There’s nothing more heartbreaking than trying to come up with the words for the eulogy for a child.
We’d like to suggest some steps that you can take as you write your eulogy, and we will also provide you with a few short eulogy examples.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Step 1: Begin the Writing Process as Soon as You Are Able
- Step 2: Gather Ideas
- Step 3: Research Quotes, Bible Verses, or Poems to Use in the Eulogy
- Step 4: Write, Share, and Rewrite
- Step 5: Practice the Eulogy in Front of a Mirror
- Sample Eulogy for a Child’s Funeral
Here are some steps to consider when writing the eulogy after the death of a child. Consider this first: Now, the writing process is different for everyone. You may think you’re ready to sit down and write a beautiful tribute to a child in an hour but most people would actually benefit from a more systematic approach.
Tip: Writing a eulogy is just one of your responsibilities following a death. For help through the entire process, check out our post-loss checklist.
Step 1: Begin the Writing Process as Soon as You Are Able
You may write thousands of words a week in the course of your job or hobby, but writing the eulogy of a child is not a typical assignment. Of course, the task may be especially hard if you were particularly close to the child or the child’s parent.
Because of this job’s emotional difficulty, give yourself plenty of time to write, edit, and practice your speech. It may take much longer than you anticipated and you don’t want to feel unhappy with your result because you were rushed.
Find a quiet space to complete the task. Writing a eulogy is not only emotional, but it also takes concentration.
Step 2: Gather Ideas
The best obituaries are those that include personal accounts of the deceased child. They capture the essence of the person and include details that make the audience nod and maybe even laugh.
If you knew the child well, you might not have any trouble with this step. In fact, you may have so many stories about the child that it would be difficult to include them all in a 15-minute speech.
But if you are a member of the extended family or a family friend, you may want to gather the survivors together to share memories of the child as you listen and take notes.
If it is not possible to gather a large group together, you may want to have private discussions with several people who knew the child well. Besides talking with the parents and siblings, you may even want to speak with a doctor or nurse in charge of the child’s care. You may consider talking with the child’s teacher or even his or her friends.
You may also ask to look at the child’s drawings or stories to see if there is anything appropriate to share with the group.
Gathering stories is time-consuming, but doing so is a necessary part of the process if you want to write a eulogy that appropriately honors a child’s short life.
Step 3: Research Quotes, Bible Verses, or Poems to Use in the Eulogy
If you are given the task to share a few words about an infant or toddler, there may not be many details about his or her life to include. You may look to the words of poets, philosophers, and words found in holy books to describe what it is like to lose one so young.
While you may want to read selections from the child’s favorite stories, you may also want to use online resources to find poetry about the death of a child or appropriate Bible verses to share at a funeral.
You may consider using the words of the child in the speech, especially if he or she was known for a particular saying or phrase.
You may also want to use the text on the funeral program or even on the headstone.
Step 4: Write, Share, and Rewrite
Your English teacher in high school probably told you that there is no such thing as good writing — there is only good rewriting. Unless you are particularly gifted, this is undoubtedly true.
Write your first draft of the eulogy and let it sit for a few hours. Go back and reread it, this time out loud, and check for misused words or grammatical problems.
Have another trusted person (or several people) listen as you read the text to them. Listen to the suggestions of the individuals and make the appropriate changes.
Before the day of the service, look again at the text and ask yourself the following questions:
- Did you share specific stories about the child?
- Are the words heartfelt and emotional? Does it have an appropriate tone?
- Will the eulogy speak to the audience?
- Does your eulogy offer comforting thoughts for those in attendance?
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Step 5: Practice the Eulogy in Front of a Mirror
If you are writing and giving the eulogy, make sure you practice saying the words aloud while standing in front of a mirror. Pay attention to your reading speed and practice speaking into a microphone. Pay attention to your mannerisms, your facial expressions, and your posture.
Although you may be used to speaking in public, giving the eulogy at a funeral can be particularly difficult. You may have to practice to create the right tone and mannerisms.
You may also consider the emotion of the situation. Do you think you will be able to get through the speech without crying? If you don’t think you’ll be able to do so, you may want to see if there’s someone available in the audience to finish the job if you are unable to continue.
Consider what you are going to wear when you read the eulogy. Although most people wear dress clothes in muted colors, which is standard funeral etiquette, the family may have requested that you wear the deceased child’s favorite color.
Sample Eulogy for a Child’s Funeral
Now that we have instructed you on how to write a eulogy, we would like to give you a few fictitious examples. Here are snippets from four different eulogies — some from the beginning and others from the middle or conclusion.
Example eulogy for a childhood friend
Almost all of my childhood memories include times I spent with Sam. From the time we were old enough to walk to each other’s house, we spent every moment together. We explored the woods near our homes together, dug holes, threw rocks, and waded in streams.
Sam was always much more adventurous than me, and he was the one who came up with the idea of building a raft. Of course, that experience concluded with a trip to the emergency room, and both of our dads yelling at us for borrowing their axes.
Sam made life more fun, and I am so sad he is gone.
Example eulogy for a child with cancer
Nothing about today is good or right or makes sense. In fact, everyone here is probably asking themselves why this had to happen. But the awful truth is that cancer doesn’t discriminate. It takes the old and the young.
But we don’t want Brandon’s death to be just another statistic. We want you all to leave here today and be thankful for your child’s messy room, for driving your son to baseball practice for the fourth time this week, and for helping your daughter practice her spelling words. Those everyday tasks are the stuff of life, and we would give anything to experience regular life with our son once again.
Example eulogy for a very young child, toddler, or infant
Before I had kids, I never spent time reflecting on Matthew 18:3, which says, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
But when Maggie came along, I realized how pure the faith of a three-year-old child could be. Even though Maggie never learned how to read, she knew Jesus and believed in the promises of the Bible with her whole heart. You could tell by how earnestly she would sing, “Jesus Loves Me.”
Example eulogy for your own child
Before I tell you about how special Paul was, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being here today. Your show of support has been overwhelming, and I am not sure how we would have gotten through the last week without all the meals you have delivered, help to organize the services, and the outpouring of love you have shown.
This has been the worst week of my life, but you have helped me get through it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
How to Write a Eulogy When Your Heart is Broken
Perhaps you volunteered to write the eulogy for a child because you see it as an act of love. While completing this job is a loving act, you may need to recognize that you aren’t ready to do it. Perhaps you are too angry or frustrated to be able to write an appropriate speech. Maybe you are too numb or in shock to be able to formulate a coherent thought.
If that is the case, don’t feel bad for asking another family member, close friend, or clergy member to write the text for you. Of course, you should be able to give input and have the final say as to what is shared in the speech, but the words don’t have to be written by you.