You may want to start with our primer on how to write a eulogy . Then, use the following outline and eulogy examples to create a strong speech  that communicates the message you want to share about the person who meant so much to you.

Eulogy Sample Outline

Using a eulogy sample outline is a proven way to create a great speech. Remember those Mad Libs books from your childhood? This process is similar: follow the outline and plug in the personal details applicable to your loved one. 

These eulogy samples help you overcome writer's block and keep you focused on the details that matter most. Aim to cap the eulogy at a maximum of 10 minutes total. The simplest eulogy outline can be broken down into three parts, so you’ll need to consider how much time to spend on each section:

Eulogy Examples for a Friend

It can be helpful to write this eulogy as if you were talking to a friend. Common talking points might include:

Here is a eulogy example for a friend:

I can’t imagine how empty it will feel to spend time on the basketball court without Jim by my side. Our relationship was built with a basketball in hand, and evolved to share many family gatherings and other activities together over the years. With his passing, Jim is leaving behind a legacy of kindness, compassion, and generosity.

Jim shared good humor and a big smile with everyone he met. Even though people often cursed at his practical jokes, he was an integral part of creating a solid foundation of friendship in our group. When times were difficult, he could always put a smile on my face. He held his head high until the end, showing what it looks like to finish strong.

Eulogy Examples for Your Father

Writing a eulogy for your dad may be really tough. How do you memorialize your hero amid grief and emotion? We hope these tips and the example below will help you in your process. 

Here is a eulogy example for your father:

My dad was my hero. He could make every person feel like they were the most important person in the world. Growing up, I knew that I could always ask Dad for help – and he would be willing to drop anything to lend a hand. He was a rock of stability in my childhood and a source of strength for our whole family.

My father was a man who infused fun into the most mundane tasks. I remember how he would turn our bedtime routine into an adventure that included highlights from our favorite storybooks. He was a kind and thoughtful person. Every night at the dinner table, he encouraged us to talk about the things we were grateful for, and always had yummy treats for us kids hidden in the back of the pantry. I will miss you, Dad, and I’ll always hold onto the amazing memories we shared together.

Eulogy Examples for Your Mother

How can you ever do justice to a eulogy for your beloved mother – the woman who was always there with love and guidance through the ups and downs, the celebrations and challenging moments of your life? Here are a few tips for writing a eulogy for your mother:

Here is a eulogy example for your mother:

Today we are honoring, celebrating, and remembering {mom’s full name]. She was a woman of grace and courage, with a stubborn streak that showed up when she set her mind to something, like going back to school to become a nurse at age 40. 

My mother was truly my best friend and I am humbled by the challenge of describing the fullness of her beauty and caring here today. I don't know how she did it, but Mom always found the perfect balance between work and home. Even though she worked 40 – 50 hours a week to support us, she prioritized family dinner. That time was sacred to our family. Her love and kindness were infused in everything she did, whether she was baking cookies for a bake sale to help the hospital or sewing our Halloween costumes by hand year after year. 

She had a magical way of bringing joy every time she walked into the room. No one who met her could forget her smile. And I’ll never forget the advice and the lessons she taught me. Her wisdom will forever guide the decisions I make through the rest of my life. I love you, Mom.

Eulogy Examples for Your Grandmother

How do you share the details about the love you felt through your relationship with a grandmother? Follow these tips to write a good eulogy for this important woman:

Here is a eulogy example for your grandmother:

My grandmother paid attention to the details – it was the little things that added the finishing touch to every experience. Whether she was setting out the treat jar on the kitchen table or clinking the glass while drinking her iced tea, she always prioritized food and drinks.

Since she loved to shop, grandma would often take us to the mall when we were visiting for the weekend. We would have fashion shows in the dressing rooms and often come home with bright, frilly dresses that were perfect for twirling.

When grandpa was away for the war, grandma was an example of always getting back up again when things get hard. She never complained; just worked hard and supported her family at all times. Despite the personal challenges, she always looked outside of herself – which is why she will be remembered as a beacon of light in this community.

Eulogy Examples for Your Grandfather

What are the details that make your grandfather larger than life? Here are a few ideas to help when writing a eulogy for this great man:

Here is a eulogy example for your grandfather:

Even though my grandfather didn’t like to be the center of attention, he had an undeniable impact on the community. If he was here with us today, he wouldn’t want us to share grief and sorrow. Instead, his desire would be to focus on the happy memories and joyful experiences shared over the years.

Grandpa was a man who set a lasting impression on everyone he met. His deep laugh and kind eyes warmed the room and brought life into the most boring daily activities. Grandpa loved spending time with his grandkids because he said that it made him feel young at heart.

He was a great teacher and a dependable friend. His advice and guidance will continue to carry me through the joys and challenges that life has to offer.

Eulogy Examples for Your Brother

Siblings share a special bond, giving you deep insights to share about your brother. Follow these tips for writing a good eulogy:

Here is a eulogy example for your brother:

While it’s tragic to think about Kyle leaving us too soon, he left behind a lifetime of memories that we can celebrate. Kyle was always ready for a fun day with friends – he would have been the one showing up today with the perfect playlist for the event.

