August 11, 2016

Best Eulogy For Dad | Joyce Mathers Celebrant

Writing and delivering the a fitting eulogy for your dad is a deeply personal and extremely difficult thing to do. 

For anyone struggling with this unenviable task, my general advice is always this - keep it personal and make it your own.

Keep it personal

Your eulogy should speak about your dad from your experience. It should be your memories and you should speak from your heart: If it’s meaningful to you, it will resonate with others.

Make it Your Own

There is just no “right” way write a eulogy for your father. So have the courage to do it in any way that feels right for you. Don’t be afraid to ‘break the rules’... because there are no rules!  Just do it your way and make it your own.

If you find yourself faced with the heartbreaking task of eulogising your father and you’re feeling at a loss for what to say, you might find the following suggestions and example eulogies and helpful…

Most of us would have no trouble going on and on about our Dad’s outstanding qualities but time is limited. At best, if you are the only speaker, you will have between 6 - 10 minutes to deliver your eulogy. If there are multiple speakers you may have as little as 2 minutes.

All the best Eulogies I’ve heard have focused on capturing the essence of who someone was. So, try and avoid writing a long list of your Dad’s achievements. Lists of facts may be accurate but they are very cold and impersonal. Instead, focus on memories that speak to his character and help tell his story:

  • What is the first thing you think of when thinking about your father?
  • What is your strongest memory of him?
  • What words come to mind when you try to describe him?
  • How did your dad make you feel?
  • What was your dad’s role in your upbringing?
  • How did your dad show his love for you?
  • What made your dad laugh?
  • What were his best qualities?
  • What will you miss most now that he is gone?

Also, think about the peripheral things you associate with your father:

  • What music reminds you of your dad?
  • What movies or television shows did he love or hate
  • What foods, sounds, and smells remind you of him?

Questions like these will help trigger many valuable memories for your eulogy. If you can, though, try to focus the bulk of your eulogy on just one or two areas. Your points will be more memorable and your eulogy will have more impact if you narrow its focus.

Tell stories in your Eulogy.

Including personal stories from your Dad’s life serves a dual purpose:

  1. Personal stories can help engage your audience
  2. Personal stories are easy to tell which makes your eulogy easier to deliver.

Select stories that speak to your father as a person and exemplify those one or two qualities you wish to focus on. If you have chosen to highlight your father’s cheery disposition for instance, select a story that speaks to your his ability to find levity in any situation, no matter what the circumstances:

No one diagnosed with cancer looks forward to radio therapy - no one except my dad that is!

I remember him saying to me at the time, “I’m really looking forward to the radiation.” When I asked him why, he said with a smile, “I’m hoping it will turn me into a superhero. Who knows, I could be the next Incredible Hulk!”.

Sweat the Small Stuff.

As well as trying to capture the essence of who your father was you should make an effort to include small sensory details: Perhaps your dad was a mechanic and always smelled of motor oil. Maybe his favourite colour was blue and he never left the house without wearing something blue. Perhaps it was the smell of smoke from the pizza oven that he lovingly built in the back yard.

Small sensory details like these not only bring your stories to life, they offer physical reminders of your dad that can really help with the grieving process.

best eulogy for dad | Joyce Mathers Celebrant

Look to Outside Sources.

Emotions can often make it can hard to express things clearly in your own words. If find yourself having trouble expressing a point about your dad, try looking to outside sources. A quote that helps you express the point you’re making can be a great way to start or end your eulogy and, these days, you can find quotes online for just about any subject under the sun.

If your father was a religious man, Bible quotes may help. You can also look to books, movies, or songs your father loved for inspiration. If your father was a huge fan of Jonny Cash, for instance, you might include a favourite line, or a verse, from a Jonny Cash song in your eulogy.

Consider Including Some Light Relief.

Funeral ceremonies are, by nature, somber occasions, so a little laughter can go a long way in adding some welcome light relief.

That’s why you will find that the best eulogies are not all about sadness and loss; they are about celebrating a life well-lived. They share both serious and humorous stories. So, think of something funny to say about about your dad. Talk about his flaws - his little quirks that drove you crazy. Instead of ‘glorifying’ or ‘romanticising’ the man you knew and loved, provide people with a well-rounded version of him. Help them remember him as really was.

Be Prepared

You should practice delivering your eulogy several times in the days leading to the funeral so you’re as ready as you can be. Read it out loud to yourself or ask a friend or family member to listen to you practice. Focus on the sections where you stumble, and practice those parts until you are comfortable.

But understand this- no matter how well prepared you feel you are, the emotion of the day will almost certainly  catch up with you.

So, if you break down and cry… that’s okay.

If you stumble and lose your place… that’s okay, too.

People understand. There’s no need to beat yourself up over it. Just pause. Take a moment. Breathe deeply and gather yourself. Then move on when you’re good and ready.

What if Speaking is Just Too Much to For You Handle?

Speaking in public can be traumatic at the best of times. Speaking at their father’s funeral where emotions are running high leaves some people totally incapable of saying what they would like to say.

If you find yourself in this position don’t let it stop your words of dedication from being heard! Write your eulogy and simply have someone else, a family member, friend, or your Celebrant, deliver it for you.

Write the Eulogy That is Right for You

Writing a fitting eulogy for your dad is an extremely difficult and heartbreaking thing to do. So, however you choose to do it, do what is right for you. Remember, keep it personal and make it your own and you will deliver the best possible eulogy for your dad.

Example Eulogies 

1. Short Eulogy - Daughter to Father (approx. 2 minutes)

1. Longer Eulogy - Son to Father (approx. 6 minutes)

About the author

Joyce is one of Perth's most highly rated and best loved Celebrants. She is widely regarded, by both peers and clients alike, as a caring and compassionate person, and a consummate professional. Her philosophy is simple, "Deliver a magical, meaningful, and memorable experience for my clients and their guests. Always!"

Follow me:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

The pain, loneliness, and sorrow brought on by the death of a loved one can feel so great it can be overwhelming. 

Let Me Help You Ease Your Pain

Thankfully, there are healthy ways to cope with your grief. In my book, "How to Cope With The Loss of a Loved One", you will find many practical ideas to support you through your grief - from caring for yourself to finding ways to honour and remember your loved one.

Download your COMPLIMENTARY copy here