A posthumous tribute is a speech given about someone who has died and usually takes place during the funeral. Many tributes are made by people who knew the deceased, such as a work or school colleague, a neighbor, etc. To write a tribute to your grandfather, you should focus more on your relationship as a grandchild than trying to recount his entire life. Funerals are difficult for everyone who knew the departed, but knowing how to write a strong tribute can help you and everyone else achieve a sense of peace and closure.
Part 1 of 3: Planning the Tribute
Step 1. Be creative and plan
During creation you will need to be able to leave some ideas behind. You can't get everything you want to say into a speech, so don't try to give a detailed biography of your grandfather's entire life. Think of specific memories: times you spent together, occasions that seem perfect to describe your grandfather's personality, and so on. Write everything down, but don't feel obligated to put everything that comes to your mind.
- Ask yourself what qualities best describe your grandfather.
- Ponder what sets your grandfather apart from everyone else you know.
- If your grandfather had certain hobbies or passions in his life, you might want to mention them. But there's no need to make this the focus of your tribute, which should primarily be the role your grandfather played in your life.
Step 2. Ask people about their memories
The focus of your tribute should be on how he was a caring grandfather. But that doesn't mean you can't open up to people who knew you. Asking your parents or aunts and uncles about their relationship with your grandfather can be a good place to start. You might even ask a close friend of your grandfather's what is the best memory they have of him. Perhaps this will help you get a sense of how other people knew you and why your grandfather was important to people outside your family.
As you talk to others about your grandfather, ask how and when they first met (if there are no family ties), what their favorite memories of your grandfather are, and what his best qualities were. The answers can vary greatly from yours if the person is a friend and not a relative, which may make you want to change your tribute to add how other people saw your grandfather
Step 3. Look for illustrious stories
As you dig through the memories, look for the ones that best characterize your grandfather. Did he do or say something that always made you think, “This looks like my grandfather”? It doesn't have to be something amazing or a sublime moment. Often a person's best memories are the little things they said or did, the everyday qualities that contribute to a person's identity and personality.
As you begin to write the memoirs, concentrate on writing a series of little truths. Avoid the big, long statements and focus on the small details that define your grandfather or your relationship to him
Step 4. Be concrete
Don't just write that your grandfather was considerate. Describe a specific memory that will reveal your grandfather's gentle nature. If he had a great sense of humor, don't just say he was funny. Write about his mood, perhaps a time when he has played a prank on someone or told a funny story. Remember that not everyone has the same memories of your grandfather as you do. Your tribute should show everyone at the funeral what your relationship with him was like and what his departure was like for you.
Part 2 of 3: Choosing the Tone
Step 1. Make people laugh without telling jokes
Remember you are not writing a comedy. Tributes often bring a certain humor, which can help those in mourning. Don't do slapstick comedy, but try to bring up a little anecdote or two that will make everyone who knew your grandfather giggle and think, "He was just like that!" Or maybe you want to tell an anecdote that ends in a twist that no one expected, but that captures a characteristic of your grandfather. However you choose to write your tribute remember that laughter helps people improve, and you don't need much to be successful.
"Don't make jokes". Don't forget it's still a funeral, though a humorous moment or two and well-placed anecdotes help lighten the mood and remind everyone of the happy memories they have of their grandfather
Step 2. Direct the text to your grandfather
It's important to consider his personality as you draft your tribute. If he was a very serious man, it might be good to avoid amusing anecdotes. If your grandfather was very religious, feel free to mention the role faith played in your life. There's no absolute rule when writing a tribute other than trying your hardest to find your grandfather's spirit and personality in writing. Focus on what your grandfather would like to hear and what is important and appropriate to remember in your life.
Step 3. Edit the text
It's okay if the first draft of your tribute focuses on your thoughts and feelings, but remember that you're not the focus. It's perfectly acceptable to write something specific about your relationship with your grandfather, but avoid dwelling on how you feel or what you're thinking about. Everyone knows you care about your grandfather and will miss him and what they really want to hear is a beautiful tribute to your grandfather's life.
Have someone read your tribute first and ask if there isn't much of you in the text. Having an outside opinion can help you recognize ways to focus more on your grandfather and your relationship with him than on your subjective feelings
Part 3 of 3: Preparing the Tribute
Step 1. Write a brief introduction
If you come from a large family or if your grandfather had many friends, chances are that not everyone knows you are his grandson. Keep it brief -- a short sentence will do. The introduction should only state your name and your relationship to the deceased.
Step 2. Get organized with the other speakers
If other relatives or friends are going to pay their own respects at the ceremony, talk to them first. Know what each speaker plans to say so that you don't talk about the same qualities or tell the same stories.
Step 3. Check for a time limit
Sometimes, when there are many speakers at a funeral, it may be suggested that each person finish their tribute within a certain period of time. Even if there is no explicit period of time, it is important to remember that your tribute cannot last forever. Be respectful and know when to stop.
Try to finish your tribute in less than five minutes, even if there is no time limit. After five minutes most people find it difficult to continue listening, especially if they are overwhelmed with pain
Step 4. Avoid trying to make sense of things
You won't be of any help in trying to make sense of your grandfather's death. And you won't be able to contextualize a lifetime. So instead of trying to tell someone what to think of your grandfather's life and death, it's better to focus on what made his life so important. No need to mention how difficult it will be to fill the space he left because everyone is probably thinking the same thing. Instead of stating the obvious, focus on making the tribute a loving tribute to the life your grandfather lived.
Step 5. Practice the homage at home
Generally, it's a good idea to practice any speech ahead of time, and this case is no different. You'll probably cry during the honor -- and that's fine. It's natural to cry at a funeral, especially when remembering your grandfather's fondest memories, but don't be so emotional that you lose your honor under uncontrollable tears and sobs. Practicing beforehand will allow you to take the weight off your chest with no one around, which is important as this may be the first time you've talked openly about your grandfather's death. Don't be afraid to expose your emotions and cry as much as you feel necessary before the ceremony.
Step 6. Pay attention to logistics
It is important to know details about the location of the funeral. Knowing where to speak, whether there are obstacles to cross, and whether there is a microphone are important factors to consider when giving a tribute. And don't forget to bring a written copy of your final text for the ceremony. Even if you think you've memorized everything, it's a good idea to bring a copy in case you need it.
- Start writing as soon as asked. You will probably have little time, but the more time you have, the better your honor will be.
- Try not to be nervous if you are asked to do a tribute. No one attending the funeral expects you to be an expert in public speaking. They will appreciate the shared memories regardless of how they come.
- Never turn your tribute into a poem. People will be distracted from the meaning because they will be concentrating on the poem's rhythm and rhyme.
- A funeral is not the time to “settle the score” or settle family quarrels. Be kind and try to make a beautiful tribute.