You may already know this from experience: Losing a member of your family is hard, but losing your spouse can be an especially heart-wrenching experience. First, let us express our condolences.
As you begin to make your wife’s final arrangements, you may need to write the eulogy. If so, please know that this is one of the most loving things you can do for your wife. You probably knew your wife better than any other person on Earth, and sharing what made her special would be a lovely thing to do.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Step 1: Give Yourself Plenty of Time
- Step 2: Look at Examples of Eulogies
- Step 3: Interview Others for Ideas
- Step 4: Find a Quiet Space to Write
- Step 5: Write and Rewrite
- Step 6: Look at the Eulogy Again After It Sits for a Day
- Step 7: Read the Eulogy to a Couple of Close Friends or Family Members
- Example Eulogies for a Wife
Learning how to write a eulogy for your wife can be daunting. Let us help you through it. Here are some steps to consider as you begin the process. (For help working through all of the complicated tasks you might be facing after losing a loved one, check out our post-loss checklist.)
Step 1: Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Please make sure you give yourself plenty of time to complete the tribute to your wife. Even if you are a gifted writer, this task may take longer than you might think.
Remember, you are going to be busy for the next several days. Planning a funeral takes time. You may need to choose a location for the services, a casket or urn, and music for the funeral. Besides these critical decisions, you’ll need to complete mundane tasks as well, such as filling out paperwork and choosing what to wear to the funeral. A lot of details go into planning a funeral, and if your wife did not share her desires, the decisions may be difficult and take a lot of time.
It’s common for those who experience trauma to suffer from brain fog. You may have a hard time thinking for the next days, weeks, and months. You may have a hard time focusing on and making even small decisions. It takes time to reflect on your wife’s life.
Step 2: Look at Examples of Eulogies
If you’ve never given a eulogy before, it only makes sense that you would look at examples before you begin. Scroll down to the bottom of this article to see some short eulogy examples.
These examples are only meant to act as an inspiration for you to help you start writing. The best eulogies are those full of details about what made that person special or unique.
Step 3: Interview Others for Ideas
Talk with others who loved your wife. Ask them for words or phrases that would describe her. Ask them to share funny or poignant stories about your wife that you could share in your eulogy.
In fact, you may want to host a gathering of her closest friends and family members so you can share stories and remember your wife.
Step 4: Find a Quiet Space to Write
You may be able to dash off a quick email on your phone amid chaos, but writing your wife’s eulogy will probably take much more concentration. You may need to schedule the time to complete the task and let your friends and family know. In fact, you may need to gently tell your family that you would prefer to be by yourself while you write.
Making sure your mind is calm will probably be more difficult than finding a quiet spot to work. Your mind may be racing because there’s so much to do, and at the same time, you’re mourning the death of the person closest to you.
You may want to take a quiet walk to clear your mind before you start writing.
Step 5: Write and Rewrite
It can be really hard to get started. You may not have a clear plan in mind about what you want to say, and this may paralyze you as you sit in front of your computer keyboard.
It’s easy to have writer’s block, but you just need to begin. The first words that come to your mind may not be the words that end up in the final version of your eulogy, but write them down anyway.
Even if you didn’t have a formal outline to work with when you sat down to write, you’ll probably develop one as you go. Through the magic of cutting and pasting, you can move your ideas around easily. Any rambling, disjointed thoughts will suddenly materialize into a thoughtful, organized, beautiful eulogy.
Another way to write the eulogy is to use as many specific examples as possible. Tell stories about your wife instead of listing off adjectives to describe her. Talk about your first impressions of her and share stories of your betrothal and marriage. Tell your audience what you learned about your wife through the years, and how she made life better for those around her.
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Step 6: Look at the Eulogy Again After It Sits for a Day
Let your eulogy sit overnight and then return to it with fresh eyes. You may realize you’re oversharing when you read it over again.
Funeral etiquette dictates that people share mostly lighthearted or kind stories at a funeral. As you re-read, also look for disjointed thoughts and poor grammar. Make the appropriate edits.
Step 7: Read the Eulogy to a Couple of Close Friends or Family Members
Do you have any experience speaking at a funeral? Even if you have given a eulogy before, you may find that preparing and reading one for your wife will be especially difficult. For this reason, make sure you practice giving the speech in front of a few close friends or family members. This practice session should be completed for two reasons.
First, ask your friends and family to listen to the text of your speech. Don’t be offended if they offer suggestions on how to make it better. In fact, ask them for tips on how to improve it and consider their feedback.
The second reason that you should read the speech to a small group is that it will give you practice with the delivery of the eulogy. Practice pacing, articulation, and eye contact. Remember, the people in the audience will not be expecting perfection. Don’t worry about sounding like a professional presenter, but make sure you speak loudly enough so that everyone in the audience can hear your words.
On that note, have a plan on what will happen if you find yourself too emotional to share your speech. You may want to ask a friend or family member to step in and finish reading it if you find yourself unable to finish. Don’t feel bad if this happens. People will understand.
Example Eulogies for a Wife
Here are some short samples of eulogies for a wife. Use these to help you get started with the writing process.
Example for a wife
“I knew that Bridgette and I were destined to be married by the end of our first date. Not only was she a huge soccer fan and an expert camper, but she also spoke lovingly about her parents and siblings. That sealed the deal. I could tell that family was a priority with her.
She told me about her childhood. She spoke with fondness about the long bike rides that she, her parents, and Mitch would take across the state. She laughed at how she would beg her dad to book a hotel room after a long day of biking, but he always insisted on camping at a state park. Bridgette couldn’t wait to have kids so that we could take them on similar adventures.”
Example for a wife and mother
“This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. In fact, please forgive me if I am unable to read this speech in its entirety. I never imagined that I would have to write and give a eulogy for my wife at the age of 45, and I’m heartbroken about it.
While I am tempted to stand in front of you and shout, “Life’s not fair,” I know that Susan wouldn’t want me to do that. Instead, she would want me to share good, happy memories of her, tell everyone how much she loved and cherished our children, and she would want me to tell you about her faith. Those are my goals for today.”
Example for a wife who suddenly died
“Bethany was a great teacher and she would want people to learn something from her eulogy. Here’s what I think she would have wanted me to teach you today.
First, choose to be happy. Bethany’s life was not perfect. She lost her mom when she was young, and her sister lost her life to breast cancer when she was 30. Regardless of all the grief Bethany suffered, she always chose to be happy.
Second, be quick to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. When Bethany left home for work last Monday, I assumed that she would come back to me at the end of the day. I am so thankful that I kissed her that morning before she left.”
Give It Your Best
We know that writing the eulogy for your wife will be heart wrenching and challenging, but it is an extremely loving thing to do.
Don’t worry about whether you find the perfect words or share the right stories. The grieving members of your audience will be sure to offer you grace and understanding as you give your speech.