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How to Write a Tribute for Grandmother

by Virginia Fidler
a tribute to grandmother feature image

Writing a tribute for grandmother can be a wonderful way to reminisce and celebrate her life. It can be difficult, yes, but it will also allow you, the grandchild, to recall all the fond memories of the relationship you had. Sharing these with family and friends who knew her will keep her memory alive. After all, a grandmother’s magic never really leaves us, even after she is gone.

If you want to write a tribute, but are not sure where to begin, read on and we can reminisce together as we look at ways to honor your grandmother.

The Importance of Grandmothers

Those who are fortunate enough to have a close and loving relationship with their grandmother know that there is much more to this bond. The time family spends at Grandmother’s house is always special. The air is filled with laughter, hugs, security, cookies, and the best cooking in the world. Grandmothers are often responsible for bringing the entire family together. Because grandmothers are such a source of joy for their grandchildren, they are always sorely missed when they pass away.

The fact is, grandmothers hold a unique place in the lives of their grandchildren that cannot be duplicated.

One simple reason is that Grandma has been through it all already. Spilled milk or a temper tantrum won’t phase her. Been there, handled it. Grandmothers offer a calm within the storm that parents aren’t always able to.

Grandmothers can perform magic. From a scraped knee to a broken doll, she knows how to make it better. The more time grandchildren get to spend with their grandmother, the more magic they experience. It’s as if grandmother has an unlimited supply of just the right words, actions, and ways of making anyone feel better.

And grandmother has other talents, as well. Regardless of the dish, no one fixes it like grandma. Ever. No one finds the time to play with the grandchild like grandma. She has an unlimited amount of time for the grandkids.

Unconditional Love

grandparent and grandchild holding hands

A Grandmother’s love is unconditional. Even if grandchildren ruin their best outfit, leave their room a mess, and bring home a report that would give their parents agita, nothing will diminish the love or pride of a grandmother. She will spoil the grandchild to her heart’s content and always tell them how wonderful they are – messy room and clothes be damned.

Grandmothers are wonderful, but they are no mystical fairy godmothers. For a grandchild, the relationship is based on absolute reality. In a child’s world, parents argue, can be impatient, and can lose sight of what is truly important to a child. That is not a grandmother’s reality.

Grandma will always give her grandchildren undivided attention. She knows how to keep a secret. She is rarely argumentative, and the grandchildren are invariably her first priority.

To most grandchildren, grandmothers are angels without wings. One of the most difficult times a grandchild will have to face is when grandma passes on to heaven and finally gets those well-earned wings.

What to Say at Grandmother’s Funeral?

Though it isn’t something we like to dwell on, death is a part of life. Losing a grandmother is a chapter most of us will have to walk through. In the midst of this loss, how does a grandchild handle it? And, what does one say at a beloved grandmother’s funeral? An especially difficult task if grandmother and grandchild were fortunate enough to be close. The biggest thing to remember is to speak about who she was to you.

It’s true, writing a tribute to honor your grandmother will bring up a flood of emotions, however, you can trust that they will not all be sad. You can also find joy in a walk down memory lane.

A Tribute for Grandmother

While funerals are inherently sorrowful, there is joy in celebrating someone’s life, sharing happy memories, and uplifting anecdotes. Speaking in front of others can be difficult enough and bearing our emotions can seem excruciating. Therefore, it is a good idea to give some thought to the content before giving the actual speech or eulogy. Make notes of the important things, memories, and feelings and jot them down. Writing something down can help clarify your thoughts and make expressing them easier and more comfortable.

If you’re feeling too overwhelmed, it is perfectly fine to discuss the situation with family members, who can help you with expressing your feelings more clearly. If you believe you can handle it, you can help other family members process their grief.

Don’t Be Afraid of Humor

a fun grandmother

Did grandmother have any unusual habits? Most people do. Perhaps she bought nice clothes but refused to wear them for fear of ruining them. Or maybe she baked the worst cookies in the world, but no one would tell her. Thus, to everyone’s chagrin, she always distributed a huge batch to one and all. Even in sadness, these humorous memories can make people laugh.

In the hit series, “Friends,” Monica and Ross’ beloved grandmother died. It was sad, but the occasion was also sprinkled with laughter when the grandchildren found boxes overflowing with the Sweet and Low packages their dear grandmother had spent years pilfering from restaurants. It humanized the grandmother and brought good memories to Monica and Ross. It allowed them to laugh even while feeling sad and crushed.

That said, don’t be afraid of discussing the funnier side or more peculiar habits of your grandmother. It will enliven everyone’s spirit. They surely have the same memories and will find their mood lifted.

Also included in the lighter side, should be the things Grandmother taught you – the things she shared about life that were important to you. Those who knew her well will appreciate the information. For those who were less familiar with her, it will help make her more real.

