What To Say At A Celebration Of Life Service?

Have you been to a celebration of life service? Sometimes it is even difficult to be in the audience of such events, and then to say something for the deceased person is much difficult. I believe, to sum up, a few words would never be enough to depict the beauty of one’s life. It’s the most challenging task in the celebration of life service. In this article we will make you understand what to say at a celebration of life service?


In context to the event and dedicated to grieving the loss, you should be empathetic, thoughtful, and sensitive. You don’t want to offend or hurt anyone who has already lost someone, right? To say, this is an emotional moment for the loved one of the deceased. And if you are going to talk about that person, make sure the right words and thoughts are put into it. Because not only people are listening to you but it’s someone you lost too, they may be gone but their memory and persona should stay. And this speech or few words you going to deliver is the representation of that. 

That’s why being prepared for what to say is not a bad idea. It’s better to know and be certain of what you are going to say beforehand, isn’t it? To mention a few words about anyone, in general, is tough, you get confused and like ‘I don’t have anything to say right? And now to deliver a couple of words for someone who is long gone is something you don’t want to mess up. It can be overwhelming for some and emotional that one can go blank. So, it is best to prepare yourself for it. 

What To Say At A Celebration Of Life Service?

A celebration of life service is an event to honour the dead. A small gathering of people offers a tribute to their loved ones. A ceremony where the legacy, the memory, and the essence of someone who has passed away is celebrated. It can be a service ceremony, a party, a video call even, just a couple of hours where you remember, grieve and share your emotions with everyone with whom you are together in this journey of loss. The path of grieve is never easy when you are alone thus, in recent times, besides the traditional ceremonies delivered for the dead. People like to arrange a celebration of life service because it offers them a sense of closure when their loved one has departed.

Now, you may think isn’t a celebration of life service and funeral the same? For attendees We will say, it can be the same, but both events have their meanings. They do share the common idea of tribute and celebrating one’s life and the spirit of an individual. However, funerals are focused on religious traditions, rituals, and acts delivered for the deceased which are humanly necessary for the departed or to say the-order-service. On the other hand, a celebration of life service is voluntary where people celebrate one’s life on their behalf by quoting them, sharing memories of them, and embracing the good they did in their lifetime.

Jeff Bezos Career Advice
Jeff Bezos Career Advice

As mentioned above, the celebration of life service is something which came up in recent times and

not many follow this idea of tribunal ceremony all over the world yet, this way

of coping with the loss makes it worth it.

Idea Behind Celebration Of Life Service

To remember someone even if they are not with you anymore is a thing that comforts your heart. As quoted by J.K. Rowling “The ones that love us never really leave us. And you can always find them…in here.”

And the purpose of the celebration of life service is to help the family, friends, and the community to acknowledge the death of one they used to know. And to support each other in difficult times by surrounding themselves with caring and loving friends & family. Also, the events offer to declare and move the social status of the deceased. 

Now, you understand the importance of the event. Then let’s look up at a couple of ways in which

you can deliver a heart-warming message for what you lost.

Ways To Deliver Your Message

Share your emotions

It is time to open up a bit! Don’t hold back the grieve you felt when you heard for the first time this person is not with us anymore. Remember, we all have been there, and that’s why we will understand. Talk about the things you enjoyed with them, the things you have experienced together. The bond you shared and what made it special. Tell other people why you will remember them forever? Every person leaves a mark on us when we meet them. And this celebration of life service is made to appreciate that mark.

Tell a story, a memory that is close to your heart

Remember that high school night where we talked all night? The day when we realized we both have

like astronomy? The evening which turned us into a family? How beautiful these questions felt, right?

The memories are the things humans live for. So, focus on one memory or say a couple is upon you.

Sharing memories make you more comfortable accepting the situation you are in right now. Remember, it will hurt badly at some point but acceptance, sharing, and caring will make it right over time. The memories often represent how the deceased treated others, how they touched the lives of others. Memories

have the power of spreading happiness in distance, in sadness, or in the loss. 

Try to be positive

The celebration of life service is already a sad event, and your words shouldn’t put people into a dark place. Try to have a positive attitude about what you put into your speech. Focus on positive things and what place this individual held in your life and the lives of people attending the ceremony. Tell them how knowing this

particular person changed you, and how their memory will always push you forward.

Try not to steal the light

People often embrace themselves more while talking or centre themselves in the story. Put weight on

the importance of the individual you lost. Avoid making it about you and your life. Point the times when this individual did something for you, an act of selflessness, or was a friend in need. Try to reflect on what he meant to you and how wonderful they were as a person.

Avoid platitudes

‘Everything happens for a reason’, ‘time heals all wound’, ’you are strong’ aren’t we all sick of hearing these? A remark or statement that has been used too often to be thoughtful is called platitude. Please avoid platitudes, while addressing a family in loss, or anyone who experienced loss. 

These statements are the things you can say to a teenager, but empathizing with people with these for someone’s death will never make sense. These are used often randomly that they have lost their meanings. No offense that you feel bad and you want to say something nice, but say something real because all platitudes are a façade.

What To Have In Mind?

Be present for yourself and everyone

Sometimes in grief, people isolate themselves and try to live in the past where they’ve felt the most comfort and happiness. But time and tides wait for none. Thus, to grow in the present you need to be here. Be at the event at the scheduled time, because these events are not for latecomers. Your punctuality here will also reflect the amount of respect you have for the deceased. No one will judge you, but to participate

and having some event expectations doesn’t hurt. 

We gather for our loved ones in their achievements, birthdays, and anniversaries because these days matter to them. Hence, to join a celebration of life service is a gesture of appreciation. 