Even though my brother was a few years older than me, he always included me in the adventures with his friends. I never felt like the little brother he was dragging along. He made me feel special and included in the group, and helped me build confidence along the way.

Kyle was my best friend and I can’t imagine what life is going to be like without him sending me funny cat memes every night. But I know that his memory will live on when I eat his favorite pizza or hear his favorite band on the radio.

Eulogy Examples for Your Sister

If you’ve lost a sibling, we are truly sorry, Writing a eulogy for your sister can be a way to honor her through your memories of your childhood and growing up with her, as well as the milestones of her life. A few ideas for this eulogy include:

Here is a eulogy example for your sister:

My sister, Kim, might have been a little shy at the first introduction. But once she warmed up to a friendship, she always had plenty to say every time she talked. Kim loved to share stories from her time volunteering at the children’s hospital and she had a beautiful gift of making everyone feel like the most important person in the world.

We were only a year apart, which meant that I was the younger sister who was often stealing her clothes or listening in on her conversations with her boyfriend. Even though I was the pesky sibling who cracked jokes about her unique style, she was everything I wanted to be when I grew up. She was independent, strong, and beautiful. She was a free spirit who wasn’t afraid to act boldly, like moving to Paris after college and starting her own business. She was my partner in crime, and I could always tell her everything. She will never be replaced. . My dear sister, I love you and I will be forever grateful for every moment we spent together.

Short Eulogy Examples

Short and sweet is a good rule of thumb to follow when writing a eulogy. Consider these important talking points if you want to write a short eulogy:

Here is a short eulogy example:

The years I spent with Kathy in my life were filled with excitement and adventure. She showed up for life in the biggest way possible. From the moment she shared her cookie with me on the first day of kindergarten, I knew we would be best friends.

She spent many years working as a teacher, and her heart was big enough to offer individual attention to every child that walked into her classroom. Kathy made a difference in the lives of hundreds of children over the years, and her kindness and positivity will leave an unwavering legacy in this community.

Funny Eulogy Examples

Sometimes a bit of humor is the perfect way to lighten the mood and showcase the personality of your loved one. Consider these tips if you want to add a few jokes into the eulogy:

Here is a funny eulogy example:

Anyone who met Josh quickly learned that there are always laughs to be shared. It was impossible to spend time with him without enjoying a gut-busting laugh at some point in the conversation. Josh was known as the class clown, and his jokes were quick-witted and hilarious.

Who could forget the time Josh showed up to the family reunion wearing that ridiculous blow-up dinosaur costume? He chased the kids around the park until everyone laughed until they were crying.

Many funny memories came out of our family camping trips. He couldn’t sit down to enjoy a peaceful campfire. Instead, the s’more making always seemed to turn into a marshmallow fight – with white puffs flying through the air when you least expected it. Josh kept a smile on my face through the ups and downs of life, and I will keep on smiling in his honor.

Personalizing the Eulogy

As you read through these funeral eulogy examples, the most important thing to remember is that there isn’t a right or wrong way to write a eulogy. Instead, consider the best way to share the person in the way they would want others to remember them. It’s your chance to verbalize your love and honor the memories of your loved one.

Our Farewelling Editors are constantly reviewing and curating resources to help you with your planning.  We may receive a small commission from any purchases made through the links.


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 Eulogy examples: help to write a eulogy

Funeral speech examples from around the world.

By:  Susan Dugdale  | Last modified: 02-12-2023

How do you begin to write a eulogy?

And when you do get started, how is it possible to say everything you want to about a person in a few, very brief, minutes?

Both those questions are natural responses to having a eulogy to write.

Grief, coupled with the desire to get it right and the pressure of a tight timeframe, can make preparing it feel like an almost insurmountable challenge. 

That's why reading what others have written in similar circumstances helps a great deal.

About these eulogy examples

I am fortunate to be able to make available to you a large, and growing, collection of funeral speech examples . 

They've been written by people from all over the world who are just like you and me. They too have family and friends whom they care for deeply.

how to write a goodbye speech for a funeral

Look and you'll find examples of eulogies  for mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, mentors, colleagues..., in short: loved ones.

They have been shared by those who wrote them to help people like yourself. Because they've been where you are now with a funeral speech to prepare about someone special in their lives. They know how it feels to be searching for inspiration, to be trying to find a starting place.

Some of the speeches are short. Some of them are funny. All of them are heartfelt.

To see them, jump to  eulogy samples .

To find an example to match exactly what you are looking for eg., a eulogy for a mother-in-law, a brother, son, sister, grandmother or co-worker..., please scroll down through the list. They appear in the order I received them.

Or if you'd prefer, go to the page featured below:  sample eulogies .

 Help to find eulogy examples more easily

To make it quicker and easier to find funeral speeches of the type you want to read I've created a new page of sample eulogies and grouped them: eulogies for mothers , fathers , sisters , sons , grandmothers , grandfathers , friends , colleagues , and so on.

