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.
Tip: Writing an obituary 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.
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
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.
“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.”
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.