Acceptance is the key

When you lose someone, it creates a hallow in your heart. You can’t explain how empty you feel. And death is a thing to be discussed publicly, but that is taboo. On the other hand, often talking about our discomforts can make you feel heard. Creating an environment of trust and support offers you peace somehow. One can’t be replaced from one’s life, and thus, accepting one’s death in life is the first step that leads to peace of

mind and strength to mourn the loss.

Be generous and genuine 

When you are ought to present yourself in front of several people, it is a concern what to say or what not to. Am I overdoing it? Should I go beyond? Some of these questions may come to your mind. The answer is simple, authenticity. Remember you aren’t there for other people, you are attending the celebration of life service for the one you loved, and yourself. 

Yes, when you make a speech or write a eulogy you have to be presentable but focus on the fact on how the deceased was in-person whose presence in your life meant something. Glorify the bond you shared in your own words as far as possible. Portray the raw emotions yet a structured speech.

Highlight a special sentiment

Each person touches you in a way you can’t imagine. Even if you don’t notice it for the first time, but every person has a remarkable aspect than the other. Just like fingerprints each individual has a unique trait that you won’t find in anybody else. And to mention that trait in an event as a celebration of life service can make other people happy.

Speak briefly

When you are asked to speak in someone’s celebration of life service it is an honour but doesn’t forget your story should be brief. It is okay if people don’t get the details, here the objective is crucial than the process. People would like to hear what kind of a relationship you had than how you made it. Keep it short, genuine, and simple.

This can’t be done in one go that’s why to write beforehand. If possible, try to read your speech to your family, and take suggestions. Make your speech directive yet expressive.

Make time for others

With the above point, it is your responsibility to note that you give time to others as well. Don’t occupy much time with your speech when others are here to convey their condolences. No matter how close you were to the deceased but respect the emotions of others too. 

Connect and reconnect

When you are in a celebration of life service try to get into events. Talk to people who are also grieving with you, try to participate. Building a sense of connection when you pay tribute to a loved one is a crucial part. No matter if you were a colleague, an ex, or a long-lost friend. Show your gratitude by being there for your family and friends. Because death is not easy for anyone.

Simply, people address starting with ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ but you need to think beyond. Let’s go for examples:

  • “My favorite thing about your mom was…”
  • “I’ll never forget the time when…”
  • “I am so grateful to be a part of this day celebrating the incredible life of him/her.”
  • “Your loved one brought so much joy to everyone. We’re all going to miss them so much.”
  • “My heart is with you.”

Discussing all the crucial elements of speech, let’s see the structure of a speech now. It may or may not help you, but we want to give an outlook on how the speech should go at a celebration of life service.

The Structure Of Speech

This is not an ideal speech structure; we suggest using this structure for reference purposes only. The key points are highlighted to make the way. And all other aspects are discussed above.

  • Do an introduction. Briefly mention who are you and how you knew the deceased. And if you are comfortable enough start with saying; ‘I can’t begin to imagine what you are going through. Or ‘this is a wonderful celebration of a life well-lived; he/she would have loved it.’ You may start with a life quote too if you feel like it, such as; ‘To die completely, a person must not only forget but be forgotten, and he who is not forgotten is not dead.’ These words can’t be said to be efficient but are appropriate to start with.
  • Talk about the loss, the person you loved. Following the ways to deliver your message, talk about the deceased. How he/she was, what they brought to your life, how you guys shared the bond, what you liked the best in them. 
  • Ask. In difficult times, people tend to lose it because they need help and they can’t get it. So, let them know you are here. Ask if you can help in any way possible. Ask if you can do something for them.
  • End with a smile. As difficult as it sounds, but when you are conveying support towards a family who has lost someone, be brave enough to help them. And if you need help ask for it. Talk to people close to you. Move and do something when a death takes a toll on your peace of mind.
  • Thank them.

It is never easy to tackle someone’s death, at any age or in any situation in your life. Death itself is a thought which shivers the spine. And when it comes to reality, people get numb. They can’t judge things, can’t think straight, for days the pain in the chest would last. But remember, it is a phase it will pass.

Sudden or prolonged death both impacts the same. And we can’t say we can be ready for death. Hence, we can be ready for the needful. The days after the death of someone you loved will be etched in your heart, maybe you will feel them forever, and that’s the magical essence you need to add when you speak for them. 


To be brave enough to speak in a celebration of life service is appreciable. Your words can provide strength and can offer support to the people in the loss. In events as such, is not to find a perfect set of words that delivers sympathy and connection to the people and yourself. But it is about reminiscing about the person who is gone, and whose presence will be missed. The part they had, will be theirs. No matter how many

perfect, appropriate and significant words you can find, however, one’s body, soul, and aura can’t be bounded. These words are for us, the ones who are together in this loss.


1. Should I avoid religious sayings in my speech?

It depends upon the people you are delivering to. And how much discrete and comfortable people are considered to hear. Yet, my advice will be not to include religious sayings. Because you never know, what can offend people. And there have been enough tragedies with religious agendas. Also, to mention religious sayings go according to how much of a believer the deceased was. If he lived a less religious life or was an

atheist then mentioning religious sayings won’t make sense.

2. Is it okay to play or recite in a celebration of life service?

Yes, if you want to do something more than usual go on play the favorite song of the deceased, or recite their favorite poem, oh! Better recite their poem if you have it with you. Celebrations of life service are mostly informal though having many people but the event has no rules as such. People even try to be creative about it when they organize it.

3. Do I need to be impressive in my speech?

No. There is no need to be impressive about the speech. Rather than you should be expressive. Your speech for a celebration in life service is your response to the death of a person. It is something people will take away, and seek help and understanding in a sense for emotional support. The speech is for the one who has parted, but also it helps the people in the community to go through this difficult phase together. 

What To Say At A Celebration Of Life Service?

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