Nothing is more heartbreaking than the death of a child. Writing a eulogy for a young person can be a hard task, especially if one was close to the child. As you review the life of the child you will eulogize, remember why people deliver eulogies: to memorialize the person who has died and celebrate his or her life. (In Greek, eulogia means blessing or praise.) Your task is to sincerely deliver a positive tribute to the life of the child that has passed on. Preparing what to say in advance can make the job of writing and delivering a eulogy a little easier. Here are some tips on how to write a eulogy for a child:
Gather facts about the child to discover a main theme for the eulogy. Recall personal stories. Brainstorm what made the child truly happy. What will you remember most about the young person? Did the child have a special motto or any particular values? Mention special achievements. Get stories from others as well. Avoid negative, embarrassing, and sad stories.
Keep it simple. Once you begin writing your speech, aim for clarity. Big words are not necessary. Neither are great philosophical insights. Just be honest, and speak in a manner that would be understandable to a child.
Be organized: Include the following sections in your eulogy:
— The Introduction. Introduce yourself and let others know how you are connected to the child. Your introduction should set up the main theme of the eulogy in a personal way. Consider capturing your listener’s attention through a personal story, appropriate poem, the child’s favorite song, or part of the child’s favorite story.
— The Body. The middle section of the eulogy should include stories that support your theme. For example, if you’re focusing on the child’s courage, you could share stories demonstrating the child’s bravery. Also mention family ties: speak about how much the parents or guardians and siblings meant to the child.
— The Conclusion. In your conclusion, summarize your main points and restate your main theme. The conclusion will explain how much the child meant to you in a way that is short and simple. In the example of the brave child, for instance, one may conclude by emphasizing the courage the child never lacked, perhaps ending with, “This child faced the world the way a prince would face a dragon.”
Practice reading the eulogy out loud and have a friend edit your speech. As you practice, try to keep the eulogy’s length under 10 minutes.
Make it easy on yourself. Use notes in a large font while delivering the funeral eulogy. These will help you if you are at a loss for words. Give a copy of these notes to a person who is willing to deliver the eulogy should you become too overwhelmed with grief and emotion.
Writing a eulogy for a child is an honor and a great way to help others know who this young person really was and why they were special. Writing and delivering a eulogy is not only a way for you to deal with your own grief, but can also help others deal with theirs.
~ Flora Richards-Gustafson, 2009