Perhaps you were with your grandma when she passed away, sitting by her bedside, speaking gentle and reassuring words to a woman who played such a significant role in your life. Then again, perhaps you heard about your grandmother's passing over the phone or through a text. Regardless of how your grandmother slipped from this world, the sad truth is that your life won't quite be the same anymore.
Whether you volunteered to give a eulogy for a grandma so dear to your heart, or you were asked to speak about your grandma at her funeral – either through a request in her will or at the request of a living family member – you might now find yourself struggling to begin.
Why Is a Eulogy for a Grandmother So Important?
A eulogy is similar to a short speech a friend or family member might give at a funeral, but it maintains its own place of prominence. The eulogy is tasked with bringing together a room full of people, allowing them to grieve, remember, honor, and memorialize the same individual in their own way.
When you give a eulogy speech for your grandmother, you're sharing her life, values, truths and experiences with a wide variety of people. You'll see people from numerous generations before you, from elderly friends and neighbors to infants in their parents' arms. All in attendance knew your grandma in some way, and at some point in time, and all will miss her presence in their lives.
5 Steps for Writing a Eulogy Speech for a Grandmother
This is a difficult time for you, and it's natural for you to be unsure of how to structure your speech or even what you should say.
Are you wondering how to write a eulogy for a grandmother? We're here to help you out.
Step 1: Take Time to Reflect
The first step is simply to let your mind travel down a stream of consciousness. Here, you're giving yourself permission to take a trip down memory lane, to wander through your life and recall all the ways your grandmother was a part of it.
Curl up in a comfy chair, or slip into bed with a soft blanket. It can be helpful to keep your hands occupied, so wrap your hands around a cup of hot tea or engage in a quiet activity like knitting. The point of these actions is to allow your body to relax so your mind can wander freely in whatever direction it chooses.
Don't be surprised if random images come at you; encourage them, and reflect on them further. Before you know it, your mind will be firing off memories you had long forgotten about. Maybe it will be summers spent at the cottage, with your grandma bringing out her infamous lemon snow pudding. Maybe you'll recall snuggling up to her as she read you stories as a child. Let each memory lead to another. Give in freely, and let yourself think of everything you and your grandma shared together.
Step 2: Jot Down Memories and Feelings
Here is where you record a variety of feelings and anecdotes about your grandma. This is your time to engage in freewriting about the memories you thought of in Step 1. Thinking and writing are two completely different processes, so now you need to turn those thoughts into words.
Remember to freewrite. Don't worry about order, theme or even spelling; just get that pen moving or those fingers typing.
You might have spent each weekend with your grandma, or you might have only seen her once or twice a year, needing a full day of plane travel to get there. Regardless, any time spent with your grandma is time worth writing about. Write down your memories and try to be as specific as you can. This will make writing the actual speech – in Step 4 – less stressful, since you'll already have many details to pull from.
Step 3: Create an Outline for Your Eulogy Speech
You should now have at least a page of random memories before you. It's time to read through your notes, organize them into themes, and develop an outline for the speech.
You'll need to have an introduction, middle, and conclusion in your eulogy, so put those three words on a new page to give yourself a basic framework.
Then take a look at your notes and see if you can tie them to a theme. Your organizing will likely result in one or two main themes, with a few others scattered here and there. Some common themes you might have include the following:
- Baking together
- Arts and crafts
- Reading or sharing stories
- Religious outings
- Community events
Add your themes to the outline, and add bullet points under each one that briefly describes specific anecdotes. You'll use this list along with your freewriting notes to write a eulogy for a grandmother like no other.
Step 4: Take a Deep Breath, and Write
If most of your memories center on baking and crafts, for example, the majority of your eulogy will focus on sharing anecdotes about those activities. Remember that above all this is a time to speak about your grandma. Through your words, you want to help everyone else in the room picture your grandmother doing these activities, and then allow them to share the bond that comes through grieving.
Share the personal connection, and show everyone why your grandma will be missed. They knew her too (although they will have their own memories and experiences), yet they'll definitely appreciate hearing about the role your grandmother played in your life.
You might find it easier to write the middle section first and then work on the introduction and conclusion. Working on the eulogy in this way gives you time to think about how you want to address those sitting before you.
