5 October 2020
For many people, the passing of a grandmother or grandfather is one of the first experiences we have with death. As sad as it is, it's natural to experience the departure of a grandparent, usually when you're still young, due to your grandparents' age. That is why the loss of a grandmother can be quite tough and shocking. Our first introduction to the mechanisms of life and death is a reality check. Many people also have a strong bond with their grandparents, so the pain of their loss can be intense.
Your grandmother was always there for you and probably was your guardian when your parents were out at work, or had businesses to attend to. In many cultures, it is not uncommon for one's grandmother to live with them in the house. Therefore, a strong bond with a grandmother forms during your adolescent years. They become your best friend and trusted companion. A grandmother's love and adoraiton is like no other. They aren't just the people who spoil you with gifts during the holidays or on your birthday (everyone loves receiving a greeting card from grandma, because we know it contains money). Your grandmother is also an extension of your own mother or father. When you mess up, they are there to clean it up, and teach you the lessons that you need for your growth as a person. We accumulate so many memories with our grandmother that it is no wonder that they feature prominently in many of our family photos.
That is why when they pass on to the next phase of their soul's existence, you should be the one to give them a beautiful eulogy. It can be a difficult undertaking, especially with raw emotions still fresh, but they deserve to be honored by one of the people they loved the most, you.
Whether you have lots of time to prepare for the funeral or not, there are some basic steps you can follow that will allow you to give your grandmother a proper eulogy. We've outlined those steps so that you one less thing to stress over during this time of grief and healing.
As with any piece of writing, it is important to write a first draft. It will contain the "raw" version of your thoughts, emotions, and other elements of your narrative. It's the piece of document that you will end up editing many times before finalization. The first draft is also a way to remind you that you shouldn't rush something as important as a eulogy. Don't just write a eulogy quickly and then forget about it until the funeral. You should take your time to perfect it because it's a special speech meant to honor your beloved grandmother. The first draft is your starting point, your first step towards delivering your loving tribute.
If you're going to include biographical information about your grandma, be sure to think like a journalist. This means you should fact-check every piece of information in your eulogy. Even if you believe you know your loved one very well, it doesn't hurt to verify with source materials and other members of your family, or even colleagues who might know about your grandmother's work or career better than you. In a eulogy, there is no room for error. Once it is delivered at the funeral, in front of an audience no less, it cannot be redone. So, make sure that any information in your eulogy is correct and accurate. Your loved one deserves this special attention to detail.
This is a speech for someone you love and hold dearly in your heart, so speak from your heart. We don't mean you should be sappy, per se, but even if you veer off into the dramatic, no one will judge you for it, nor should they. After all, you are grieving and you had just lost someone you adored. In the writing community, there's a term called "spilled ink," which means stream of consciousness writing. It is when you write without inhibitions and you throw logic out of the window. You simply write or speak what's on your mind. That's why it's important to have a first draft; it is where you can spill your ink. Later on, after your catharsis, you can then edit it so that it is coherent for the audience.
Again, you should feel free to express your emotions and thoughts, but also keep in mind that there may be some topics that would be inappropriate for a eulogy, such as vulgar jokes. Even if that was your cool grandmother's style, not everyone in the audience might understand or like that type of your humor between you and your late grandmother. Just keep those to yourself or with close relatives as an inside joke. Also, don't go on long rants about unrelated topics. The eulogy is about your grandmother's wonderful life and character, so keep it on point.
What we mean by "tone of voice" is not limited to the actual tone of your vocalizations, but rather the feel and temperament of what you say as well. For instance, a eulogy is, for obvious reasons, said in a solemn and serious tone. However, you can bring up lighter stories and even appropriate jokes. You're not just mourning their passing but also honoring their life. So, don't think that your eulogy has to be fully serious. We recommend that you place the lighter material at the beginning of your eulogy. This will help break the ice with the audience and help them relax.
Typically, a eulogy is around three to five minutes long as a speech. We advise that you make sure it doesn't take longer than ten minutes. The length of your eulogy will depend on your pacing, or how fast/slow you deliver it. We recommend a slower pace so that you can enunciate and articulate your thoughts more clearly. As a written document, your eulogy should be between 500 and 1,000 words. Keep in mind that others might also be delivering eulogies and other speeches after you, so you want to give others their dedicated time to honor your loved one.
While spelling and punctuation is not a primary concern, since it's a speech rather than an article for the New York Times, it is still important to proofread your eulogy. In particular, you should pay attention to the grammar of your speech, because grammar translates on to your vocal delivery, whereas spelling usually doesn't. It is best to ask someone else to look it over for you, not just for grammar corrections, but also to have an objective eye read your writings.
Practice reading your eulogy out loud so that you can get a feel for the rhythm and pacing. Reading out loud will also help you memorize the eulogy, which will help you speak in a more natural way when you finally deliver it to the audience. First, practice by yourself so that you're comfortable and there's less pressure. Then, once you've established your rhythm and pace, and have found the style of delivery most natural to you, you can begin reading it out loud in front of close family and friends. This will also allow you to practice addressing a group of people, which is different than simply reciting by yourself because you'll have to interact with the audience in subtle ways. This brings us to the next element of delivering a eulogy. Read on.
I know it can be hard to look at some people in the eyes during a funeral or wake, particularly close family members and friends who were just as close to your departed loved one as you were. You can see the pain in their eyes, but it is important to establish eye contact with your audience. Making eye contact projects your presence and allows you to command their attention during this very important tribute to your loved one. Also, making eye contact with different people in the audience will show that you're aware of their own presence. It makes your eulogy more personal and intimate, as if you are saying to the people, "I'm here with you and I am here for you."
Now that you know the basics of writing a eulogy for your grandmother, you can approach it with your own style of writing, and add other elements you feel is appropriate. Remember, each eulogy is as unique as the person you are eulogizing. Use our tips as a foundation, but it is up to you how you want to honor your dearly departed grandmother. Write and deliver her a eulogy that she would be proud of. it is one of the best gifts you could ever give her.