How to write a eulogy for a brother

About eulogies for brothers

It can be daunting to take on the challenge of writing your brother’s eulogy, especially at this emotional time when you’re coming to terms with his death.

Perhaps someone in your family asked you to write a eulogy for your brother. Or you might have volunteered to write it yourself. Either way, we’ll step you through the whole process of writing a heartfelt eulogy that captures some of the memorable events in his life and your special relationship with your sibling.

Writing your brother’s eulogy can also be an emotional yet wonderful process as you bring together your memories and connect the significant events in his life with the person he became, highlighting his unique character traits.

Many people are more worried about the delivery of the eulogy than they are about writing the eulogy itself. We’ve got some tips below you can follow that will help you deliver the eulogy with confidence.

If you want to start working on the eulogy now, download a copy of our Eulogy Workbook. It includes eulogy examples for brothers.

[Download the workbook with eulogy samples now]

How long should my brother’s eulogy be?

Eulogies are not long. They’re a short funeral speech of about 3 to 5 minutes. This is around 2 to 3 A4 pages.

If several people are speaking about your brother at his funeral, then 3-5 minutes is a good timeframe to aim for. If you’re one of the only people speaking other than the celebrant, then it’s OK to speak for around 10 minutes. This would be around 5 or 6 A4 pages.

Choosing a theme for your brother’s eulogy

Working out which memories to share and which ones to leave out is often the hardest part.

If you choose a theme that represents your brother, then it will be much easier to filter your memories against this theme. The memories that relate to the theme are the ones you keep. The ones that don’t, you save for sharing in a different way.

To decide on an appropriate theme, think about what your brother was best known for or what he meant to you.

For example, he could have been best known for his:

  • favourite hobby
  • special skills, talents and abilities
  • love of the people close to him
  • career activities
  • life adventures
  • unique character traits.

Or you might remember him less for the things he did in life but more for the effect he had on you, such as:

  • the support he gave you in troubled times
  • how he had a knack for making you feel better about yourself when you were down
  • how you knew he was always looking out for you even if you didn’t speak all that often.

Hopefully, you’ll feel a strong pull to a particular theme.

But if not and if you’re having trouble setting a theme, talk to your family and his friends. Ask them to share their memories and see if you can see a common pattern emerge.

Setting a theme isn’t a necessary part of writing your brother’s eulogy, but it’s a great way to filter those important memories and stories about his life that you want to share with the people who cared about him, too.

Collect your brother’s biographical details

A practical activity you can do is write down his biographical details, such as:

  • when and where he was born
  • his parent’s and sibling details
  • nicknames
  • significant relationships and his children if he had any
  • work history
  • education

You can them move on to writing down:

  • how he enjoyed spending his time
  • who the important people were in his life
  • volunteering activities
  • his travel and other adventures
  • career highlights
  • any talents and special skills he had.

Write the eulogy opening

Once you have these details, you can start writing your opening, stating who your brother was, his relationship to you, when and where he was born, and any other significant details that you think are important to include.

You can also thank people for coming to his funeral or watching the live stream. If people have travelled a long way, you can acknowledge them, too.

Go through the details you’ve gathered about his life and weave them into your opening.

Gather your favourite memories

If you’ve set a theme, then gather the memories you’d like share that fit with your overall eulogy theme.

It’s OK to use humour as well in the eulogy. If you have funny memories to share, the people at the funeral will appreciate your humorous stories, so long as they’re shared with warmth and you’re not poking fun at your brother. Humour can help ease the tension and sadness people often feel at a funeral.

Consider the people attending the funeral, as well. There might be people at your brother’s funeral who only knew him at a particular time in his life. For example, an old childhood friend might love hearing about the things your brother got up to later in life. A more recent friend might enjoy hearing about the things he did earlier in his life.

But whichever memories you choose to share, it’s best to focus on the positive aspects of your brother and the good things he was known for. A funeral is not a time to shock people with revelations. A kind, thoughtful and heartfelt eulogy is always appreciated by anyone attending a funeral. Be honest about your brother and your relationship with him but focus on the positives.

A couple of significant memories connected to your theme might be all your eulogy needs. It’s OK to be personal as well. This is your story to tell.

Close the eulogy with your final goodbye

Stick with your overall theme and find a way to connect it to a final goodbye. You can share a quote or a brief poem, as well.

You can speak directly to your brother, to your audience, or both. It’s up to you.

To find some comforting words, think about what your brother would say to everyone there.

Overcome nerves about public speaking

The key to feeling confident about delivering your brother’s eulogy is to practice reading it many times over. Read the eulogy out loud. Time yourself. You don’t have to learn your eulogy by heart, but the more familiar you are with it, the less likely you are to lose your way.

If you ask someone to review it for you, you don’t have to take their feedback on board if you don’t like it. This is your story to share about your brother’s life.

Plan to take a short break and few deep breaths if you think you’ll be overcome with emotion. Don’t rush through it to get it over with. Having a glass of water to sip from is also a helpful way to take a moment’s pause while you gather your thoughts and emotions.

Make eye contact with your audience. They’re not there to judge you.  They’ll be supporting you the whole time and will enjoy what you have to share about your brother’s life.

Print the eulogy:

  • with page numbers on the bottom – this will help if they get mixed up
  • in a large font so it’s easy to read and someone can take over if you’re too overcome by emotion
  • and keep the pages flat so they sit neatly on the lectern.

We wish you well and hope you find the right words to capture how you feel about your brother.

Download our Eulogy Workbook

To help you craft a eulogy that will remember your brother with love, warmth and respect, download a copy of our Eulogy Workbook with a sample eulogy of what you could write.

 

 

 

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