Of course, you might prefer to start at the beginning, feeling that you need to get the opening lines written before you can put your full attention on the heart of the speech. Either way is perfectly acceptable. You'll want to aim for a speech that lasts no more than 10 minutes, although 5 to 7 minutes is an excellent goal.
Here you will address the audience and introduce yourself. For a more traditional service, you could say something like, "Good morning/afternoon/evening, everyone, and thank you for coming today. My name is [First Name] [Last Name]. My grandmother was ..."
If the service is more casual, or if your grandmother would have preferred a service with more levity, you might like to say something like, "It's a beautiful day outside, isn't it? My grandmother loved days like this. She'd throw on her spring jacket and say, 'Okay, Susie-Q, let's get gardening before the leprechauns steal all my petunias.' Everyone knows leprechauns are allergic to petunias, but that's beside the point. I'm Ainsley, although my grandma always called me Susie-Q, and I want to thank you for coming today."
It goes without saying that humor should play a minor role in your eulogy, since you aren't there to get laughs. You're there to bring people together in remembrance of your grandma, yet it's also true that a lighthearted joke can help ease tension. And humor at the beginning might be the best place because you could become too emotional later on.
This is where you'll talk about your grandma in more detail, sharing anecdotes and showing how she helped influence your life.
If you can, try to connect each story with a lesson she taught you or a bit of advice she gave you that came of great value years later.
If your grandmother received special awards or achievements during her lifetime, go ahead and talk about them. Be a proud grandchild. After all, she was surely a proud grandmother when she spoke to friends and neighbors – and let's be honest, complete strangers – about your accomplishments.
Your conclusion will be difficult to write, and likely more difficult to read out loud. In a way, it's like giving a final farewell, an acknowledgement that your grandmother truly has passed from this world.
In these last few lines, feel free to address your grandma directly. Tell her you miss her, and thank her for being a part of your life. You can also end with a song she loved, a favorite quote or Bible passage, a final anecdote or some other token of fond remembrance.
Step 5: Review and Revise Wherever Necessary
Now that you've written the first draft, set it aside for a day or two. Don't try to edit the eulogy right away because you want to look at it with fresh eyes.
Read over your speech and see how well it flows. Does the speech transition well from one anecdote to another? Does it have the appropriate tone?
This is where it will be helpful to read your words out loud, since you'll better detect sections that sound choppy or that cause you to stumble. If you're comfortable with it, practice your speech for a close friend or family member and ask them to give you feedback.
Once you are satisfied with the eulogy, practice reading it in its entirety for as many times as necessary so you're able to deliver a beautiful speech that honors your grandmother in the best way possible.
A Few Examples
If you aren't sure how to start a eulogy for a grandmother, please take a look at the following samples. Here you'll see how to write a eulogy for a grandma you knew well and how to write a eulogy speech for a grandmother you weren't as close to.
Eulogy for a Grandmother
In this first example, the grandson draws from his many memories to honor a grandmother he was especially close to throughout his life.
Grammy never stopped. Right up until the day she died, Grammy just wanted to be Grammy. Good evening, everyone, and thank you for joining me tonight. My name is Brody, and I had the honor of knowing Francis Schneider, my grandmother, for close to 35 years.
Grammy the Book Lover
My earliest memories of Grammy were when she’d arrive at our house with a bag full of books. Grammy loved reading, and she was determined to pass that love of reading along to me. We'd sit for hours, flipping through the picture books she'd picked up from the library that week.
Those picture books later turned into chapter books, with Grammy still patiently sitting by my side. We started taking turns reading sections to one another, and let me tell you, she was good with voices. I tried to keep up with her, but I just couldn't beat the queen of book character voices.
She loved imitating Papa Bear from the Berenstain Bears books, and she was an absolute whiz with characters from Roald Dahl books. At one point, her imitation of the Grand High Witch from The Witches had me terrified for weeks. Of course, I still asked her to read a bit of it the next time she came over. I freaked out all over again, but that was probably part of the thrill. She liked it too. I could tell by the twinkle in her eyes.
Community in Her Heart
Apart from books, Grammy was dedicated to her community. She volunteered at the food bank after she retired from teaching, but her love of community gardening began decades before. She spent many of her weekends at the community garden down on Gladwell Avenue, and that's where she took me while I was growing up.
