When your sister passes away, the sense of loss is profound. You might experience heartbreak, a rollercoaster of ups and downs and extreme sadness. During this grieving period, family members can be at a complete loss for what to do.
If you have been chosen to write the eulogy, it is both an honor and a challenge. You want to capture your sister's life in a way that will do her justice, while also honoring the feelings of those who are grieving. Start by remembering your sister with fondness, share stories and anecdotes that illustrate her personality and character traits. Above all, be authentic and natural.
Below we have outlined our top tips on how to write a eulogy so you can let loved ones know that she was adored, greatly cherished and dearly missed.
1: Collate all memories and heartfelt stories of your sister
Consider what parts of your late sister’s life you want to add to your speech. You might also want to think about a topic to help you decide what to say and which memories to convey.
People consider what their loved one was most known for when deciding on a theme - a defining feature that distinguished them as a person.
If you can't think of a theme right away, talk to your family and some of her friends. Pay attention to their stories and memories. Seeing your sister through their eyes may assist you in creating a theme for your eulogy.
You could begin your eulogy by introducing yourself and your relationship with your sister. A few points to consider:
You can express gratitude to those who came, especially those who traveled a considerable distance.
Mention some of her life's most important biographical details. This could contain information such as where and when she was born, as well as what was going on in the world at the time, where she grew up, who her parents were and where they lived, and her connection with her other siblings.
Key relationships – partners and children – are highlighted in her education and work.
You could include some of her favorite things from childhood – friends, favorite music, favorite films or anything that you think helped shape her early life.
Some other details you may want to include are:
Things she loved doing
The important people around her – you can look beyond family and at friends, neighbors and colleagues
Hobbies or sporting activities she greatly enjoyed
Travel highlights and other life adventures
Career highlights and milestones
Special skills and talents
2. Select the stories and memories that represents her character
Once you have thought about all of the memories of your sister, select 2-3 which stand out. In particular, which memories and stories represents her character best. Include these memories and stories into the body of the eulogy to emphasize the theme and points you are trying to make. People will relate with their own stories that represent her character.
We recall our most vivid memories of those close to us because of how we felt at the time. Joyful and humorous memories often stand out and may help people relax during a funeral as well.
3. Write your final farewell
Writing the final farewell to your sister can be the most difficult aspects of the eulogy for you.Be assured that there is no correct or incorrect way to write it, you have the option of speaking with your sister directly or with those who will be in attendance at the funeral.
You can convey how much your sister meant to you, how much you'll miss her and what items will always remind you of her in your final farewell.
If you're having trouble writing this section, consider what your sister would say, what words of comfort would she offer you and the others present.
4. Practice delivering your sister’s eulogy
Practice reading the eulogy out loud numerous times in a mirror or to a loved one. This will help you feel more confident and comfortable that it flows well.
Keep track of how long it takes. If you believe the material is too long you may need to focus on the main points and reduce some of the word count.
You can have family or friends check through your eulogy, but it's ultimately your narrative and recollections of your sister and her life that matters most. If you're worried about getting too upset to finish the eulogy, prepare some tactics ahead of time such as:
Pauses and deep breaths
A sip of water
An audience member to look to for encouragement and strength
A stand-in reader to take over from you.
Add page numbers to the eulogy when printing it out in case the pages get mixed up.
You can easily share a digital copy with people after the funeral via email or social media if that is an option..
5: Think About Your Audience
Consider your audience and who you are speaking to. If the funeral guests are more traditional, an anecdote about a crazy night with your sister might not sit well. In saying that, it's important to be genuine about the dearly departed and express their true personality.
6: Focus on You
Overgeneralization is one of the most common mistakes of a traditional eulogy. Making broad declarations about how important your sister was to "everyone" may not have a big enough impact.
Who was your sister based on the time you spent with her and what did she mean to you?
A eulogy is a tribute to your sister's connection with you. It isn't anything more or less. Don't try to speak for the audience’s perspective, speak from yours and from the heart.