Collage of 12 labels: Eulogies for Mothers, Eulogies for Fathers, Eulogies for Sisters, Eulogies for Brothers...

The page also has links to all the other resources on my site to help prepare a eulogy: how to write one (what to say), a printable eulogy planner and outline, readings or poems you may like to include etc. Go to: eulogy examples and resources

The story behind this collection of eulogies

It began with two sample e ulogies  I had written. Almost as soon as I put them online they attracted an enormous number of visitors.

It was then I realized the need for more funeral speeches. 

I also knew my eulogy examples would not answer everybody's needs. The one for my sister was different in approach. The one for my friend and next-door neighbor was not what a grieving person with a funeral speech to write for a close family member really wanted to see. 

My two were definitely not enough! 

Image: blue forget-me-not flowers. Text: What do forget-me-not flowers symbolize? Remembrance, enduring love, faithfulness

Offering a wider variety of funeral speeches 

To be really useful there needed to be a wider variety of funeral speeches. We needed eulogies for mothers, fathers, sons, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, colleagues, friends...

And we needed them to reflect the diverse countries and faiths of the people visiting the site.

I decided to ask for more. Lo and behold, they began to arrive through my eulogy submission form below.

(After you've read a few examples and you want help to prepare your own speech you'll find it here:  how to write a eulogy . The page has step by step instructions, examples and a very useful free 15 page printable eulogy planning template.)

Why share a deeply personal speech?

The people sending their eulogies to me to publish fully appreciate that writing a funeral speech under pressure can be a difficult, sad and lonely task. They know from experience having examples to read can lessen that burden and provide a starting place.

Theirs is a kind and generous act, one that's been repeated over 70 times already.  

Wonderfully, some of the people who've come searching for eulogy examples to help them write, have returned to share what they've written.

(Read Craig's comment below his eulogy for his Grandmother, Bertha  or Byrona's below her  eulogy for her Dad .

Both were helped by funeral speeches they found here and wanted what they had written to assist others in the same way.)

So, if you've  written a eulogy...

Would you consider sharing it.

It would help others enormously.

Every day people look for suggestions on how to a write eulogy or for eulogy examples . I know because I see it reflected in my website visitor statistics.

I also know because of the comments people leave under speeches.  They are so very grateful to have found a eulogy expressing how they feel. For instance the comments on Eulogy for my Son , on Eulogy for my Grandmother - Bertha , or Sharon Catley's poem for her Mother,  Journey's End .   

You know how it generally is with a speech of this sort. Typically there is very little time to prepare and you want to get it right.

Reading what others have done  helps in the best possible way.

These eulogies inspire and give people the courage to do what they need to do.

Despite our differences what we  all have in common is the desire to speak about our loved ones the very best way we can. 

The more samples we have, the more likely a person is going to find a speech that resonates and meets their needs.

You too could help by submitting the eulogy you've written. It's really simple to do.

Image: Blue forget-me-nots circle. Text: Thank you for sharing

When you're ready ...

PS. If you would like to share your eulogy but have privacy concerns around using your loved one's name you could either use a fictional one or write XXXX in its place. Be assured too, that although there is the possibility that people reading your speech might wish to respond, no comment goes live without my permission.

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What to say in a funeral speech or eulogy

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If you’ve been asked to give a funeral speech or eulogy, you might have questions about how to get it right. Here are some tips to help you write a heart-warming funeral speech.

What is a eulogy?

A eulogy is a speech that’s given at a funeral or memorial service. It’s a way to share memories of the person who has died. It’s also called a funeral speech.

A eulogy can be delivered by family or friends, or by a celebrant (the person leading the service).

How to write a eulogy

It’s a good idea to think about the eulogy in different sections (start, middle and ending) and then focus on writing each one in turn. You could write one section a day if you’re finding it difficult to sit down and write the whole eulogy at once. Before you start writing anything at all, you might like to chat to other friends and family members to hear their memories too. There might be specific things they’d like you to mention in the speech.

How to start a eulogy

Starting a eulogy can feel like the hardest part. One easy way to begin is with a story about the person who has died. You could talk about how you met them or share a story that shows the kind of person they were. To find some inspiration, try writing down some of your favourite stories. They can be touching, funny, emotional or inspiring.

Here are a few things you could think about to get started:

What to say in a eulogy

Keeping to a basic eulogy structure will make it easier for you to say, and easier for people to follow. Try to have 3-5 main points, then give yourself 1-2 minutes to say each point.

Things you could include in your eulogy:

Rather than simply writing a funeral speech that tells the person’s life in order, consider basing the eulogy around the stories and moments that stand out.

How to end a eulogy

It’s best to end your funeral speech with something memorable and meaningful. You could end with an uplifting quote from the person who has died, or you could finish with a final story. You could even end with a sentence about what you think the person would say to everyone if they were still here. Alternatively, you could finish with a poem or song.

