A eulogy is a speech given in honor of a loved one who has passed away. Eulogies are given at funerals and memorial services and are typically delivered by a family member or close friend of the deceased.
Eulogies are one of the most important aspects of a funeral or memorial service. They provide an opportunity to inform or remind guests of who the deceased was as a person. In a eulogy, the person delivering it talks about the deceased’s interests and talents. They’ll also share things the deceased was passionate about. In addition, they may share funny or moving anecdotes about the deceased.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Short Eulogy Examples for a Friend
- Short Eulogy Examples for a Father or Father-In-Law
- Short Eulogy Examples for a Mother or Mother-In-Law
- Short Eulogy Examples for a Brother or Sister
- Short Eulogy Examples for a Cousin
- Short Eulogy Examples for a Partner or Spouse
- Short Eulogy Examples for an Aunt or Uncle
- Short Eulogy Examples for a Colleague
Have you been tapped to deliver a eulogy for a loved one, but aren’t sure what you should say? The tone for your eulogy will depend on a lot of factors. The eulogy a grandson gives for his grandfather will be different than the eulogy a husband gives for his wife or one a sister gives for her brother. It will also depend on the manner of death.
A eulogy for someone who died in a tragic accident will have a different tenor than a eulogy for someone who died after a lengthy illness. Here are some tips to help you prepare, no matter the circumstances.
Short Eulogy Examples for a Friend
Sometimes it’s difficult settling on a family member to deliver a eulogy. Family members may be too emotional, or there may be some degree of family estrangement. Whatever the reason, sometimes a friend is the best option. The honor usually goes to a lifelong friend who grew up with the deceased and can provide perspective on them throughout their life.
Here are some examples of how a eulogy from a friend might read.
“Amanda and I met on the first day of kindergarten. I was crying, because, as many of you know, I don’t do well with change. Amanda marched right up to me and took my hand. ‘Don’t worry,’ she said. ‘I’ll take care of you.’ That’s the kind of person she was. She was always the kind of person who would step up and take care of someone sad or hurt or afraid.
"That’s why none of us were surprised when she became a firefighter. On the worst day of people’s lives, she was there. She was willing to put herself on the line to protect people and their families. In the end, she died saving people, and she wouldn’t have had any regrets about that, so I can’t either. I’m still sad about it though. I still don’t do well with change. And I wish she was here to hold my hand and get me through.”
“John and I have been friends our whole lives. We were actually friends before we were even born—our mothers met in the waiting room at the doctor’s office when they were pregnant with us. We grew up a few streets apart. We went to school together.
"We played football together. We started a terrible garage band together, much to the dismay of our parents and anyone else in a three-block radius. John was always more like a brother to me than a friend, and when he married my sister that made it official. I don’t know what my life will look like without him in it. I’ve never had to live in a world without him.
"But we have sons who are the same age, and they are cousins and best friends all in one. Getting to watch them grow up together will help keep John alive in all of our hearts.”
"Many of you may know that Sarah and I have owned and operated a bakery together for several years. You might not know that we were baking together long before that. Our parents enrolled us in a summer program that taught kids how to cook and bake, and we bonded over our love for creating offbeat flavors.
"While most kids our age had lemonade stands, we were setting up mini bake sales to buy more ingredients to bake more stuff. Sarah wasn’t just a talented baker, though. She was a great person. When you’re working long hours with someone, it’s easy to get frustrated with each other. But Sarah was endlessly patient and kind with everyone, inside the kitchen and out.”
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Short Eulogy Examples for a Father or Father-In-Law
It can be difficult finding the right words to capture everything special about your father. Some people will source funeral quotes for a eulogy. They can make it easier for you to find an entry point. Others will instead pick a particular anecdote that sums up their father’s character. Here are a few examples.
Tip: Writing a eulogy might be just one of the tasks you're facing for the first time after losing a loved one. For help prioritizing the rest, check out our post-loss checklist.
“The author Frank Clark wrote, ‘A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be.’ My father was the best man I knew. Even so, he expected us, his sons, to be better. He did this by holding us accountable for our actions.
"If we weren’t living up to his expectations, he was sure to let us know. But was never unkind about it. He showed us that real men needed to be compassionate as well as strong. I’ll never be able to express how grateful I am for the way he raised us. But I will continue to always try to exceed his expectations about who I could be.”
