Are you looking for a way to celebrate the life of the matriarch of your family? If so, you might be struggling to plan a service that honors who she was. Even finding fitting words to write a eulogy could be difficult.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Tributes to Grandma for Her Funeral
- Ideas for Written Tributes to Grandma
- Nontraditional Tributes to Grandma
Many grandmas are known for their quirky habits. If a traditional funeral doesn’t seem appropriate for your grandma, keep reading. Below are some ideas on how to plan a fitting tribute for the woman who meant so much to so many, whether you're writing a tribute speech or celebrating her in an unconventional way.
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Tributes to Grandma for Her Funeral
Funeral services can be solemn, but they can also be a place for creative ways to pay tribute.
1. Create and distribute a video
Many families create slideshows to play at the service. Try to find photos of your grandma from all the stages of her life. Pair the images with tunes that your grandma enjoyed. If she didn’t have a favorite song, consider some from our picks for the best funeral songs for grandma.
Include videos of your grandma too. You can use these videos to help you remember your grandmother. A lot of people struggle to remember details about the people they love after they die. The voice of your grandma and records of her can help you remember her forever.
Finally, add interviews from others sharing their memories of this special woman. Let your friends and family know that you want to record their memories. Give them enough notice that they get a chance to think about what they want to say.
Share the video with others. Those who are unable to attend the funeral will appreciate watching the video. And it can be something to watch whenever you are missing your grandma.
Tip: If everybody can't make the funeral, you might consider hosting a virtual or online funeral along with or in place of an in-person event. Virtual funeral planning services, like GatheringUs, will help you put together a professional-grade video, along with plan and facilitate the event.
2. Distribute flower seeds
Was your Grandma known for a particular flower or plant? You could buy the flower seeds in bulk. Repackage the seeds in individual bags or opt for packets if you're short on time, and add a label that displays your grandma’s name. Make sure you include instructions on how to plant the seeds. You could also include a photo of your grandma on the tag.
Consider planning a get-together where everyone plants the seeds together. Or you can send them to anyone who knew your grandmother but couldn’t attend the memorial service.
3. Decorate the casket with your grandma’s favorite flower
Speaking of flowers, don’t overlook their use for a memorial service. You may want to buy some of your grandma’s favorites. You could incorporate them in the displays on and around the casket. Ask friends and family to take a bloom out of the displays before they leave the service.
Although silk flowers are more expensive, you may want to have one floral display set aside for family members. Ask every child and grandchild to take a flower in memory of Grandma.
4. Create a memory tree
Find a large tree branch you can bring to the memorial service. Provide small "share a memory" notecards like this or pieces of paper near the guest book. Ask those in attendance to write down a special memory of your grandma. Decorate the tree branch with them. It could be a unique moment in the service to have each attendee place their memory on the branch.
You don’t need to keep the branch after the service ends. But if your grandma was married or has a partner still living, you could give it to them. If not, consider taking photos of each memory and adding them to your grandmother’s or family’s social media pages. That way the thoughts can be referenced for years.
5. Ask the grandkids to take part in the funeral
It’s impressive to see the legacy of a grandmother who had a large family. Consider asking each descendant of your grandmother to participate in the funeral.
Give every child a particular colored flower to wear at the funeral. Or have them all participate by sharing a poem or a verse in unison.
Ideas for Written Tributes to Grandma
Writing out your memories of the deceased is a way to celebrate a person’s life. It can also help mourners going through the grieving process. Whether you plan to share your tribute, or not, consider using some of these snippets to get you started.
6. Share a memory by writing a sensory poem
Many times we remember our grandmothers not by what they said or did, but more by smells or tastes. Smell and taste are often closely linked to memories. It’s possible that there is a particular smell that makes you think of your grandma. Consider writing a sensory poem to honor her. Start by recalling the tastes and smells you associate with her and just let your words flow. If that sounds too daunting a task, write a list. A simple list of smells, tastes, and feelings that you associate with her achieves a similar result.
Here is an example: “Grandma is a warm, wrinkled hand on my head, feeling for a fever. She smells of lavender lotion and baking bread. When I taste angel food cake, I think of her. 'Are You Lonesome Tonight' by Elvis was her favorite song.”
