Grandfathers are special. They stand ready to teach you how to fish or ride your bike, they help you learn to read, and they share their interests in everything. Grandpas are there to soothe your tears and teach you right from wrong.
You might have seen your grandpa a few times every year, or seen him every day, coming home from school to his buoyant laughter. Whatever your relationship with him was like, if you’ve lost your grandfather, you’re likely experiencing a range of emotions. This is a difficult time for you, and it’s okay to feel sad or angry or lost. (It’s also perfectly okay to cry.)
These emotions can feel overwhelming, and if you’ve taken it upon yourself to write the eulogy for your grandfather on top of everything, you may feel stressed and unsure of what to say or how to begin.
Words That Honor: How to Start a Eulogy for a Grandfather
When you write your eulogy speech, you want to share memories of your grandfather that reveal the kind of man he was. You want to use your words to pay tribute to his life and to memorialize him in a way that shows his beliefs, his quirks and his overall personality.
Here are five steps to help you complete a speech that honors such an important man.
1. Think Back on the Memories
Before you begin writing you need to delve deep into your memories to pull out snippets of time you spent with your grandpa. You’re not trying to write at this point; you only want to brainstorm different topics you could talk about in your speech.
What were some activities you did with your grandfather? What interests did you share? If, for example, you and your grandpa shared an interest in genealogy, you might have spent hours combing through historical documents in search of your ancestors. All those moments gave you time to enjoy his presence, to ask questions or simply to laugh about funny anecdotes or personal quirks.
Whatever connection you shared with your grandfather, whether it was horseback riding, muscle cars, oil painting or something else altogether, know that your grandpa was thrilled to watch you grow up and to be a part of your life.
2. Outline and Find the Right Tone
Now that you’ve allowed yourself to brainstorm and wander through memories, it’s time to get that prewriting knocked off your to-do list. To get started, you need to think about your grandfather and his preferences and personality.
- Was he a serious man? Easy-going? Reserved?
- Did he crack jokes?
- Did he have any favorite catchphrases?
- When he was on his own, what were his favorite things to do?
Answering these questions will help you find the appropriate tone for the eulogy – one that honors your grandfather and lets those grieving with you visualize him in the most accurate way.
You’ll also want to set up your outline. Prewriting gives you a structural framework that can help you focus your thoughts and avoid becoming overwhelmed with such an important but emotional task.
Like other types of speeches, your eulogy will have an introduction followed by the body of the speech. It will finish with a conclusion that ties your thoughts together and offers a loving goodbye to your grandfather. Create those three sections and jot down a few points in each one. You could even create a few subheadings in the body section for discussing memorable anecdotes.
3. Write the First Draft
This step isn’t easy. Writing a eulogy for a grandpa who meant so much to you will bring up many emotions and might make you stop and start numerous times, or even scrap what you’d already written and head back to square one.
Try your best to relax and stick to your outline, working through the speech section by section. If you’re experiencing a lot of difficulties, skip over the introduction for now and just focus on writing the body of the piece.
Here you’ll want to fill in details about your memories, whether it’s sharing the day you drove a golf cart into the family pond and your grandfather pulled you out or whether it’s recalling the yearly tradition of trick-or-treating with your grandfather dressed as a penguin.
Think about any advice your grandpa gave you or the ways in which his actions shaped your upbringing. Those values also reveal the type of man he was and will resonate strongly with those in the audience. Even if friends and family didn’t share specific memories with you and your grandpa, they will understand the message behind the words.
If you didn’t write the introduction, go back to it now. Here you’ll want to introduce yourself and thank people for coming. Your introduction should match the tone you chose in Step 2. If your speech will be serious, have a serious introduction. If you intend to be more casual, or if your grandfather was known for his side-splitting humor, consider a funny anecdote or lighthearted quip. Just remember to keep it respectful and in good taste.
As you write your conclusion, consider addressing your grandfather as a way to say goodbye. You might not have had the chance to say goodbye before, so take a few moments now to say what’s in your heart.
4. Edit Your Grandpa’s Tribute
Writing a good eulogy takes time. Make sure you set it aside for a day before revising it, and then look at it once you feel rested. When you edit the speech, don’t forget to read it out loud so you can check for any awkward phrasing or unnatural pauses. You’ll also have a better idea of how long the speech is and can cut words out if necessary. Most eulogies last for 5 to 7 minutes.
5. Practice Your Speech to Ease Your Nerves
As the day draws near for you to give your eulogy, you might experience a fluttering of nerves. This is perfectly natural and understandable. To help you deliver a strong eulogy, make sure you practice the speech. You should practice in front of a close friend or family member at least a couple times too.
Picture your grandfather and know that he was immensely proud of you. Even if you had a busy life and couldn’t spend as much time with him as you would have liked, you can be assured that your grandfather thought of you on a regular basis, likely even sharing stories with those he met in shops and on the street. Hold him in your heart, and he’ll be with you always.
A Few Examples
Are you a bit unsure of how to start a eulogy for your grandfather? Here are two examples of ways to address a beloved grandpa.
Eulogy for a Grandfather From a Grandson
The first example of a eulogy speech for a grandfather is from a grandson who shared a love of pranks and family fun, and whose respect for his grandpa only grew as the years progressed.
