Eulogy Etiquette- How to honor your loved one with praise, grace and respect.
I know many of you have heard from seeing my posts on social media that the last few weeks have been rather rough in my house.
This past Thursday we laid to rest my beautiful Grandmother, Denise Mary Barbarino, beloved daughter, wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother and dear friend.
I cannot thank you enough for all of the messages, comments, texts and cards we’ve received. You have touched the hearts of my family and we are so blessed to have you in our lives.
The Champagne Lady (Grandma) had such an impact on my life I wanted to honor her by speaking at her funeral service.
I searched the internet to see if there was a specific “eulogy etiquette” I should follow when preparing my speech and then decided hell, no one online knows her like I do, this has got to come from the heart.
Suffice it to say, after a few minutes I took to the old paper and pen and began writing down the memories that came to mind; those things that I never wanted to forget and that one day I too will share with my kids from her.
I learned through this process that there is no right or wrong way to remember a loved one.
Some may choose to speak, some may choose to sit and listen, and some may cry tears of joy and pain mixed together.
At the end of the day, it’s important to honor your loved one in the fashion that speaks closest to you, your relationship, and your heart.
♥ Be honest.
♥ Be respectful.
♥ Be grateful.
♥ Be you!
Sure, it’s not rocket science, but it helped me to define my own eulogy etiquette. And now, here’s a sample eulogy and how I chose to honor my sweet Grandma.
Good morning. Thank you all so much for coming today to celebrate the life of the wonderful Denise Barbarino, or, as I know her, Little Grandma.
As a kid my sisters and I gave the name “little” and “big” to our grandmas, which, in hindsight, was likely due to the distance they lived from us. Grandma Denise was just a short drive away.
Needless to say, that short drive and her eagerness to be present in our lives soon found her as my number one cheerleader. Sure, my mom and dad were there, but they also yelled. Grandma was that safe zone, the one who waved her pompoms even when I missed the free throw, refused to eat the pizza or moved half way across the country to pursue nutrition.
It’s impossible to put into words what my Grandma meant to me. She was truly an angel, sent by God to bless my life for the last 29 years. She was the best testament to what living a life full of love, grace and kindness truly means, and each and every day I strive to be half the woman she was.
I could go on for hours about the memories I have with Grandma: the weekends she’d spend at our house when my mom and dad went away; the countless times she’d send me back upstairs to put socks on my feet; the hours we spent watching the Sandlot (or Speed), cuddled up with “goodies” we found in her secret snack drawer; and the infamous money egg she’d hide for us grandkids to find every Easter. These as well as countless other memories I will forever treasure.
Grandma’s zest for life, her unconditional love and her kind spirit is what made her my hero. I refuse to live life in a bubble because each and every day she taught me that life is a gift. She warned me that life moves too fast, to stop and enjoy the little moments more often. I promise Grandma, for you, I’m trying.
I must have written four drafts of this, unsure of what would represent Grandma the best. Then it hit me, Grandma is not the one I need to write this to. She and I have spoken on numerous occasions about how much she means to me. We’ve exchanged countless letters and spent the most pleasant of Sundays chatting. The special bond we have is something that will never be broken. I smile knowing she is looking down right now, enjoying her ice cream cone with that twinkle in her eye, nodding her head, assuring me that she’ll always be by my side.
So if this isn’t to Grandma, then who is this for?
Her other half, Grandpa.
Grandpa, you are the living testament to the beauty Grandma was. She radiates within you. Grandma always made sure before she ended any call to say, “Give that man of yours Liz a big hug and kiss for me, okay? Remember, we picked the good ones”. We’d laugh, hang up the call and then immediately, I’d find my husband and give him a big kiss from her. Wayne would smile, knowing what a wonderful gift we’d been blessed with in having such a strong, compassionate couple as role models in our married life.
Grandpa, I wish I could take away the pain you feel from losing the Champagne Lady by your side. I know words can’t heal your wounds but I want you to know I promise you every day you will witness living examples of endless love in your life, made present only because of the tremendous model you and Grandma set for us.
As we lay her down to rest Grandpa, I want you to know this is merely a see you later. I don’t believe in saying goodbye to her, for I know we will see her, feel her and hold her close in our hearts. Each time we see a 31 Flavors, lick an Ice Cream Cone, or simply hear someone say, “how’s the weather over there”, a smile will fill our face.
Grandpa, Little Grandma was a legend in all of our eyes, and as the Sandlot saying goes, “Legends never die”.
Sweet dreams Grandma, see you later.