“Charles Kettering once said, ‘Every father should remember one day his son will follow his example, not his advice.' I don’t know if my dad knew that quote, but it was certainly the way he lived his life.
"While some of my friends’ dads had an attitude that seemed to be, ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’ my father would have never asked that of me. If there was anything he couldn’t stand it was hypocrisy. I’m so proud of the kind of dad I had. I hope that as he looks down on me from heaven, he’ll continue to be proud of the kind of son I am.”
“My parents split up when I was quite young, and my mother raised me on her own. She did such a phenomenal job, that I never felt like I was missing out on anything. But when I met my husband, I finally realized how much different a father-daughter dynamic could be.
"Charles was more than a father-in-law to me. He truly was the father I never had. He was always there for me to offer advice or a hug. When I married my husband he told me not to feel that I was adjacent to the family—he let me know that he thought of me as one of his children. I hope he knows that I held him in just as high a regard.”
Short Eulogy Examples for a Mother or Mother-In-Law
There is no love like the love that a mother feels for her child. Delivering a eulogy for the mother or mother figure in your life allows you to express your gratitude for that very unique love.
“When I was young, I remember asking my mom why she wasn’t home waiting for me after school like the moms of so many of my friends. She told me that while being a mother was an incredible calling, she felt that her skills and talents that she needed to share with the world.
"My mother was the first female surgeon to practice at her hospital. She prepared for that as one of the only female medical students in her class. People challenged her ability to be both a mother and a surgeon, but she brought the same passion and commitment to both roles. And she did it without tearing down other women who walked different paths. She has inspired me as both her daughter and as a physician.”
“There are so many rites of passage that people think are exclusive to fathers and sons. But as a boy who was raised by a single mother, I learned so many things from her you wouldn’t expect. She taught me to change my oil and change my tires.
"She taught me how to throw a baseball. But she also taught me how to cook and how to be a good listener. She played the role of two parents, and she did it in a way that never let on how many sacrifices she had to make. I am such a well-rounded person because of the way she raised me.”
“When we were growing up, we didn’t have much to our names. But honestly, we never realized what we were missing out on. Susan, our mother, was so creative in the way she spent time with us. She could tell epic tales from the top of her head that always captured our attention.
"She created magical worlds for us to play in. Even when we didn’t have much to eat, she’d give our simple dinners exciting names to make us laugh. She taught us so much about resilience, even when we didn’t understand that’s the lesson we were learning.”
Read our guides on how to write a eulogy for a mother if you need more help, tips, or examples.
Short Eulogy Examples for a Brother or Sister
Siblings have a special and unique bond. While sometimes siblings can drive you crazy, they are also your first best friends. It can be so hard to eulogize siblings, but it is also incredibly rewarding to be able to send off your brother or sister with special, well-chosen words:
“When I used to go to my friends’ houses after school, I could never understand why their older brothers shooed us away when we wanted to play with them. After all, my older brother never treated me like that. Before long, it felt like he wasn’t just my big brother—he was everyone’s big brother.
"All my friends wanted to play at our house because they loved Manuel so much. He didn’t treat us like we were dumb or annoying because we happened to be younger than he was. He was always so generous with his time and attention. The world has lost such a special person.”
“Those of you who didn’t know us growing up might be surprised to hear that Marian and I weren’t always close. Marian was smart and beautiful. She seemed to have everything going for her. It was hard being her younger sister. I struggled academically, and teachers who had taught her would often accuse me of slacking off. In a lot of ways, I resented her because she seemed to have it so easy.
"It wasn’t until she went to college and I really began to miss her that I regretted the gulf between us. We talked more, and I learned she was jealous of how easily I made friends. I also learned she felt sad because it seemed like I didn’t like her. I vowed never to make her feel that way again. I’m proud to say that we were best friends for the last 20 years, and I’ll always be proud to be her sister.”
“People used to ask me growing up what it was like to have an identical twin. I could never find the words. How do you explain what it’s like to have someone share your exact DNA? It’s the closest you can be to another person without being them.
"Conversely, I can’t begin to put into words what it’s like to be standing here without Emma. It would be easier to stand here without lungs or a heart because she is so essential to who I am. But because of our shared DNA, I can take comfort in the fact that as long as I’m alive, she will also exist in some form.”
