How to Write a Eulogy for a Son or Son-in-Law (With Examples)

Updated

If you’re here to learn how to write a eulogy after the loss of a son, let us first say how sorry we are. The heartache and grief you’re dealing with will make the days ahead difficult to navigate, but we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Jump ahead to these sections:

A eulogy is a speech written to pay tribute to someone who passed away. They are read during memorial services, funeral services, and celebration-of-life services. These special speeches can even be posted to memorial websites or social media pages. Writing one, however, can feel like an overwhelming task. 

Take a deep breath, clear some space from your schedule, and work through the following steps one at a time.

Steps for Writing a Eulogy for Your Son

Writing a eulogy can be a time-intensive process, so try to set some time in your day aside for this task. You might want to read over our article specifically about how to write a eulogy to begin with. Then, when you feel like you’ve got a handle on the concept, proceed with the steps below.

1. Designate a writing area and collect supplies

Writing a eulogy will take brainpower, emotional space, and time. It’s important to designate an area in your home where you can spend uninterrupted time quietly planning, preparing, and writing the eulogy. Try to find space with a good work surface that is positioned away from any clutter.

Next, gather supplies like a notebook and pen or pencil if you like to physically write things down. If you prefer using a digital tool, make sure your device is plugged in or has plenty of battery life.

2. Begin brainstorming

One of the earmarks of a eulogy is how personal it is. These speeches usually focus on a person’s contributions to the world, special memories you have, and other interesting things you’d like to share with funeral attendees in honor of your son. So, now is the time to brainstorm what types of things you’d like to share in your speech. Don’t try to put anything in order—just jot things down as you think of them.

There are no specific rules here, so use these suggestions as guidelines for what should go into a eulogy. Consider including things about your son like:

  • Special moments he experienced
  • Specific aspects of his personality
  • Achievements he was proud of (life, career, or personal)
  • Significant memories you have of him
  • Quotes, song lyrics, or religious verses that were special to him
  • Funeral poems for a son
  • Something significant they said that sticks out

If you need a bit more help, try asking yourself questions like these while you brainstorm:

  • What set your son apart?
  • Did he have a special talent or hobby he was passionate about?
  • What would he want his family and friends to know?
  • Did he accomplish something significant he’d love to have shared?
  • Did he participate in volunteering work?
  • What is your favorite memory with your son?
  • What is something you loved the most about him?

Practical examples of what to say include things like:

  • “I’ll always remember how excited he was when he graduated his first dog from obedience school. I knew then that he’d pursue a life-long career in dog training.”
  • “He was known for his dedication on and off the race track. No matter what he did, he did it with all of his heart.”
  • “He was kind and generous to everyone he met. He would give you the shirt off his back if he thought it would help make your life a little easier.”
  • “I loved his wicked grin. From the time he was a boy, I knew he was getting into mischief when that look of merriment crossed his face.”

3. Organize your notes 

Once you’ve got your brainstorming notes written down, you’ll need to organize them into an outline that makes sense to you. You might choose to organize your notes according to a timeline or group themes together. There are plenty of options to choose from when creating the initial outline of your eulogy such as:

  • A memory from childhood, a memory from teen years, a memory from adulthood
  • A quote from your son, a story, lines from a favorite poem
  • A significant accomplishment, a favorite quote, a life lesson
  • A special memory, a personality trait, a favorite poem

If you come up with an outline different from these, that’s perfectly fine. Just make sure it makes sense to you and to those who will be listening. Make sure ideas flow together and connect well.

4. Consider asking for eulogy contributions

If there are friends or family members who would love the opportunity to contribute to the eulogy, now is the time to ask what they’d like to add. Contributions might include a special memory, a favorite quote, or a significant moment spent together from another parent, relative, sibling, or special friend.

5. Start your first draft

After you’ve brought a sense of organization to your notes, it’s time to write your full first draft. Your first draft should essentially be an expanded version of the notes you jotted down along with context and connecting ideas to help it all flow together. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or the way your speech sounds right now. You’ll be able to edit and make changes later on.

Once you’ve written your draft, consider how you want to end the eulogy. Choose one or two options to try out before you make your final choice.

