my grandfather's funeral speech
This is the speech I wrote for my grandfather's funeral. Writing a funeral speech is difficult work, and while I don't wish it on anyone I'm sharing this for those with that chore before them.
I gave this on the day before my 28th birthday, during the kind of snowstorm that keeps all but funeral-goers off the road. On the way there, my (then live-in) girlfriend lost control of the car. Only half an hour before the service was due to start, the car was nose-first in a ditch. We were still 30 kilometers from town. Needless to say, we arrived late, rattled, and apologetic.
Knowing that I might be reading this speech through tears, I printed the thing in large type. But in the end, it wasn't necessary. Perhaps our little car crash sharpened my focus, because I was not overcome as the other speakers were.
I'm not sure that these were the things I wanted to say, or that they'd be the things I'd say tomorrow if I had to. But that's the hell of funeral speeches, you can't plan them ahead of time, or write them after you've gotten used to the deceased's passing....
By posting this, I hope it might help someone in some way.
Reading it, years later, I see that it misses the mark a bit. But then, there was no need to mention things like the man's constant criticism or his refusal to stop driving though he'd begun to drift off behind the wheel.
And there was one item that I really should have mentioned though it might have been difficult for the audience. As a doctor, my grandfather spent his career pushing his patients to come clean with their loved ones whenever he had to tell those patients that they were at the end of their life. But my grandfather never did this with us, he just kept it to himself for at least two years, puttering around the house labeling items according to whom he intended to leave them following his death.
I mention this now because it's been more than a decade since I gave this speech, and it's only now that I realize that I had a chance to send an important message to my grandfather's colleagues. This was the only chance I'd ever have in my life to speak before a room full of doctors about an important matter.
But I guess that's expecting too much for a young man giving his first funeral speech. I'll leave it to anyone who finds this page to consider the matter if they're crafting a speech of their own.
I spoke at my Grandfather's funeral, but could not do so for my Oma.