Short Eulogy Examples for a Cousin
Sometimes it can be challenging for parents or a sibling to eulogize someone in their immediate family. A cousin can be close enough to provide perspective on the deceased and retain some emotional distance.
“I was an only child growing up but in truth, it never felt that way. Rachel was more of a sister to me than a cousin. We were the same age, we wore the same size, and we both had the Andrews’ family combination of red hair and green eyes.
"We looked enough alike that no one questioned us when we said we were twins. In recent years, we lived farther away from each other than we ever had before. But we remained close, and I don’t know what I’ll do without our weekly Sunday night phone calls.”
“Growing up the only girl in a family with five brothers was a real challenge sometimes. Luckily I had Norah. While Norah was my cousin, she played the role of a big sister to me. She passed me down awesome clothes and taught me how to style my hair and put on makeup. She also offered me comfort and advice whenever I had boy troubles.
"This was so helpful because I couldn’t confide in my brothers—all they’d do is threaten to beat guys up if they made me cry. Norah left behind two daughters, and I hope I can pay forward her kindness by being there for them the way she was for me.”
“Calvin and I didn’t live near each other growing up, but every summer our families would meet up for two weeks at the family lake house. Those idyllic summers remain some of my favorite family memories. Calvin and I would be up with the sun every day. We played hide and seek. We leaped off the old tire swing into the water.
"We rode our bikes to the ice cream shop and roasted hot dogs and S’mores in the firepit for dinner. Half the nights we wouldn’t even sleep inside, opting instead to camp out under the expansive night sky. Now, whenever I look up at the stars, I’ll know Calvin is right there looking down on us.”
Short Eulogy Examples for a Partner or Spouse
When you commit to spending your life with someone, you have the intention of being with them until the end of the line. Sadly, sometimes one partner’s journey ends well before their counterpart. Here are some examples of a eulogy you might give in honor of a spouse or partner.
“Many little girls grow up planning their perfect future wedding. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I was not one of them. My family was complex and fractured. Every example I had of a marriage or partnership seemed toxic and terrible. I didn’t understand why people would voluntarily sign up to spend their lives with someone else when it just looked miserable to me. That all changed when I met Jeff.
While I had dated other people before Jeff, I never went into anything thinking it would last long-term. But Jeff was different. He quickly became my best friend as well as my partner. He told me once that he was ready to marry me two weeks after we met. But he knew I was wary about that level of commitment for various reasons. He told me that it was okay if I was never ready to get married. He wasn’t going anywhere, whether we had a piece of paper tying us together or not. And after almost a decade, I was finally ready to take that plunge.
Jeff changed my life in so many ways. He taught me that even if my past scarred me, it didn’t make me unworthy of love. He taught me that love and patience must go hand in hand. Now that he’s gone, I feel half of my heart is missing. But I will never regret loving him and walking this world side by side for the time we shared.”
“Mary Anne and I were only married for six short years, but our relationship spans decades. For so many years, we had to tell people that we were just roommates and best friends. But over time, we were able to share with our close family and friends that we were in love. Even then, we didn’t think that we would ever have the opportunity to get married.
When same-sex marriage was legalized, there wasn’t a question about whether or not we would get married. The only question was when. We ended up having a quick courthouse wedding because we were so afraid that legislators would say, “Just kidding!” But even the most extravagant fairy tale wedding couldn’t have topped our simple ceremony. Because finally, the whole world could see us celebrate our love and commitment to one another.
A marriage license didn’t suddenly make our relationship valid or even stronger. Mary Anne and I were together for almost forty years before our marriage, and during that time, we were forged in fire. But even a decade ago, I wouldn’t have been able to stand up here and call myself her wife. I miss Mary Anne desperately. But I’m so fortunate that I was able to formalize my relationship with her in a way that earlier generations of gay people would never have dreamed possible.”
Short Eulogy Examples for an Aunt or Uncle
Family dynamics can vary quite dramatically across cultures. In some cultures, it’s unusual for people to form a close connection with extended family members. Meanwhile, in other cultures, every older family member is regarded as an aunt or an uncle, no matter how distant the family relationship may be. But no matter where you come from, an aunt or uncle may significantly influence your life. Here are some eulogies that honor that special relationship.