6. Take a break

At this point, you’ve brainstormed, collaborated, and written your first draft. You might be feeling the emotional overload of this project, along with the emotions of losing your son. If you need to, take a break at this point. Turn your computer off, take a walk, sip a cup of tea, or listen to soothing music. Make sure to take care of yourself throughout this process.

7. Write your final draft

When you’re ready to write your final draft, you’ll want to read over your first draft with a critical eye. This can be hard to do, but ask yourself questions like these:

  • Do my ideas flow together?
  • Did I provide enough context?
  • Does the speech make sense?
  • Is there anything I should add or remove?
  • Does this speech honor my son?
  • Would my son be happy with what I have to say about him?

Rewrite the speech with mistakes fixed and edits made. Read it over one more time, then write out the speech on numbered notecards. Using notecards helps with pacing and makes it easier to keep track of your place. Numbering them helps you get them back into order quickly if you happen to drop them or mix them up.

8. Practice delivering the speech

It’s time to practice delivering the eulogy. If you’ve never given a speech before, you should know this will feel different than reading a portion of text to someone. Ask a loved one to listen as you practice so they can offer feedback. If no one is available, record yourself giving the speech, then watch it to see how you did.

Giving a speech everyone can hear is dependent on these things:

  • Proper pacing: Try not to race through your speech, but don’t speak so slowly that you sound awkward. Aim for a pace a bit slower than normal speaking.
  • Speaking clearly: Enunciation is essential to help those in attendance hear you correctly. Try and speak clearly enough so that anyone hard of hearing can still distinguish your words.
  • Connect with your audience: Though you will be reading from notecards, try and look up and around at those in attendance from time to time. This will help you connect with your audience.
  • Time your speech: Eulogies typically range from five to 10 minutes. If you find your speech going longer, you might want to trim it down. If shorter, you might want to add a paragraph or two.

Practice giving the eulogy several times or until you’re comfortable with your delivery.

Eulogy for a Son Examples

Because most eulogies are quite long, we’ll include small sample portions to help provide you with guidance and inspiration for writing a eulogy for your son.

For a son from a mother

Two weeks ago, my world came crashing down when I learned that Jake had paid the ultimate price for our freedom. I’ll never forget the moment of peace I felt just before the knock on my door. It was as if his spirit stopped by on the way to heaven to say, “It’s okay, Mom. It’ll be okay.”

From the moment those two uniformed officers knocked on my door until this very day, I’ve received countless messages from Jake’s military buddies and our military family, and I can’t thank you enough for the support you’ve shown us.

For a son from a father

My son was the pride and joy of my life. From the time he was small, we’d go fishing, work on cars together, hike, and explore the wonderful vastness of our state parks. You can’t imagine how thrilled I was when he expressed a desire to join me in business.

Bobby was just starting out in life. His first year of college underway, he was all excitement and talk about his business degree and how he was going to out-CEO his old man. My heart breaks, knowing I’ll never get to talk with my son again and never get another chance to tell him how proud I was.

For a son-in-law

John was like a son to my wife and me. From the moment he started dating Brittany, he made it a point to get to know our family. We were thrilled to welcome him and support his desire to make the world a better place. Though our time together was short, he fulfilled his goal. He made Brittany’s life better, he made our lives better, and he bettered the world for everyone around him.

For a son who died of addiction

Paul fought a long battle for many years before he lost the strength to fight anymore. Anyone who knew him would say that he was a courageous fighter with a good heart. I know if he were here today, he’d want each of you to know how much he loved you and how hard he fought against the addiction that eventually took his life.

For a son who died after a long illness

Chris’s life is an inspiration to me. Even though his illness left him weak and hurting, his smile and contagious humor never left. He always looked for ways to cheer others up. I’ll never forget his answer when I asked why he focused on helping others. He looked at me and said, “Mom, I don’t know how much longer I’ve got, but as long as I’m here, I want to do something good with my life.”

Honoring Your Son’s Life

Writing and giving a eulogy for your son might be one of the hardest tasks you’ll ever accomplish, but you’ll be glad you did it. This is your opportunity to honor your son’s life, uphold his memory, and share his legacy. Use this moment to share what made your son so special and why you were so glad to have him in your life.

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