The sudden death of a friend can leave you feeling like your world turned upside down. This type of tragedy is often paralyzing. It’s hard to imagine the future without your friend, let alone how you’ll get through the next few days.
One of the hardest parts about planning the funeral of a loved one is writing the eulogy. This is even more challenging when it’s the eulogy for a friend’s sudden death.
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A eulogy is a speech or work of writing that honors someone who just passed. When dealing with the death of a loved one, writing a eulogy brings peace to the passing. Not only is this a chance to reflect on a life well-lived, but it’s also an opportunity to find closure.
Writing a eulogy might be one of the hardest things you have to do when a friend dies suddenly. Yet it’s also an essential part of the grieving process. This guide will help you write a eulogy for a friend after a sudden death.
If you need help with some of the other tasks associated with death, as well as with grief and complicated family dynamics, our post-loss checklist can help.
You can think of a eulogy as a way to say goodbye to a loved one. In the case of a friend who died suddenly, this is a way to say your final thoughts and bring closure to yourself and your loved ones. Usually, funerals and memorial services include the eulogy, but you can also write one privately.
Finding the right words to say might feel intimidating, especially right after the passing of a loved one. Here are some tips for writing a eulogy for a friend who died suddenly.
1. Understand the purpose of eulogies
First, it’s helpful to understand the real purpose of eulogies. Yes, your eulogy is about the deceased, but it’s for the audience. Eulogies are a way to bring peace to loved ones and family members. They evoke the positive qualities and experiences of that person within the audience, usually during a memorial service.
While eulogies can be an emotional process, they don’t have to be mournful. Think about what your audience would like to hear about this person. In the case of sudden death, most people want to hear something uplifting. They want to hear good things about the person. You should be honest, but selective about what you include.
2. Share a memory
A lot of times it’s challenging to know how to sum up a person in a single eulogy. People are well-rounded and complex. They aren’t merely a list of characteristics on a page.
One simple way to present a full picture of your friend is to use the eulogy as an opportunity to share a memory. You might tell a funny story or one where they helped you out of a tricky situation. Often, it’s these real-life experiences that highlight who we are. A humorous, light moment is also a welcome reprieve for mournful guests.
3. Use a prompt
When you’re overcome with grief, it might feel impossible to put pen to paper. In this case, it’s worth using a eulogy prompt to get the words flowing. Here are some to get you started:
- Who will be in the audience?
- How would your friend like to be remembered?
- What made your friend special?
- Who was closest to your friend?
- What are your friend’s most significant accomplishments?
- When was your friend happiest?
While these are only jumping-off points, the prompts above will help you put your eulogy into perspective. This is an opportunity to say something meaningful about your friend. Guide your writing accordingly. If you need more help, read our guide on how to start a eulogy.
4. Include quotes
It’s not always possible to find the right words to say. It’s okay if you need a bit of help. Using quotes add another layer of depth to your work. Over the years, creative minds, including authors, musicians, leaders, and poets, have inspired the world with their words. Research funeral quotes for a eulogy for some inspiration.
Aside from quotes specifically for funerals, you might also choose quotes that meant something to your friend. For example, including quotes from his or her favorite book, movie, or song is a touching way to honor their interests.
5. Find your own support
Last but not least, don’t forget to find your own support. Writing a eulogy is hard. Writing a eulogy for the sudden death of a friend is even harder.
Make sure you have support for yourself during this difficult time. Whether that means enlisting the help of other friends, having someone else read your eulogy, or talking with someone you love, don’t forget to take care of yourself.
While writing a eulogy, it’s expected to confront a number of lingering feelings around your friend’s life and death. You don’t have to face them alone.
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Let’s take a look at some examples of short eulogies written for a friend who died suddenly. You can also find samples and real-life examples through online memorials or even by searching social media. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with writing your friend’s eulogy.
Though I am still reeling from the sudden death of my dear friend, Barb, I am humbled and touched by her time here with us. For those of you who don’t know me, I am Barb’s childhood friend, Susan. We’ve been friends since the first day of middle school. I’ll never forget how she sat across from me at lunch. I was so worried I’d be sitting alone, but she was quick to welcome me into her friend group. As we all know, Barb was a kind and caring friend. She never turned down the chance to meet new people, travel somewhere new, or be there when we needed her. Her positivity was an inspiration for everyone she met. She was a friend to many, and we will all miss her every day. Thank you for everything, Barb.
Thank you to everyone who is here with me today to celebrate Kevin’s life. I’ve only known Kevin for the past 5 years, but I can already see how he’s made such a huge impact on everyone as a teacher at our school. As his coworker and friend, I was lucky enough to see his work with students every day. So many students looked up to him and saw him as a father-figure. He was patient, intelligent, and the funniest guy I knew. Kevin spoke highly of his own role models, his dad, John, and his uncle, Bill. If they’re anything like him — and I know they are — then it’s no wonder he grew into one of the greatest friends I’ve ever had. Kevin taught me the importance of always looking for the best in people, and I’ll always remember that.
Nancy and I have been best friends for as long as I could remember. She was there through school, college, and all of the years after. It didn’t matter how long we’d been apart, we would always pick up right where we left off anytime we were together. Nancy was the kind of friend that had my back no matter what. I remember getting stranded when my car broke down on night after work while in college together. Nancy picked up the phone immediately and was the first one there. That was the kind of compassionate person she was. Even though Nancy’s death was sudden, her impact cannot be contained in her short lifetime. Her memory will live on with me, her family, and her daughter. If she was here with us today, I know she’d be smiling. I am so grateful to have known her.
Find Peace and Say Farewell With Your Eulogy
Eulogies offer us another glimpse of our loved ones. They’re a way to bring their presence into the funeral or memorial service through our words and memories. Writing a eulogy for a friend who died suddenly is a chance to say your final farewell.
Even if you keep the eulogy privately, this is an opportunity to reflect on your time together. Your loved one’s life was worthwhile, and you can honor your friendship through your own words and experience. For more help with the passing of a friend, read our guide for how to offer condolences.