You may consider asking other members of your family to participate in this activity. Even if everyone just shares a single item, it creates a full picture of the woman you all love.
7. Write your grandma’s life story
Perhaps your grandma was an active member of the civil rights movement, or she lived a quiet life on a farm. Regardless of how busy or famous your grandmother was, her story deserves to be recorded.
If you know that your grandma is not long for this world, begin interviewing her about her life. Ask her the questions that you’ve always wanted to know the answers to. Ask her about where she was when important historical events happened. Get her to tell you her love story with your grandpa. Find out what your parent was like as a child and teenager.
If your grandma has already passed, you will need to rely on the memory of others. You may feel frustrated about the information that has been lost. But do your best. If nothing else, let this inspire you to spend time with the other aging members of your family. If you need extra help, you can check out our tips on how to write a eulogy for grandma.
8. Write about your grandma’s personality
Sometimes when people write about deceased family members, they get frustrated. It can be hard to represent someone accurately. Writing in generalities instead of specifics can compound that frustration.
Use specific examples. Instead of writing, “My grandma was nice to everyone,” write about an instance where she showed kindness.
Don’t forget to write about the negative aspects of your grandma’s personality too, but give them a humorous spin. Maybe your grandma was notoriously cranky in the morning. Perhaps she was rather wild during her youth. Or she was a problematic patient while in the hospital. Record these personality traits as much as decorum allows. While they may seem negative, they help create a fuller picture of the woman you love.
9. Write about one day with grandma
As you write a tribute to your grandma, you may want to write about the details of one specific day. Those details may tell a beautiful story. And they may help you recall other fond memories of her. You could write about where you slept at Grandma’s house. Or what she made for breakfast. Write about the unique things you did together or about the stories she told.
Those who lose family members often wish to be able to spend just one more day with them. Relive a day in your memory, and record the details so you can refer to them later.
10. Record your family history
Create a beautiful tribute to your grandma by researching your family tree. With new online databases and DNA testing, it’s easier than ever before to research your ancestry. Websites make it easy to find birth and death dates. And can provide geographical details for those who came before us. You may even discover long lost extended family members!
Go through your grandmother’s papers to help you get started. Don’t forget to look for recorded family histories in the inside cover of old Bibles. Many people recorded their family histories there.
Nontraditional Tributes to Grandma
Not every grandma is a sweet, little old lady who liked baking pies. Make sure your tribute celebrates the qualities of your grandma.
11. Hold the funeral in a nontraditional space
It’s not a requirement to have a memorial service at a church or funeral home. Think about your grandma’s style and find a place to suit her personality.
This could mean hosting the funeral at a local biker bar or a casino. Or gathering all your family members at a national park to remember your matriarch. Try to find a space that represents the person your grandmother was. Check out our articles on memorial service ideas for unconventional locations.
12. Celebrate your grandma’s life by sharing her recipes
Was your Grandma known for her cooking or baking skills? Consider gathering her recipes and creating a cookbook as a nontraditional tribute. If you can, photocopy the recipes written in her handwriting and keep them in a binder with plastic sleeves like this. Maybe you could sell the cookbooks and give the proceeds to your grandma’s favorite charity.
If your grandmother was particularly secretive about her recipes, it’s possible these recipes died with her. If that is the case, this may be a difficult task.
13. Host a tribute concert
Was your Grandma a musician? Consider hosting a tribute concert in her memory. Share recordings of your grandma performing her favorite songs. And ask friends and family to share their talents.
14. Share your grandma’s talents
If your grandma spent a lot of time sewing, crafting, or canning, consider giving some of her wares to the people attending the funeral.
Maybe there are enough scarves for every family member to have one. Or your grandma was known for the salsa she canned each fall. Serve it at her funeral or distribute jars of it to family and friends.
15. Host a 5K
If your grandma was very active, hosting a 5K in her memory would be a lovely tribute. Print t-shirts with her image and create a celebratory atmosphere for the participants.
Think Out of the Box for Grandma's Tribute
No matter what you decide to do, make sure your tribute to your grandmother is as special as she was. Memorial services don’t have to all look the same. Try to think “out of the box” when coming up with a tribute for your family’s matriarch.
Enlist members of your family, and friends of your grandma, to help you. Someone else may have the perfect idea for your unique grandma!