How long is a funeral eulogy?

Eulogies are usually quite short. Try to write a speech that lasts between 5 and 10 minutes, as a guide. But it’s important to think about how long you feel comfortable speaking for. If you only want to speak for a couple of minutes, that’s fine too.

Tips for speaking at a funeral

What to do if you can’t do the eulogy

If you can’t face delivering a eulogy at the funeral, that’s perfectly OK. You can ask a friend or the person leading the funeral to read your speech for you. They can also help you to write it, if you’re finding that difficult too.

Hopefully our eulogy tips have helped you understand how to write a funeral speech. You’ll find more tips and advice about planning or going to a funeral in our advice hub.

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How to Write an Inspiring Farewell Speech: Step-By-Step

Updated 6/7/2022

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Kate Wight, BA in English

Contributing writer.

how to write a goodbye speech for a funeral

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There are many times in our lives when we have to say goodbye to the people we care about. We may retire or switch jobs. We may move away or graduate. We may even die. If you’re leaving a place or situation, you may be asked to give a farewell speech.

Jump ahead to these sections:

Step 1: determine your audience, step 2: figure out what you want to say, step 3: make an outline, step 4: be personal, step 5: don’t speak for too long, step 6: practice makes perfect, sample farewell speeches.

This can be nerve-wracking for people who aren’t experienced in writing speeches or speaking in public. You may be tempted to just read a farewell poem and call it a day. But even a novice writer can craft an inspiring farewell speech.

Here, we’ll break down how to write one step-by-step and also provide examples of farewell speeches from several different occasions.  

Giving a farewell speech determine your audience image

Knowing who you’re speaking to will determine the tone of your speech. If you’re giving a retirement speech or saying goodbye to a co-worker, you’ll want to be slightly more formal. It’s definitely not the right place to engage in risqué humor.

If you’re a valedictorian speaking to your classmates, strive for an uplifting and inspirational tone. If you’re eulogizing yourself at a living funeral, you can be more irreverent than you might be eulogizing someone else. Give thought to the appropriate tone for the occasion and go on from there. 

Even professional writers and public speakers can’t just whip up a speech in one draft. Before you start writing, take some time to jot down some ideas.

Are there particular stories you want to share about your time with the people you’re speaking to? Make a note of them. Are there specific anecdotes about coworkers or friends you want to revisit? Write those down, too. Once you’ve narrowed down what you want to say, you’ll find it a lot easier to begin writing.

Once you’ve figured out what you want to say, it’s time to write up an outline. A speech should include the following components:

Giving a farewell speech be personal image

You may want to make your speech feel perfect and polished. The problem with that is that a perfectly polished speech can end up feeling a little generic.

It’s important to infuse your speech with personal and specific stories. This will help your audience feel more connected to what you’re saying. 

Once you’ve completed your speech, it’s time to edit it down. People may start to tune you out if you go on for too long. Even if your introduction is attention-grabbing, it won’t keep people engaged indefinitely. Five minutes is an appropriate length for more casual speeches. For a more formal farewell speech, you could speak for up to ten minutes. This might apply to a valedictorian speech at graduation or a retirement dinner for an important company figure. 

Ultimately, you need to use your best judgment. Read your speech out loud, being sure to speak slowly and clearly enough to be understood. Factor in pauses for laughter during humorous moments. If your speech is too long, then go through and trim out any unnecessary parts. This will ensure your speech is as strong and memorable as possible.

You may think that once your speech is written, you’re all done. But there’s still one more important step. You need to be comfortable delivering your speech. This means practicing it as many times as it takes.

A lot of people will rush through speeches if they feel nervous or uncomfortable in front of a crowd. Practicing it at the correct speed will help ensure you don’t speak too fast on the actual day of a farewell event. It’s almost like muscle memory. As you practice, you can even note spots where you need to breathe or take a sip of water. Being prepared for little things like that can make you feel more confident.

Practicing can also help you memorize your speech. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to go up without cards or notes. Even the most well-prepared person can have a forgetful moment. Without notes, you may panic and go completely blank.

Keep your speech in front of you so you’re able to quickly pick up where you left off. Just don’t rely on your notes too heavily, either. You want to connect with the audience by making eye contact. Practicing and preparing can help you strike the right balance.  

Sample farewell speech for retirement image

Now that we’ve broken down the steps that go into writing a farewell speech, we’ll share some examples. You can see how to say goodbye to coworkers through a touching retirement speech. You can see how people say goodbye when graduating or moving away.

You can even see how someone eulogizes themselves at a living funeral . Read on for excerpts from all of these kinds of farewell speeches:

Example for saying goodbye at work or retirement

“Over the past twenty years, I’ve seen this company grow from five people to over five hundred. But even though the office has changed significantly over the years, some things remain the same. We are truly like a family here. We’re just a much larger family than we used to be. 

But just because I’m retiring, it doesn’t mean I don’t still care about every one of you. A family doesn’t stop being a family just because someone moves away. Anytime you need to talk, I’m just a phone call away.” 