Why Add Special Anecdotes In Your Speech

The best antidotes to share are those that relate to you personally. Sure, tales of how Grandma spent years swiping Sweet and Low packages are cute. But what will reach people emotionally are anecdotes of how Grandma read you special stories or snuck you candy after your parents forbid it.

You could speak to how she guided your growth by gifting you with special books from which you learned so much, or how she was the only one who encouraged your dream of pursuing music. Sharing those personal times will help you and others remember Grandma in the best way possible. It will also ensure those lessons are passed on to others.

Share the Grandmother Few Other Knew About

Grandmother had friends, of course. But few would know her as well as her grandchildren. Maybe she grew up poor and deprived and pulled herself up. Maybe she loved romantic movies. There might have been a book she read over and over. Perhaps she volunteered each week for a charity but never talked about it.

Tell your audience what made her different from everyone else. Highlight her uniqueness. These are the tales that will keep her alive forever – her thoughts, strengths, habits, weaknesses, and personal foibles will be remembered by all who loved her.

When people hear the eulogy, they want to feel like they know her better and understand her more. A grandchild’s memories can bring a grandparent closer to all those around her. These stories can have a powerful effect on those who are mourning her.

Don’t be afraid of speaking about your grandmother. There is nothing worse than feeling that you haven’t said enough.

13 Ideas for Writing a Tribute for Grandmother

in loving memory

Tribute speeches can happen for a number of reasons. Usually, however, it happens at funerals and gatherings to remember and honor someone no longer with us.

As a rule, these tributes follow a certain pattern.

  1. What were the important milestones in her life – the good, bad, and unusual.
  2. What was Grandmother passionate about?
  3. What outstanding gift did she have – cooking, gardening, story-telling? What made Grandmother unique?
  4. What was her general behavior – bossy, benevolent, determined?
  5. What were Grandmother’s likes and dislikes?
  6. What did she do most days?
  7. What were her greatest challenges and victories?
  8. How did she handle bad and difficult times?
  9. What gave her the greatest pleasure?
  10. What did you and your grandmother do together?
  11. How did you feel when you were together?
  12. What is it about Grandmother that you miss the most – your talks, her chocolate chip cookies, or simply her hugs?
  13. Who, besides you, was Grandmother close to?

Consider all the above when writing a tribute for your grandmother. Some of these points you might never have thought about previously. However, they will help to paint a well-rounded and complete picture of her as a person.

It’s the stories and anecdotes that will make her come alive. The audience would love to see her in different roles – grandmother, mother, businesswoman, friend, daughter-in-law. Bring each facet of grandmother to life.

When writing, do the following:

  1. Keep her in the front of your mind. What message do you want to convey to your listeners?
  2. Start by creating an outline. This helps you organize your thoughts and will keep the audience attentive.
  3. Make your points by using specific examples. Saying Grandma was a great cook is one thing; saying you looked forward to Grandma’s Christmas turkey and stuffing every year is something else.
  4. You want to touch the audience’s emotions.
  5. Have a strong finish, preferably one of cheer and celebration. You can quote a favorite poem or saying that the audience will remember.
  6. Practice what you will say (all good speakers practice). Preferably, do this in front of a friend or family member to get their reaction and feedback. Remember to make eye contact. Stand up tall. Let your own emotions and feelings shine through.

Two Poems for Grandmother

Reading a memorial poem at your Grandma’s funeral can be a moving and appropriate tribute. You can read an entire poem, or different people can take a turn reading various verses. Whatever feels right. A poem can be read as a eulogy or be part of a funeral program.

Yes, a funeral poem is about mourning and loss. However, as we have already discussed, there are benefits to adding a bit of humor and hope to a tribute for Grandmother. The following poems are appropriate while still retaining a mischievous twinkle. It is remembering the deceased with joy and highlighting the best times. Grandma would not doubt be smiling.

She Is Gone (He Is Gone) by David Harkins

You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

All Is Well by Henry Scott-Holland

Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,

Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.

Conclusion

The purpose of writing a tribute to a beloved grandmother is to show love and appreciation. It is not meant to be a biography. Don’t just talk about her chronological life. It is a highlight of a lifetime of memories and emotions. Your friends and family knew Grandmother, but perhaps they didn’t know the Grandmother you knew.

Some in the audience may remember Grandmother as a friend, neighbor, or co-worker. You are remembering your precious Grandmother, and that is what makes your tribute unique. Keep the tribute honest. If Grandma was grumpy at times, include that. It was a part of who she was. There is no need to exaggerate, provide her with qualities she didn’t have, or add characteristics that weren’t a part of her. Grandmother was great just the way she was.

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