“When people learn that I grew up without a dad, they often feel sorry for me. But the truth is, I never felt like anything was missing from my life. My mom was an amazing woman who worked hard to support us and was always there for me emotionally, too. But she also knew I needed a strong male role model in my life. That’s where Uncle Jerry came in.
My mom’s brother was a perpetual bachelor who never had much interest in starting a family of his own. But when my mom asked him if he could serve in a fatherly role to me, he stepped up without any hesitation. He played catch with me when I was young and attended all my baseball games when I got older. I could hear him bellow from the stands, “That’s my boy!” whenever I got so much as a base hit. He taught me how to shave and how to tie a tie. He taught me how to be a good man, unlike the guy who fathered me and then took off before I was even born.
When people ask me if it was hard growing up without a father, I tell them I don’t know. Because as far as I’m concerned, Uncle Jerry was and always will be the only dad I needed.”
“Both of my parents were only children, so I didn’t have a lot of family around when I was growing up. I would get jealous hearing my friends talk about their aunts and uncles, so one day when I was three or four, I demanded that my mom create an aunt for me. She told this story to her best friend Nancy, who immediately said, ‘Well, that’s it, I’m her aunt now.’ And from then on, she was Aunt Nancy.
Nancy was probably the most remarkable person I had ever met, so I was thrilled about her new role in my life. I was fascinated by her stylish bob haircut and dangly earrings. She lived in New York City, which felt so cultured compared to small-town Florida. When I would visit her, she’d take me to restaurants that served exotic global cuisine. She took me to plays. She let me sneak a glass of champagne at dinner and then took me to a fortune teller. Thanks to her influence, my world instantly expanded and became more colorful and vibrant.
Recently, my best friend had her first child. I’ve already told her that if her kid needs an honorary aunt, count me in. After all, I learned from the best.”
Short Eulogy Examples for a Colleague
A eulogy is typically delivered by a family member or close friend of the deceased. But that’s not always the case. If you work a traditional nine to five job, you’ll spend nearly a quarter of your adult life at work. Over time, people often develop close, almost familial relationships with their coworkers, in addition to the people in their personal lives. Alternatively, someone who devotes themselves to their career may not have many close connections outside of the office. A coworker may be the best person to deliver a eulogy in cases like these.
“Sally Murray was an extraordinary teacher. I could spend the next five minutes discussing her many accolades and professional accomplishments without even scratching the surface. Instead, I’d like to focus on the more personal aspects that made her a great educator.
Sally didn’t talk about her early life too often, but she let some things slip every now and then. She grew up in the system, bouncing between foster families and group homes. When she aged out of the system, she had very few resources, save for her high school English teacher who took her in when she had nowhere else to go. Sally spent her entire life paying that forward.
Sally could have worked in any number of schools, but she chose the ones that had the fewest resources. She connected with even the most hardened kids because she had once been where they were. She was never condescending. She never painted herself as a savior. She just wanted to reach out a hand to people who were struggling and help pull them up.
One of our coworkers once asked her if she was sad she had never had kids. ‘What are you talking about?’ Sally scoffed. ‘I have hundreds of kids.’ That’s just the kind of person she was.”
“When I took over my dad’s business after he passed away, I felt like I was in way over my head. I spent a lot of nights working late, trying to get a handle on how to run the company without driving it into the ground. Every night at 10 pm, Sam, our nighttime security guard, would poke his head into my office to say hello. At first, I didn’t welcome the interruption. But I soon realized that Sam knew the company better than anyone else. He was the silent eyes and ears of the place, and he was happy to share his knowledge with me so I could have a broader understanding of what I was working with.
Soon, my nightly meetings with Sam became the highlight of my day. I started brewing coffee before he’d come by on his rounds and would cajole him into having a cup with me. He regaled me with stories about how the business had evolved over the past twenty years. It turned out he and my dad had shared the same ritual, which made me feel even closer to him.
When you run a business, you’re very fortunate if you can find people who value it as much as you do. Sam may not have owned the business, but he took ownership of it in a way that I probably never could have. It won’t be the same without his constant, steady presence.``
Delivering Your Best Eulogy
There is no hard and fast rule about who should deliver a eulogy. It could be delivered by a family member, a close friend, or even a work colleague or mentor. The only real requirement is that the person delivering the eulogy should have had a strong bond with the deceased. When you speak from your heart, you are sure to honor the person you cared for.
Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, you have more than just the eulogy to think about. Handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.