Example for saying farewell at the end of someone’s life

“I’ve attended an unfortunately large number of funerals in the past several years. This is the first time I’ve ever attended my own, though. 

I decided to have a living funeral after burying so many of my other friends who also had terminal illnesses. I thought it was a real shame that they didn’t get to hear their friends and family members celebrate them. Perhaps selfishly, I want to hear all of you talk about how awesome I am.

But more than that, I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate you, too. If you’re here, it’s because I can never fully express how much your support has meant to me while I’ve battled this illness. You’ve all helped me in so many ways. You’ve driven me to treatments. You’ve organized meal trains to feed my family. You’ve cleaned my house. You’ve taken care of my kids. You’ve told me jokes and let me vent. You’ve laughed with me and cried with me. You’ve been there for me in so many ways.

As you all know, we’ve hit a point where treatment isn’t doing anything to help anymore. I’ve gone ahead and discontinued it because it’s making me feel terrible and not actually doing anything. I’d rather go out peacefully and say goodbye on my own terms. And what better way to do that than throw myself a funeral party? So everyone please enjoy some food and music. And don’t forget to come over and tell me how great I am, because I do want to hear it.” 

Example for students or teachers

“Over the past four years, our class has been through a lot together. We’ve had ups and downs, but no matter what, we’ve always come through it closer than ever. Maybe it’s because we’re such a small school. While we might not all be the closest of friends, we don’t have the same cliques you might find at other schools. That might also be because many of us have been in school together since kindergarten. In a lot of ways, we’ve always been like a team. 

Now that we’re all going off to college, many of us will be on our own for the first time. It’s bound to be an enormous challenge for some. But I have faith in every single one of us. We’re graduating from a highly-competitive college prep school. Everything we’ve been through has prepared us for this.

We may be small fish going into a big pond. But we’re some of the smartest and toughest small fish you’re going to find. And ultimately, even if we end up scattered across the country, I know I’ll always be able to count on you. And I hope you know you can always reach out to me, too.”

Example for someone who’s moving away

“Moving away from friends isn’t exactly new for me. With a wife in the military, I end up having to pack up every few years to move. I know you all know what that experience is like. But this is definitely the hardest time I’ve ever had packing up to go.

Y ou don’t always encounter a lot of other civilian husbands living on base. It’s been incredible having a built-in support system with other dads and husbands who understand what this life is like. I’m really going to miss having our families all get together for cookouts on the weekends.”  

Writing an Inspiring and Memorable Farewell Speech: Tips, Tricks, and Examples 

When you’re leaving people behind, it’s hard to know how to say goodbye . You may worry that you won’t be able to properly express what the people in your life have meant to you.

Just follow the steps above and remember to speak from your heart. At the end of the day, that’s what will have the most impact.  

And if you're interested in unique ways to continue someone's legacy after their passing, you can consider a custom urn from a store like Foreverence  or even have a memorial diamond made from ashes with a company like  Eterneva .


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How to write a eulogy for your loved one

Jun 16, 2021

Better Place Forests

Reading a eulogy at Better Place Forests '

Alan Smith, RD

how to write a goodbye speech for a funeral

Fact checked by Alan Smith, RD

Elaine Hinzey is a registered dietitian, writer, and fact-checker with nearly two decades of experience in educating clients and other healthcare professionals.

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Table of contents

how to write a goodbye speech for a funeral

When a loved one passes away, we want to pay tribute to their life in a meaningful way. For loved ones, honoring cherished memories and accomplishments is an important part of the grieving process. This step helps commemorate their legacy in a way that feels true to their memory and the values they held. Writing a eulogy is a beautiful way to share these pivotal moments with the people that loved the departed. 

What is a eulogy? 

A eulogy is a remembrance speech that family members, close friends, or colleagues give during a funeral or memorial service. Sometimes just one person gives a eulogy at the memorial, and other times multiple people are chosen to share their memories and stories. With families and friends often traveling for a memorial service, eulogies serve as an opportunity for much-needed reflection as everyone gathers to honor a loved one’s passing. 

Writing a eulogy is a challenging task after losing someone dear to you. You’ll have to gather stories and memories to share in front of a room full of people. Remember that what makes eulogies beautiful is their opportunity to bring comfort to those family and friends who share your grief while keeping the legacy of your loved one alive . 

Don’t feel daunted; anyone can write a great eulogy. The key is to write something genuine that comes from the heart. While there are no rules for writing a eulogy, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you create a sincere eulogy about your loved one.

How long should a eulogy be? 

The deep love and loss you hold for someone who has passed can feel impossible to fit into a eulogy. Most eulogies are 5–10 minutes long, and it’s a challenge to fit someone’s whole life story into that amount of time. Look at it as a speech meant to capture the essence of their character and their values, honoring what they contributed to this world. The best place to start is deciding what stories and memories you’d like to include.

Below we’ve included a few steps for how you can write a meaningful eulogy. 

What should I include in a eulogy? 

