How to Write a Eulogy for a 10-Year-Old

Writing a eulogy is an act of loving someone a lot and letting them go a little

Jenny Harrington
Human Parts
Published in
12 min readMay 26, 2022
Ewan Lill (2009–2018), “Canoe” 2018. Photos: Jenny Harrington

I wish you didn’t need this. You shouldn’t need this. But if you do, I am placing this here for you as a small offering of love. You are not alone. If you are called to write a remembrance for your child, I am with you. You can do this.

A few days after Ewan died, I Googled “how to write a eulogy for an 8-year-old.” Google replied, “About 0 results (0.63 seconds).” I loosened my search to “how to write a eulogy for a child.” The top return, among 7 million, instructed me to do the following:

Step 1: Begin the Writing Process as Soon as You Are Able.

Step 2: Gather Ideas.

Step 3: Research Quotes, Bible Verses, or Poems to Use in the Eulogy.

Step 4: Write, Share, and Rewrite.

Step 5: Practice the Eulogy in Front of a Mirror.

Fuck you. Fuck this, I thought. I don’t want a 5-step formula; I want my child back! This isn’t a research project. This is not a problem with a quick-fix solution, like fixing a leaky faucet, and no way I am going to practice giving a speech about my dead child in front of a mirror. I slammed my laptop shut and pulled the covers back over my head. Clearly, I was not able.

I had been in bed for a week straight. Blinds drawn, lights off, door closed. I didn’t get up to brush my teeth, change clothes, or eat. But I wasn’t sleeping. I was remembering, wishing for things to be different, and listening to the arrhythmic beating of my broken heart. But there were things to do. As a parent, there are always things to do. Unfortunately, I needed to add the following to the list:

  • Find a funeral home
  • Decide on an outfit for deceased child
  • Select a venue
  • Plan a service
  • Write a eulogy

My broken heart said, “Writing a eulogy for my eight-year-old is too hard. I can’t.” But my head swarmed with a beehive of words circling in and out of my ears. Even up in my nostrils. I shooed them away with every exhale. Shapes of words…



Jenny Harrington
Human Parts

Author, researcher, mother living on an island near Seattle. Now, notably, an international bunny smuggler. Find her struggles and snuggles at