One memory I have of those gardening days is the day a young mother stopped by with her two kids. They looked skinny, and none of them smiled. I didn't understand why the boy was too tired to play with me.
Grammy took one look at them and welcomed them to the garden. She explained how it worked and she gave them a bag full of fresh fruits and veggies. That was when the young mother started crying. That was also when I realized that Grammy had just done something really special.
Grammy had a deep love of the world around her, and you'd equally find her feeding an injured bird on the stoop, picking up litter from the local park, and conversing with a homeless man and directing him to the food bank.
There was one trait of Grammy's that made her a bit infamous on the neighborhood streets, and that was her lead foot. It earned her a few comments from neighbors who thought she should have more self-control. I loved it, of course. What boy wouldn't love the rush of acceleration? And even here Grammy was quick with the lessons, telling me, "It's one thing to do a little burnout when no one's around, but another thing to risk your life or someone else's."
She was fierce and loving and always ready with good advice.
Rest easy, Grammy, and don't worry about your community garden. Everyone here knows just how much love you put into it. We love you and miss you always.
Eulogy for a Distant Grandmother
In this example of how to write a eulogy for a grandmother, the granddaughter speaks about a grandmother who sometimes kept others at arms' length, but who nevertheless found a way to connect with them.
Hello, everyone. My name is Ivy Sundheim and I want to thank you for joining me in remembrance of my grandmother, Mrs. Adaline Nilsson. Grandma Nilsson was a strong and private person, and she loved living an independent life far from us "youngsters."
In fact, she loved it so much that she rarely ever left town. Five miles was her preferred driving limit, a preference she hinted at each time we saw her. We got together about three to four times a year, and although it wasn't enough for us, it seemed to suit Grandma Nilsson just fine.
Grandma Nilsson was happiest puttering in and around her home, and she took great pride in her rose garden. It was the most beautiful display of red, white and pink roses, and to this day I haven't seen a rose garden that could top hers. It wrapped around her shed and stopped next to an old red oak that was struck by lightning. She loved that tree, and sometimes compared it to herself. I remember the shock on my mom's face when she heard my grandmother say, "We’re both ugly things and yet we keep on tick, tick, ticking."
While she might not have been sociable with those around her, Grandma Nilsson was friendly with the wildlife outside her door. She especially loved the chipmunks – a whole family lived in her garden, and she kept a little container of peanuts handy for whenever they'd stop by. I used to be scared of them when I was young, but Grandma Nilsson mended my ways.
One summer, after I shrieked when a chipmunk ran by my toes, Grandma Nilsson tossed a peanut at me and said, "Ivy, they just want to be friends. Make their day." She showed me how to feed them. I was shaking, but as soon as I felt those soft whiskers and tiny paws, my fears disappeared.
I remember my grandmother smiling at me. Then she stood up and stomped back to her rose garden. I didn't have that many moments with Grandma Nilsson, but that was a special one for both of us.
A New Connection
On one of my visits a few years later, I joined in at the bingo hall. My job was to call out the numbers. I guess I wasn't speaking loudly enough, because I was chastised at by a man I didn’t know. To my complete shock, Grandma Nilsson stood up, stormed over to him, and yelled at him for embarrassing her granddaughter. She grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the hall.
I wondered for years why she did that. I think I get it now. For her whole life, even if she was distant most of the time, Grandma Nilsson was always looking out for the ones she cared for – her garden, the chipmunks, and me.
I still like feeding wildlife – birds and squirrels and especially chipmunks. Grandma Nilsson gave me that. Whenever I give a crumb of bread to a pigeon or a peanut to a chipmunk, I'll be thinking of her. She was gruff and distant most of the time, but when she let down her guard, even the chipmunks knew that she was a friend.
Goodbye, Grandma Nilsson. Thank you for seeing the best in me, and being there for me when you knew I needed you.
Need Some Help Writing Your Grandmother's Eulogy?
If you don't know how to start a eulogy for a grandmother, or if you're too upset to write such an important speech, consider reaching out to the writing team at Compose.ly. Our speechwriters will be able to create the perfect tribute to the grandmother you'll remember forever, especially when the skies turn that deep twilight she loved or a gentle wind whispers through the fields of ripening wheat. She was your grandmother, and she'll never be forgotten.
This post was written by Compose.ly writer Emily Clayton.