Have you written or done a speech at a funeral?

Twofingerlou

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Thanks for all the reply’s on my last post regarding losing my grandma. I sat down and helped plan her funeral yesterday with some other members of the family. One of the questions was does anyone have anything they’d like to say or a speech, then at one point they turned to me.

Honestly since Saturday this has crossed my mind even before being asked and I started writing something. Is less more? Is telling any possible short funny stories acceptable? I’ve been to some and have had that happen and I think it kinda helped ease the tension a bit.

Lastly I don’t know if I could get through it, I will see when Friday comes. If I don’t think I can I have a backup.
 

Junkyard Dog

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I did not see the other post, but I am sorry to hear of your loss of your grandmother.

I sort of emceed my grandmother's funeral a few years ago. I started off with some nice memories I had of her, and then invited others to speak, and then filled the gaps between other speakers as needed. Some people told some HILARIOUS stories, and everyone laughed, and it was entirely acceptable, welcomed, and probably needed! Others (including my daughter) shared words that brought everyone to tears. Some people tried to speak, and could barely get past their own tears to do so. Whatever happens will be just fine.

Oh, and some of the older grandchildren, who knew her the most and loved her very much, told me they did not want to get up and speak because they were sure they could not do it. Also was totally fine.
 
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howardlo

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At my mother’s memorial service last fall. She was 98. Her church down in Florida even had the whole memorial service live online for those that couldn’t be there.

I tried to keep it more of a celebration of life rather than a somber occasion. I told some funny anecdotes as did others that chose to speak. She had been to all 50 states (all all the National Parks) as well as to Canada, Mexico, the UK and France.
 

tarheelbob

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You can get through it. Do it. It will be good for your soul, and for those that knew her.

I spoke at my Dad's service a little over a year ago. It was, at the same time, the easiest thing I ever did, and the hardest. The words came to me, and I did nothing except make a few scratch notes. My sister, on the other hand, struggled, wrote, re-wrote, edited, etc. We both spoke from the heart, and it was good. For all of us. Everyone.

Just don't make direct eye contact with loved ones while you're speaking, that's the trigger for losing it. Smile, look around the crowd, tell some stories, especially funny ones, and just be there.

- Bob
 

1955

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Yes, I’ve spoken at some of my family’s memorials and played guitar and sang at quite a few others.

At my Mother’s I didn’t know I was going to speak, but I got up and spoke. It was a large group. I told them that she was always so passionate, that she loved the people that had “it,” she loved it when Pete Townsend did the windmill. To forgive each other, to love one another, because you never know when that person will be gone. She had just turned 60.

I think it is ok share an anecdote or two, just try to look at it from different angles beforehand as to whether it shows that person in a good light to all of their loved ones who will be very grief-stricken.

People live on through us who carry the lessons they have taught us with their love. Remember the kind things they did, the selfless things, how they made the world a better place. Sometimes it is better to just be there with others and not say or do much. Sometimes you feel a very strong unction to speak or to write something to say. Have someone you trust proofread it beforehand if possible.

I am sorry about your grandmother. My brother spoke at my grandmother’s memorial. He did a very good job, and added a story or two that made people laugh.

Trust your heart, but know that in these situations, no one knows exactly what to do because of the shock and grief. Be yourself, and hug everyone you can.
 

Twofingerlou

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I did not see the other post, but I am sorry to hear of your loss of your grandmother.

I sort of emceed my grandmother's funeral a few years ago. I started off with some nice memories I had of her, and then invited others to speak, and then filled the gaps between other speakers as needed. Some people told some HILARIOUS stories, and everyone laughed, and it was entirely acceptable, welcomed, and probably needed! Others (including my daughter) shared words that brought everyone to tears. Some people tried to speak, and could barely get past their own tears to do so. Whatever happens will be just fine.

Oh, and some of the older grandchildren, who knew her the most and loved her very much, told me they did not want to get up and speak because they were sure they could not do it. Also was totally fine.

I’ve been to a decent amount of funerals unfortunately for my age. If people speak they often mention the good times or memories, there’s a been a one liner here or there but not outright hilarious stories. What I’ve written so far I’ve kinda taken the first approach but I might have to switch it up. It may help me make it through it better since it wouldn’t be a depressive walk down memory lane and the laughter might change the pace.
 

dspellman1

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Thanks for all the reply’s on my last post regarding losing my grandma. I sat down and helped plan her funeral yesterday with some other members of the family. One of the questions was does anyone have anything they’d like to say or a speech, then at one point they turned to me.

Honestly since Saturday this has crossed my mind even before being asked and I started writing something. Is less more? Is telling any possible short funny stories acceptable? I’ve been to some and have had that happen and I think it kinda helped ease the tension a bit.

Lastly I don’t know if I could get through it, I will see when Friday comes. If I don’t think I can I have a backup.
Not at the funeral. Better if you save the short funny stories for the dinner after (or a "Celebration of Life") if you have one.
 

Twofingerlou

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I've been asked a couple of times by my family. Give the people a slice of real life. Give them good visuals. I most certainly introduced humor, and the laughs from the mourners were worth a million billion dollars to me.

