Eulogies: Include the H.A.M. (Highlights, Attributes, Memories)

Deciding on what to use in a eulogy can be very difficult. After all, it is hard to do justice to a long, full life in just five or so minutes. To help you make the eulogy rich and complete, you might want to make sure you include the H.A.M. or highlights, attributes, and memories.


Every life has ups and downs. However, one of the goals of the eulogy is to be uplifting. Therefore, it is important to concentrate more on the ups rather than the downs. These highlights include major accomplishments and significant events in the departed’s life. Accomplishments include such things as being recognized as “Teacher of the Year” or having built a business from the ground up. Significant events such as marriage and the birth of children are, of course, highlights. Citing the military service of the deceased could also be considered a highlight.


Attributes are the parts of a person that make his or her character and personality. These answer the question, “What kind of person was the deceased?” If the deceased was a good mother, for example, you may include some examples of how she sacrificed for her children. Other attributes include being artistic, generous, colorful, humorous, or anything else that made the person unique in the hearts and minds of others.


This is the most personal aspect of the eulogy. Draw on your own experiences with the one being eulogized. Those are the ones that will come most from the heart. However, do not limit yourself to your own experiences. You should seek out others that were close to the departed and share with the audience those memories as well. Seek out the spouse, children and special friends. They will have unique and touching contributions to your speech.

What and How

Now that you have a handle on the components of this H.A.M. strategy, it is important to know how to use them. You can view the highlights and the attributes as the “what” and the memories as the “how.” The “what” being a highlight, for example, could be “Teacher of the Year”. The “how” would be a memory of what the departed did to help a student. If the “what” was the significant event of a getting married, the “how” could be a memory of how the deceased met his or her spouse. In other words, the memories should be intertwined with the highlights and attributes to paint a complete picture and a fitting eulogy.

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