Every eulogy should be unique, but these topics will help you draw inspiration: 

How to write a meaningful eulogy for a loved one

There is no right or wrong way to write a eulogy. If you’ve been chosen to deliver one, you were likely picked because of your meaningful connection to the departed and your beautiful storytelling abilities. Have confidence in yourself throughout this process — and if you begin to feel nervous, rely on the memories you have with your loved one to guide you. 

1. Gather memories

First, create a timeline of some of their most significant life moments — whether getting married, having children, details of their noteworthy career, a lifetime of travel, or their involvement and dedication to their community. Seeing a timeline of their most important life moments on paper will help you identify what stands out as worth highlighting in your eulogy.

Try writing down all the words you would use to describe them and their personality

You may decide to include some of these descriptors in your eulogy. Taking the time to write down what you cherished about their character and your life together will bring back specific memories about them. 

Family members and close friends are another source of ideas. Ask them about their favorite memories, insights into their relationship with the deceased, or places and times of the year that will always remind them of your loved one. 

Ask friends and family these questions for inspiration: 

Gathering ideas from different sources will help you identify a common thread or theme to tie the pieces of your eulogy together. 

2. Write a meaningful eulogy 

Eulogies are typically between 5–10 minutes spoken, or about 750–1,000 words written. When you sit down to write your first draft, write as you talk, and let the words come naturally. The most important part is to focus on how and why they were important to you; eulogies don’t need to be polished and perfect. 

It can be helpful to step away from a first draft and revisit with a fresh pair of eyes. Share your first draft with friends or family members for their input. During your editing process, remember the focal point of your eulogy — whether that be their adventurous spirit or their gift as a good listener — and make sure your anecdotes and highlights help bring those traits to life.

Writing a meaningful eulogy for someone dear to you can be an extremely emotional process, but also a beautiful and cathartic one. It’s a chance to reflect on treasured memories from over the years and keep those memories alive even after your loved one is gone. 

3. Practice with friends and family 

Once you’ve written a eulogy that you’re proud of, practice it in front of friends or family. Eventually, you will need to speak the words you’ve written so it’s best to practice before the day of the memorial service. Have one of the observers time your speech so you know roughly how long it will take. Oftentimes you will speak faster than you expected so make sure you take time to breathe and slow down. 

After you’ve practiced, ask your loved ones pointed questions about the areas you think may need work. This can sound like: 

Make sure you read the eulogy to someone who will give you constructive feedback so you know where to refine and make edits. 

4. Edit and repeat 

After practicing with friends and family, make any necessary edits to your eulogy. Sometimes you’ll find that your writing doesn't sound the way you thought it would when you say it out loud, so it’s helpful to edit after reading it aloud. Make edits to the areas you were given feedback on and repeat the peer review process until you feel it’s ready for the memorial. 

The day of the memorial service 

The day of the memorial service can be difficult for many reasons. Saying goodbye to a loved one is hard enough, but reading a speech in front of people can also cause stress. It’s important to remember that you’ve been chosen because you’re the best person to represent their life. 

When speaking, make sure you take time to pause and catch your breath. It’s common to speak too quickly when we’re nervous, but pausing and breathing will likely be perceived as natural to the audience. Take time between sentences and paragraphs so people can reflect on what you’ve said before rushing to the next point. 

Don’t let fear overcome the love you shared with the departed. After working hard on your eulogy, you are ready to read it aloud. 

Eulogy examples

Below we’ve written a few eulogy examples for you to draw inspiration from. 

Eulogy for a partner 

One of my favorite things about my wife was the way she loved birds. Most of us pay no attention to these small creatures, but she observed every wing flutter that went past her. She could stand in a field for hours watching their flight patterns and listening for their calls. At first, I wanted to quicken her pace, growing tired of all the moments we wasted staring at the sky.

As we grew older together, I understood her need for this solitary reprieve from society. I began wanting to follow her out into those fields to see the joy flicker in her eyes. What I would do to spend one more moment in a field with her — holding her bird book or listening to her attempt bird noises to attract them our way. 

I will never see birds the same way again. They will always be my wife. Soaring above the world's problems. Tuning in to tune out. I hope wherever she is now gives her that same peace. 

Eulogy for a parent

Since I was a little girl I’ve emulated my mother. From wearing her high heels to creating fake lesson plans so I could teach my brother in my pseudo classroom in the kitchen. As I grew older my affection for her grew, only taking a brief pause during the angst of middle and high school. 

After college, I began to find comfort in the same hobbies she tried to impart to me as a child. Things I used to hate like walking in the woods, snowshoeing on snow-filled bogs, and canoeing local rivers became my new happy place.

Now that she’s gone, I will return to those places that gave us both comfort. Always knowing that she’s there — watching over me and telling me to get back before dark. 

Eulogy for a grandparent

Everyone here knows that my grandmother was an avid reader. When you walked into her home the floors and countertops were always filled with her latest novel or autobiography. I always wanted to impress her with a great book, but she knew what she liked and I rarely got it right. 

