Commemorative Speech Sample
Wink: An Online Journal
Commemorative Speech: Casey Kelner
Instructor: Dan Rooney
I Remember You
Looking upon the house my grandmother once lived in brings feelings of emptiness and happiness all at
the same time. The paint that is slowly chipping away reminds me of all the hard work my grandfather put
into every board that was nailed together and every coat of paint that was applied with his own two
hands. Many memories have been developed into long lasting impressions at this house, but the one
that meant the most was the gracefulness, thoughtfulness, and courageousness of my grandmother. Her
name was Gertrude Harriet Dahl. Gertrude mothered nine children, one of which was my mother. I find it
very bizarre how you sometimes forget how much someone means to you until they pass away.
While growing up, my main domain was her house; Monday through Friday had a new adventure to
conquer, and every day was just as great as the last. Grandma would work outside in the garden all day
long, and I would run through the corn stalks thinking she couldn’t see me. No matter what event was
going on, she never seemed to get stressed or upset. I admired her for the carefulness of her nimble
fingers and for her gardening skills. She always seemed to know when the carrots were just ripe to pick,
and what seemed to be the “right” weeds to pull. She was a typical housewife.
Since my grandfather passed away three years before I was born, I never had the chance to see what
kind of wife she was to him. A few of my aunts and uncles have told me stories about his drinking
problems and his workaholic tendencies. I’m almost positive Grandma handled it with acceptance and
tried everything in the world to be there for him anyways. I hope I am that accepting when I get married.
As I was growing up, I never knew my grandmother had nine children, until one Christmas my mother told
me about her sister Peggy, who was twelve when she passed away.
I guess Peggy hit a drop off down by the river, and she never survived the swift water. I became very
upset that not a single sole, especially my grandma told me. As time went on, and as I became older I
learned to admire her hardship and learned that she never talked about it because she was ashamed—
ashamed of an incident that she couldn’t help, and disappointed in herself for not being there because
Peggy snuck out. It takes courage and strength for someone to raise the rest of the kids when something
this devastating happens in life. My grandma overcame this.
She is also strong for getting through years of diabetes. With painful shots everyday and rigorous diets,
bad health hung above her head like an anvil. Constant weight gain and depression was never absent.
She was flawless on the outside, but we all knew her pain on the inside. On special occasions such as
Christmas, our family would shower her with gifts. We all tried to make her happy and let her know that
she was appreciated for being a great grandma and mother to us all. She knew she was special to us.
I know as a kid, I often got jealous of all the gifts she received and wondered what is would be like to be
in such great lime light as much as she was. Towards the end of one’s life, the appreciation from others
really adds up, and that’s what I want for anyone that feels like they have done well in life. Anyone could
tell grandma felt the same way. She didn’t care much about herself compared to how she cared for
others. For example, when my mother gave birth to me, from day one, she was a single mother. My
grandmother helped with anything she could to help raise me, from babysitting while my mom worked two
jobs, to teaching me about life lessons. She always managed to attend my most important orchestra
concerts and have a hearty meal ready by six thirty sharp. I wanted to be just like her. I remember one
specific night when she went to bed, I went into the bathroom to look in her medicine cabinet. This is
where she kept her bright red lipstick. I never put it on, but I imagined how it would look on me. That
lipstick didn’t make her look elegant, but she made the lipstick look elegant.
As her thin light brown hair turned gray, I saw her energy fizzle down, but her love for life stayed strong. I
could tell her ending days were near. There was one last summer where I stayed with her for bible
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