How to write a memorial, and other types of farewell speeches

By: Susan Dugdale 

Finding the right words to say goodbye

Does your mind go blank when you want to farewell someone you care about?

If so, you are not alone. Despite knowing endings are inevitable, that we are going to have to say goodbye many times over the course of our lives, we often struggle to find the words we want to express our thoughts and feelings.

Instead we 'um' and 'ah'. Or reach for a handy catch-all clich√© to cover the awkwardness of not knowing what else to say, like telling a dear friend, whose partner has recently died, 'Time heals all wounds'. (Please, don't.) 

Or sometimes we say nothing, even though we want to speak; sidestepping our feelings of inadequacy by avoiding, both the people and, the situations that might provoke them.

Most of us want do better. And we'd like to be shown how.

Guidelines for eulogies, farewell & retirement speeches

If that's you, you're in the right place. That's exactly the purpose of this site. offers guidelines, and examples of speeches, to help you mark a significant ending, a life changing event, with a speech honoring the occasion, and the people at its center.  

Look around. Take your time. You'll find what you need to help you prepare the words to say goodbye the way you want to. You can begin now by clicking on the label of your choice below.

Image: a label with a background of soft blue forget-me-not flowers. Text: words for eulogies, tributes, remembrances, memorials or funeral speeches.
Image: a label with a background of soft blue forget-me-not flowers. Text: words for farewell speeches - saying goodbye to colleagues or an employee
Image: a label with a background of soft blue forget-me-not flowers. Text: words for retirement speeches - saying goodbye to colleagues when leaving the workforce or to a retiring employee

Hello. Goodbye. 

Hellos and goodbyes are inseparable.  Lock stepped: like pepper and salt, king and queen, right and left. A pair. 

Where there are beginnings, there will also be endings. That's an inescapable, universal truth: a fact of living.

And, what we think, feel, or do, about them won't stop them. That's another fact. Those beginnings and endings are going to keep right on happening.

Because, everything is cyclic.  Day follows night, always. Birth is followed by death. Winter follows Autumn, which follows Summer, which follows Spring ...

Round, and round, and round. 

Life's only real certainty is change. Nothing is static. 

Quote: To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 (King James)

The importance of good goodbyes

When the endings in our lives are major we often feel the need to mark them meaningfully. A common way of doing that is with a gathering and a speech.

On the death of someone close to you, someone who has been a major presence in your life, the words you pull together to say goodbye at the funeral, is called a eulogy, a tribute and sometimes, a memorial speech.

When a much respected work colleague leaves to take up another position, a farewell speech from a senior staff member to mark the occasion may be in order. Or perhaps, if you are the person leaving, you want to give a goodbye speech to the people you've worked alongside.

Retirement is another transition often marked by a speech, either from the retiree, or from a representative of the organization the person is leaving.  

Goodbyes like these are important. We remember them, and the words we heard. Hence, because we want to say goodbye as sincerely, and as graciously, as we can.

I hope you find what you need.

Kind regards,