Writing a eulogy for someone younger than you is heartbreaking, especially if the person is a member of your own family. If you’ve been asked to write a eulogy for your niece, it may be one of the most challenging things you’ve ever written.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Step 1: Spend Time in Reflection
- Step 2: Talk with Your Niece’s Other Family Members and Friends
- Step 3: Organize Your Thoughts
- Step 4: Start Writing Your Rough Draft as Early as Possible
- Step 5: Edit, Rewrite, and Time Your Eulogy to Make Sure it is an Appropriate Length
- Step 6: Practice Reading the Eulogy
- Sample Eulogies for a Niece
Even though what you are about to do may be extraordinarily difficult, know that writing a eulogy for someone is a loving act. If you were asked to complete the task, a member of your family was confident in your ability to do the job right.
Here are some steps for writing a eulogy for your niece. Incorporate these tips into your own writing process.
Step 1: Spend Time in Reflection
When completing some tasks, jumping right in is the best strategy. When writing a eulogy, you may want to begin the process away from the computer or notepad.
Spend time thinking about the memories you had with the deceased. What stories do you have that would be appropriate to share? What were her likes and dislikes? What made her special and unique?
If you have faith in God, spend time in prayer before writing the eulogy.
You may find that having a peaceful, focused mind will make the writing process go smoothly.
Step 2: Talk with Your Niece’s Other Family Members and Friends
You may have known your niece particularly well, but if you are writing her eulogy, you may also want to receive insight from other family members and friends. Gather a group of those closest to her and ask them to share stories. Ask your niece’s friends to describe her in three words. Sit back and listen while others share memories.
At this point in the writing process, you may view yourself as a reporter. You are filtering through a lot of stories and facts to describe your niece. But unlike a reporter, you will only use stories that will put your niece in the best light.
Step 3: Organize Your Thoughts
Once you have gathered plenty of information about what made your niece special, spend time organizing your thoughts. How will you present this information to your audience?
You may consider listing three or four of your niece’s best characteristics. Under each of those attributes, you may include a story or example to show why the word so aptly describes your loved one.
You may give a chronological account of your niece’s life, sharing unique details as you reflect on her life.
Maybe your niece died young, and there aren’t many stories to share. If that is the case, you may want to look for funeral poems, Bible verses, quotes, or song lyrics to share with those in attendance.
You may want to offer words of comfort to those in your audience. Maybe this would be an appropriate time to share your faith in the afterlife with others so they can find solace knowing that your niece is in heaven.
Whether you write a formal outline or merely a list of items you want to cover in your eulogy is up to you. Your high school English teacher knew what she was talking about when she told you to organize your thoughts before you begin writing. After all, you don’t start on a journey until you ask Google the steps for getting there.
Step 4: Start Writing Your Rough Draft as Early as Possible
Most people perform best when not under the stress of a deadline. If this describes you, get started on the writing process as soon as possible.
Even if you write regularly, you probably don’t write a eulogy for a loved one very often. Of course, this process will be much more emotionally draining than any other type of writing you will do. It will probably be challenging to predict how long it will take.
Treat your first eulogy like a draft. It is a first attempt at putting thoughts into words and it will not be perfect. Once your ideas are on the screen or paper, you will have many opportunities to organize your thoughts and fine-tune your wording.
If you find yourself staring at a blinking cursor on a computer screen, consider looking at our short eulogy examples. You want your eulogy to be original so looking at other examples may help you find the right words.
Step 5: Edit, Rewrite, and Time Your Eulogy to Make Sure it is an Appropriate Length
Once you have completed your first draft, share the piece with others who knew your niece. Ask them to read it for accuracy and to check it for obvious grammar mistakes.
Keep in mind that if you ask for feedback, you can’t be hurt if others find your eulogy lacking. Everyone in your family is probably going through a difficult time and they want the tribute to describe your niece correctly. Evaluate their criticism to see if it has merit. Try to be open-minded when doing so.
Step 6: Practice Reading the Eulogy
If you are the one who will be presenting the eulogy to the audience, make sure you practice giving the speech beforehand. Even if you present to others often as a part of your job, giving a eulogy takes even more skill.
You may have trained yourself to be upbeat when presenting for work, but this is not the appropriate tone to take when reading about the death of a beloved family member. While you should feel free to smile when telling an amusing story, it may seem odd if you seem lighthearted the whole way through.
On the other hand, you may find yourself becoming engrossed in your words instead of merely reading the text. You may find it challenging to share your message without breaking down in tears. If this happens while giving your speech, allow yourself a moment or two before you try to continue. Before you stand behind the podium, make arrangements with another member of the audience who has agreed to take over if you are unable to finish.
Finally, you may want to give the eulogy in front of a mirror to check for any mannerisms that may distract an audience. Also, plan your outfit so you follow appropriate funeral etiquette. Most of the time, you should wear dark, muted dress clothes for a funeral.
Practicing this much may seem silly to a seasoned presenter but consider how your family will react if you fail to present the appropriate tone.
Sample Eulogies for a Niece
We hope that the steps on how to write a eulogy were helpful, but to further assist you, here are a few samples. These snippets are fictitious samples, written from both an uncle’s perspective as well as an aunt’s. Of course, these examples are meant to inspire you. Include details about your own niece to make the eulogy as special as she was.
Example from an uncle
Today, I have the honor of sharing stories about my beautiful niece, Penelope. Even though I wish I were giving the toast at her wedding instead of where we are today, I want you to know what an extraordinary person this young girl was.
For one thing, Penelope was fearless. I always had to coax my kids into the cold swimming pool, but Penelope would jump in without hesitation. Penelope also was brave when faced with the diagnosis of glioblastoma. She went through three complicated surgeries. When I went to visit her after her last operation, she was in her hospital bed, making a card for another patient down the hall.
Example from an aunt
Jessamine and I were closer than most nieces and aunts. Since the death of my sister 22 years ago, I was honored to become Jessamine’s surrogate parent. One of my proudest moments came three years ago when I walked her down the aisle at her wedding. Many of you were there, and you remember how radiant she looked. That was one of the happiest days of her life.
Another happy day came when she received her first job offer to become a kindergarten teacher at Sunflower Elementary. I had the honor of visiting Jessamine in her classroom several times when I volunteered for special events, and I wish you all could have seen what a fantastic teacher she was. Even though Jessamine was quiet and shy, she blossomed in front of those five- and six-year-olds. She had this incredible knack of getting their attention by whispering. The kids would immediately go silent and lean forward to hear what she had to say.
One of the happiest days for Jessamine was when she found out she was expecting a baby. She and Michael were ecstatic. As sweet little Petunia, sitting there in the front row, grows up, we all need to make it our mission to share stories of her amazing mommy. She needs to know how extraordinary Jessamine was.
Send Your Niece Off Lovingly
As you write the eulogy for your niece, remember to include as many stories about your family member as possible. Avoid generalities. Instead of saying that your niece was “brave,” give examples of how she showed bravery. These stories may be from your firsthand accounts or you can also share the stories from friends and other family members.
Writing a eulogy can be incredibly difficult but it is an incredibly loving act. Take your time to organize your thoughts, share positive stories, and allow other people to read the speech.