Writing a eulogy for your mum or dad
The death of a parent during your teen years is devastating whether their death was expected or not.
Writing a eulogy can be an important part of your healing process.
We’re prepared some tips and guidance to help you write a heartfelt and meaningful tribute for your mum or dad.
If you’re keen to start writing your parent’s eulogy straight away, download a free copy of our Eulogy Workbook. It includes samples from eulogies that can inspire ideas for what you could include in your mum or dad’s eulogy.
Eulogies for parents from teens, like all eulogies, are a lot shorter than people might think. They’re about 3 to 5-minutes long, which is about 2 or 3 A4 pages. This is a really good length to aim for if other people are speaking at your parent’s funeral, too.
Because eulogies are short, you don’t need to cover every detail of your parent’s life during the few minutes you’ll be speaking. Someone else is likely to cover their biographical details like when and where they were born, their career highlights and details like that.
For their eulogy, you can focus on the memories that are most important to you—a few stories that highlight the unique and special relationship you had with your mum or dad.
You don’t have to include details of your parent’s earlier life before you were born. You can start from your earliest memories (if they’re important to you). A eulogy that focuses mostly on biographical details is not as moving as a eulogy that shares personal stories and memories with warm, love, and possibly even humour.
Deciding what to include in a teen eulogy for parents
When writing a eulogy, many people find it helpful to choose a theme that weaves their related stories and memories together. Having a central theme helps you decide which stories you’ll keep in the eulogy and which ones you’ll leave out. Deciding which stories to leave out can be one of the hardest parts of writing a eulogy.
Don’t worry if you can’t think of a theme straight away. You don’t even have to have one. But a theme might emerge once you start writing down your memories and choose the ones you want to share with people at your parent’s funeral.
Start writing your parent’s eulogy
Write the opening
A good way to open your eulogy is to thank people for coming to your mum or dad’s funeral, especially if they’ve travelled a long way for it. It’s neutral ground to start with, which can help get any nerves under control. Mention people who have been a big support to you since your parent died. They’ll appreciate it. You can acknowledge the people who are watching it via a live stream.
Next, let people know who you are and your relationship to your parents. Many will know who you are, but there may be some attending or watching the live stream who have not met you before.
Share your favourite memories of your parent
This part of the eulogy will make up most of it.
A good place to start is to write down some dot points of your memories—the things important to you. You can turn these dot points into sentences and paragraphs once you’ve chosen which ones to include.
In those memories, focus on the way your parent made you feel. That’s what will connect you to the people at the funeral and to the memory of your mum or dad.
You might also want to think about how some aspects of your personality, looks, or mannerisms remind you and other people of your parent and how that will stick with you forever. Think about which qualities they have that you’d like to see in yourself, too.
Weave your chosen stories into the eulogy. If you’re having trouble choosing which ones to include, think back to that theme and see if there are a few memories that link together under that theme.
It’s OK to include some funny stories in the eulogy. People love hearing humorous stories at funerals because it breaks the tension and sadness in the air. But if you don’t feel like writing a humorous story, that’s OK, too.
There’s no such thing as a bad eulogy. A eulogy delivered with warmth and kindness is a good eulogy. People will love hearing the stories you share.
Write your farewell
This part of the eulogy can be hard to write and deliver because it can feel like that final farewell to your parent and you might not be ready for that yet.
You can speak directly to your parent or you can speak to the people at his funeral.
You can talk about how much your mum or dad means to you and how much you’ll miss them.
It can help to think about what comforting things your parent would say to you in that moment. That might help you find the right words for the farewell.
You can also include a poem or inspiring quote that means something to you.
Delivering the parent eulogy from teens
Like any speech, the best way to prepare for delivering the eulogy on the day is to practice reading it out loud many times.
You can ask someone to help you write the eulogy, too. But ultimately, it’s your memories of your parent to share on the day.
If you’re worried about becoming too emotional to continue delivering the eulogy. You can plan to:
- take a few deep breaths
- have a sip of water
- have someone in the audience you can look to for encouragement
- nominate someone to take over from you if you’re too upset to continue.
Print the eulogy with page numbers and in a large font size so it’s easy to read.
Try to keep the pages flat and not folded or rolled so they will sit neatly on the lectern, making it easier to read.
We hope these tips help you write a heartfelt eulogy as a teenager that expresses just how much your mum or dad means to you with much love and fondness.
Download our eulogy workbook
To help you write a eulogy, download a copy of our free workbook.
It includes a eulogy samples of what you could write as a tribute to your parent.