One of my favorite memories was when I gifted her one of my own favorite books, The Overstory by Richard Powers. I was so nervous that she wouldn’t like it, but to my surprise she loved it and it became one of her staples — lining the countertops with her other favorites. 

I will always think of my grandmother when I open a book these days. In all of her favorites, she underlined the words that meant something to her. Tracing my fingers over those very lines brings me closer to her even when she’s gone. 

Eulogy for a sibling 

When my parents first told me I’d be getting a baby brother I was less than thrilled. In fact, I believe my response was “You’re ruining my life!” As we got older my brother became my best friend, my backpacking buddy, and even my roommate a time or two. 

Now I’m only left with our memories. Like the memory of him breaking his foot when we were jumping on our parent's bed and our trips around Europe once we got older. I also remember the bad memories, like when he forgot me in Amsterdam. Only something someone as forgetful as him would do. 

My brother was my favorite person in the world. Saying goodbye to him was never the way things were meant to be, but here we are — and for him, we will go on. 

Leave a beautiful legacy

If you’re beginning to think about your end-of-life options, Better Place Forests is here to guide you. Whether you’re interested in alternative burial options or want to know what it means to choose a memorial tree as your final resting place, you can book a free online tour with one of our advisors to learn more. 

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Additional resources

how to write a goodbye speech for a funeral

Guides Arranging a funeral

How to write a eulogy.

Eulogies are short speeches about the life of a person who’s died. This guide explains what’s included in a eulogy, how to write one, and how to prepare before your reading.

how to write a goodbye speech for a funeral

A eulogy usually includes a timeline of the person’s life and details about their personality. Family or friends might ask you to read one at their funeral or cremation if you were close to them. But there are no set rules about who reads it.

You might have mixed feelings about reading a eulogy

A combination of writing, public speaking, and saying goodbye to a loved one can be scary. Emotions about the task can be a mixed bag. You might feel touched to be asked, or nervous to get it right.

The important thing is to work to your own comfort levels. If you don’t feel up to it, or are already feeling overwhelmed with organising the funeral or cremation , you might suggest someone else reads for you. 

Because of the emotions involved, it’s common for a parent, child, or spouse of someone who’s died to defer the eulogy to a trusted friend or another family member.   

Talk to us on the phone

You can get help with arranging a simple funeral by talking to us over the phone. We’ll help you with readings, transport, the coffin, and the service itself.

Eulogies often form a central part of funerals

You’ll read a eulogy at a funeral or cremation service , usually after a priest or registrar has given their reading, and before the cremation or burial occurs. 

If you’re not holding a traditional funeral, you can read a eulogy at a wake, or at any type of ceremony or memorial you choose to have. 

It’s also not uncommon for more than one person to give a eulogy. Sometimes multiple friends or family members will share a short speech, anecdote, or poem.

We write eulogies to remember the lives of loved ones

When we go, we want the people around us to remember us. Eulogies are a way of honouring that. They are a tribute to everything the person achieved and the lives they touched.

Eulogies are not just for the person who’s died, but for the friends, family, and acquaintances attending the service. It can be a big comfort to hear touching stories about the person, and to share memories with others who knew them. 

A eulogy is usually between 3 and 10 minutes long

As with many elements of funerals and grief, there are no rules. You can decide how long you’d like to speak for. 

Some people go through life very independently, and may not have a spouse or children to read their eulogy. If you’re tasked with reading a eulogy for someone you didn’t know well, it’s okay to keep it short, respectful, and complimentary. 

Two or three minutes doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’ve given a speech before, you’ll know how many words you can fit into just a couple of minutes. Even a two-minute speech can contain around 500 spoken words.

For those larger-than-life personalities who’ve led very busy and sociable lives, there will likely be a lot to say. You might choose to speak for ten minutes or longer. You may wish to speak to friends and extended family of the person who’s died for stories, memories, and their own parting words.

If you’re unsure where to start, start with the facts

It’s common to start with an introduction, especially at larger funerals where guests may not know you personally. You might like to state your name and your relationship to the person who’s died.

The main part of a eulogy is usually formed by the timeline of the person’s life

You can include: 

Where and when the person was born

Who their parents or siblings are or were

Where they went to school 

When they left home

When they began their jobs or studies

When they got married or had children.

Focus on what made the person special

Once you’ve covered these things, try to go beyond the facts and figures. Talk about what made the person unique, and the impact they left on the world or on others around them.  

This might include things like:

Charity or community work

The joy they found in parenting

Major goals they achieved, like running a marathon or writing a book

Excelling in their job, craft, or hobby  

Military service 

Musical or artistic talent

Their love of gardening or DIY

If the person you’re writing a eulogy about lived a fairly quiet life, or you cannot think of anything that stands out, that’s okay too. In this case, you can keep the eulogy fairly short, and focus on the person’s personality traits. 

A eulogy usually includes sentimental details

Eulogies are a place where we can speak openly and emotionally. It’s traditional to use emotive, meaningful, and highly complimentary words.