Another vote for the humor, talking to my mom tonight I got a good hilarious story so I’m gonna have to re vamp my speech.
 

Twofingerlou

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You can get through it. Do it. It will be good for your soul, and for those that knew her.

I spoke at my Dad's service a little over a year ago. It was, at the same time, the easiest thing I ever did, and the hardest. The words came to me, and I did nothing except make a few scratch notes. My sister, on the other hand, struggled, wrote, re-wrote, edited, etc. We both spoke from the heart, and it was good. For all of us. Everyone.

Just don't make direct eye contact with loved ones while you're speaking, that's the trigger for losing it. Smile, look around the crowd, tell some stories, especially funny ones, and just be there.

- Bob

I really want to read it, I’ve just had the mindset that I’m not sure I can get through it which is probably the wrong mentality. I think throwing in the humor might break the tension.
 

Killing Floor

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Sorry for your loss.

I spoke at my grandma’s funeral which was obviously sad but we had a “celebration of life” a few months later I spoke at but that was really light.
I did a longer eulogy for my dad and an aunt and my wife’s grandma asked me to say something, she wrote a list of people to speak before she passed. She was a handful.

All I’ll say is if you plan to / are willing to speak think of something you can get through without coming apart. Practice once or twice.

My dad had “idiosyncrasies” and my brother, sister and I honestly got kicked out of the funeral home while we were making arrangements, we got the giggles talking about how much but would kill him to know what caskets cost. So at the funeral I told a little story about a happy childhood memory and then led into the funny story about the funeral home and how we got on a tear and were surely disrespectful of the other families there. And how that’s life, joy and sadness and triumph and failure and what matters in the end is how you remember, it’s up to you. I said something like “growing up we’d have family reunions and at the end we always ended up, all the cousins, telling stories about my dad and most of them were not flattering. But they were true, not said in meanness but in healing. And I said, in the end he’s still my dad and your cousin or uncle or brother. And I’m going to forget and forgive the things I want to forgive. And I’m going to remember being 4 years old, him sneaking me out of the house early, riding a sled on his back before kindergarten.

Anyway, YMMV but you got this. There is no pressure. Sorry for your loss but absolutely if you have a few words to share that might take the edge off someone’s grief you are doing a good thing.
 

Twofingerlou

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I did that as well, a couple of years ago; my siblings asked me to do it. I felt better tackling it myself than turning it over to someone else. Hard but worthwhile.

Yea I just don’t think it would have the same effect if somebody else read it despite my mental block with the idea.
 

RhythmFender

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I’ve done it. At my step-dad’s funeral last year. It’s nice if several people can speak and stories can be spread out amongst them.

I think anything is fine as long as it’s 6-9 minutes maximum. The longer it is, the better speaker you should be and the better the material, ie be entertaining (engaging) if you’re up there awhile.

But at the end of the day, it’s a funeral and no matter what, if you’re speaking from the heart, people are going to want to hear it. So sorry for your loss.
 

Harry Styron

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At my father’s funeral, all five sons spoke and hilarity ensued. My wife and I sang Far Side Bank of Jordan. The chapel was packed with 300-400 people.

My father was 94 when he died, so there was not the kind of grief that accompanies the death of a young person who has died unexpectedly. He was well-respected in his little town and many people enjoyed his sense of humor, which was generally dry and never at anyone’s expense. I believe the family and the “mourners” were treated to the most lighthearted funeral that they are likely to attend.

In contrast, I attended the funeral of my wife’s brother last week. He died at 86. The funeral service consisted of a priest reading and expounding on some scripture about man’s sinful nature, followed by ten minutes of silence, during which I expected somebody to speak or make music, then dismissal. It was no fun.
 

Twofingerlou

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Sorry for your loss.

I spoke at my grandma’s funeral which was obviously sad but we had a “celebration of life” a few months later I spoke at but that was really light.
I did a longer eulogy for my dad and an aunt and my wife’s grandma asked me to say something, she wrote a list of people to speak before she passed. She was a handful.

All I’ll say is if you plan to / are willing to speak think of something you can get through without coming apart. Practice once or twice.

My dad had “idiosyncrasies” and my brother, sister and I honestly got kicked out of the funeral home while we were making arrangements, we got the giggles talking about how much but would kill him to know what caskets cost. So at the funeral I told a little story about a happy childhood memory and then led into the funny story about the funeral home and how we got on a tear and were surely disrespectful of the other families there. And how that’s life, joy and sadness and triumph and failure and what matters in the end is how you remember, it’s up to you. I said something like “growing up we’d have family reunions and at the end we always ended up, all the cousins, telling stories about my dad and most of them were not flattering. But they were true, not said in meanness but in healing. And I said, in the end he’s still my dad and your cousin or uncle or brother. And I’m going to forget and forgive the things I want to forgive. And I’m going to remember being 4 years old, him sneaking me out of the house early, riding a sled on his back before kindergarten.

Anyway, YMMV but you got this. There is no pressure. Sorry for your loss but absolutely if you have a few words to share that might take the edge off someone’s grief you are doing a good thing.


Thank you for the insight!
 




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