Hello, everyone, and thank you for coming this afternoon. My name is Tony and I’m deeply honored to be giving this speech about my Grandpa Ed, known to most of you as Edward Gautier.
Grandpa Ed was a family man, and there was nothing he liked more than to have us kids visit him at the farm. On many of our visits we’d go see the cows in the barn or feed fresh grass and carrots to the ponies, or maybe scare the chickens in the yard.
Always the Prankster
Grandpa Ed loved taking us around in his buggy to inspect the fences at the back of the property. Anyone who went with him learned to duck at the sight of trees, since he’d aim right for them and laugh his head off when we caught a branch in the face. Grandma was horrified and yelled at him whenever we came back with red lines on our cheeks, but she couldn’t stop him from doing it again the next time.
Let me tell you, after the second whack in the face with a branch, you stop trusting somebody to not repeat his prank. You just duck and laugh when someone else doesn’t react quickly enough.
I can say with absolute certainty that those days were some of the best of my life, although I can’t speak for my sisters who were often the recipients of my own pranks.
Of course, Grandpa Ed was a believer in strong women, and he taught my sisters how to fight back. And boy, did he teach them some good pranks. One of his favorites was leaving Saran wrap on the toilet seat. He taught Rachael and Audrey that one and they pulled it on me one summer morning. I’ll spare you the details, but Grandpa Ed sure was a proud grandfather in that moment.
Like Grandfather Like Grandson
Other than being a jokester, he had a deep love of trains and agricultural equipment, and he took me to many museums and agricultural fairs devoted to all things mechanical. His interests rubbed off on me, and he was so proud when I became an engineer for Union Pacific. And yes, I did notice an increase in his train travel at that point. Coincidence? I think not.
He was also there for us when Dad died, helping us get through our days and making sure we had what we needed. We were in high school by that point, and likely a little selfish, so I don’t know if we thanked him in the way that he deserved.
I want to do so now. Grandpa Ed, your kindness helped us through a really bad time, and your presence in our lives – so strong and steady – showed us that we were going to be okay. You were grieving just as much as we were, and I still marvel at the strength you displayed.
And now, fifteen years later, I find myself grieving for another important man. Not only did Grandpa Ed and I share the same sense of humor, but we shared many interests and life goals. My twin girls are just two years old right now, but when they get a bit older, I will tell them all about their Great-Grandpa Ed and how he could unite a room full of people.
I believe he has done so once again, for in the seats before me I see a group of people united in love for Grandpa Ed. We miss you and think of you often. Goodbye, Grandpa. I hope you’re enjoying your train ride in the sky.
Eulogy for a Grandpa From a Granddaughter
In this second example of how to write a eulogy for a grandfather, the granddaughter speaks of a gentle, kind man who would do anything for his cherished granddaughters.
Good morning. My name is Emma, and I was the youngest granddaughter of Keith Conaghan. We called him Poppy, even though I have no idea how the name came about. Forever he was Poppy, and forever he’ll be Poppy.
There were four of us girls growing up, and while that might have scared off some grandfathers, Poppy loved us for our unique personalities. He took turns reading with us, getting right down on the floor even though he needed help getting up again. He also loved to just sit back and watch us play, frequently telling us it was like watching “the best show on earth.”
Keeping the Peace
Poppy always had our backs, and he could diffuse any situation with just a few words. I remember one time we had gone to visit my grandparents for the holidays and a neighborhood boy came over and threw mud on us.
My grandfather stepped in and said in his quiet way, “Why would you do that?” And that boy just stood there with his mouth open, mud dripping from his hand and onto his shirt. He ran off and didn’t bother us again for quite a while.
A Gentle Man
As most of you know, Poppy loved old Disney movies, and Mickey Mouse was his favorite character. Mickey lined the shelves and the walls, and there were little figurines around each corner. Poppy even had a Mickey Mouse phone, and it was such a treat to pick up Mickey’s hand, which doubled as the receiver.
When my niece Ava walked into their house for the first time, her eyes grew so big and she couldn't believe the display before her. Everywhere she looked she saw Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck and Goofy, and other Disney characters. Ava's smile just melted his heart. He gifted her a dancing Mickey and Minnie figurine, which she held onto tightly for the remainder of the day.
It was just one more example of how kind of a man he was. And I wasn't at all surprised to see him trying to sit down on the floor with her. We compromised with them sitting on the couch and reading a book or two, but it was a nice flashback to all those times he did the same with us.
Those Crazy Kids
We had a lot of fun at the cottage, and sometimes during the summer we stayed there for a week with them. We'd jump in the lake, explore the town and just have a blast. My sister and I also liked to play tricks on them, and I recall one night where we sneaked out of the cottage and ran around to their window, scratching on the walls and growling. The next morning, it was two innocent faces when they mentioned the "raccoons" that made quite the racket. I always wondered if Poppy had actually known. There was something in his smile that morning that made me wonder.
I miss you, Poppy, and we’ll all miss the time we spent together. I wish it could have gone on forever.
Getting Help With Writing
If you're too overwhelmed to write a eulogy for a grandfather so dear to you, consider reaching out to the talented writers at Compose.ly. They have years of experience crafting beautiful eulogies, and would be honored to write a speech for your loved one.
This post was written by Compose.ly writer Emily Clayton.