If you’re comfortable including these details, some examples include:

Beloved or much-loved 



The word ‘eulogy’ comes from the Greek ‘eulogia’, meaning praise.

Eulogies have been part of traditions surrounding death for centuries. Their purpose has always been to express love and gratitude for those who have died.

It’s very normal to show emotion during a eulogy

Everyone deals with grief differently, and at different stages. You might be able to get through a eulogy with perfect composure, or you might not even be able to start.

Remember that people will be prepared to see lots of emotion during your reading, both from you and among those listening. Don’t worry if you cry, need to pause, or even need to stop reading.

In certain circumstances, it’s also okay to laugh. Depending on the relationship you had with the person who’s died, and the people attending the service, it’s common to add in some lighthearted comments or respectful jokes. 

This can be comforting and may provide relief to those who are feeling particularly sad or sorrowful. However, you’ll need to use your judgement to decide what’s appropriate and what’s not. 

It can be helpful to have a person on ‘standby’

If you want to read a eulogy but are unsure if you’ll get through it on the day, it’s a great idea to choose a person to fill in for you. They should be familiar with the speech you’ve written, perhaps having practiced it a couple of times. They can then step in on the day if you cannot finish (or even start) the speech yourself.

A eulogy is usually finished with a final goodbye

If you’re unsure how to end your eulogy, finish with a simple goodbye, or a thank you for the memories you shared.

You might choose to use traditional phrases like ‘rest in peace’ or ‘sleep well’. Or you can use something less formal, like a greeting or joke you used to share with the person who has died.

There are a few things you can do to prepare for giving a eulogy

Many people find it helpful to bring tissues and a bottle of water to the stage or podium. Taking a sip of water can be a good way to take a pause if you need to. 

It’s always good to practice a speech, but it’s also okay if you don’t. Eulogies should come from the heart, and no one is expecting a perfect delivery. 

Most people have their speeches written out. You might prefer to bring notes in ‘prompt’ form, as opposed to the whole speech. A few headings that jog your memory will save you from reciting the script robotically.

It’s also great if you can make some eye contact with your audience. They will likely be looking to you with support and encouragement, and many people find strength in this. However, if reading directly from your notes feels easier, that’s fine too.

What to expect on the day

There can be a lot of uncertainty surrounding funerals and cremations. Learning about them beforehand can help us to be better prepared on the day. 

Being conscious of your breathing can help you stay composed

Breathing slowly and deliberately in the minutes leading up to your speech can help to calm your nerves. Remember to breathe during your speech too. This will help you keep a good pace.

The “best” eulogies come from the heart

A short, simple eulogy in which you say the things that matter is just as good as a long list or elaborate speech. People who are having difficulty getting through the service or ceremony may even prefer a shorter speech, so they can move onto grieving privately or in their own way. 

If you’re worried it’s too short, you can always ask for help from friends and family if you’re struggling for things to include. 

Remember that your ability to give a public speech bears no reflection on how meaningful the person who’s died was to you. No one is expecting a big performance. Just a shared acknowledgement of the person who meant something to you.

Article reviewed 17 June 2021

how to write a goodbye speech for a funeral

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  5. farewell speech

  6. Funeral speech for my 19 year old son


  1. 5 Tips for Writing a Beautiful Funeral Speech About Your Loved One

    Discuss all the things that made the deceased special. Talk about awards you know of, their work ethics, and their parenting skills. If you know

  2. Funeral Speech Examples for a Heartfelt Eulogy

    Guidelines for Writing Funeral Speeches: · Speak from the heart and say how you feel about the person · Describe the person's qualities · Talk about their career

  3. Eulogy Examples

    A eulogy is a speech given at a memorial or funeral service. It can be delivered by a family member, close friend, priest, minister or celebrant and it

  4. Eulogy Examples: How to Write a Eulogy for a Loved One

    Giving a eulogy means that you are sharing a remembrance speech with the purpose of paying tribute to a loved one. This speech is given at the funeral or

  5. Eulogy examples

    Death is not the end, For love goes on And you will find the evidence Long after I have gone. The flowers that we planted Will blossom without

  6. What To Say At A Funeral

    You could write one section a day if you're finding it difficult to sit down and write the whole eulogy at once. Before you start writing anything at all, you

  7. How to End a Eulogy with Impact: 20+ Closing Lines

    Laughter can be the best medicine. If you have a funny story to tell about your loved one, now is the time. Funerals and memorials are often

  8. How to Write an Inspiring Farewell Speech: Step-By-Step

    How to Write an Inspiring Farewell Speech: Step-By-Step · Step 1: Determine Your Audience · Step 2: Figure Out What You Want to Say · Step 3: Make

  9. How to write a eulogy for your loved one

    A eulogy is a remembrance speech that family members, close friends, or colleagues give during a funeral or memorial service. Sometimes just one

  10. How to write a eulogy

    If you're unsure how to end your eulogy, finish with a simple goodbye, or a thank you for the memories you shared. You might choose to use