Here is a speech that I wrote for my grandmother, who passed away after a long struggle with dementia (15 years). I wanted to say something at the funeral, but my mother gave the eulogy. I decided that I did not want to dwell on the fact that she suffered with dementia, but it could not go unmentioned because she had it nearly all of my life.
“I have decided that I am not going to talk about the loss of a person or the loss of memories. I am going to talk about stories instead. Stories of handbags, pies and music.
To start with, the story of the handbag. Nanny always carried a rather large, sensible navy handbag, which could always be relied upon to contain a packet of Werther’s, or, if we were in for a real treat, coconut mushrooms.
This navy handbag had other uses too, especially when we went to Beale Wildlife Park when I was three. Nanny prevented some very rare geese from attacking me by staging a counter-attack of her own. Needless to say, somewhere in Berkshire there are some geese that are now terrified of navy handbags, and small Welsh grandmothers.
Next, the story about pies. Every birthday, Aunty Joan, Aunty Amy, and Nanny came to our house for a second birthday. There was one particular birthday, where Nanny had made us an apple pie for pudding. She had also made a corned beef pie, which looked identical to the apple one. Therefore we made a guess and one of the pies was put in the oven, and dinner became a game of pie roulette. Despite our best guesses, it was the corned beef pie, which, as you can imagine, doesn’t really go well with custard.
And finally, music. There is something quite remarkable about the power of music. It was something that made her truly happy, and we found that Nanny returned to herself when we listened to music that she loved. There was many an afternoon when we found ourselves, three generations of us, swaying vigorously from side to side, in front of the telly, all humming to Pavarotti.
So I hope that when you think of Nanny, you don’t think of the end, you think of the music, pies and handbags, as I do.”
We hope that this speech gives you some ideas of your own for a tribute speech. A similar speech style could work for friends who have passed away, or for aunts and uncles.