Com 392 | Speech Writing
Assignment #2: Tribute Speech
Write a 2-3 page tribute to a person, either living or dead.
Description of the Tribute Speech: The tribute speech, like all ceremonial speeches, is predictable, short, and planned ahead of time. The speechwriter, therefore, should make an effort to make the moment special and fresh. Two or three main points are enough for the tribute speech. The language can be more elevated than normal, but not stiff or unnatural. A good tribute speech takes into account the needs of the audience.
A Tribute to Sandra (Sondra) Elizabeth Strange
February 28, 2016
My mother made me and my siblings’ poverty stricken lives worth living. Although she is not perfect, she did all that she could do as a disabled mother. Life with my mother was difficult for many reasons; she suffered from obesity, cancer, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. As I stated before, we were poor, but through all of this, she still managed to become a better mother than those who judged and prayed for her misfortune. My mother had visible and hidden battles that she fought to the very end, and most of the time they were fought with a smile. Her internal suffering from her disabilities caused her to be physically, mentally, verbally, financially and socially abused. Although all of this is true, she still carried on because she had to; she had children to care for. I want to pay a tribute to Sondra Elizabeth Strange, a strong and creative mother. During her life she received very little credit for being a great mother. But saying all of this can never show just how great my mother was, so I’ll paint a picture that depicts the creativity and strength of my mother.
Strength in Times of Pain
My mother was very sick, and this was something my siblings and I understood at an early age. Every visit to the doctor frightened me because I knew that it would be more bad news. However, she always returned home as if nothing was wrong with her. She even presented her bad news of the cancer spreading throughout her body in a calm and almost exciting way. Although now I regret it, back then I sometimes hated my mother for sharing such horrible news in that way. I sometimes felt as if she wanted to leave us behind to enjoy her “wonderful afterlife” with God; that’s how she would often refer to heaven. At a young age, I did not think about her sharing the bad news in the way that she did as a way to keep herself from breaking down. When I was old enough to go to her appointments with her, I would observe her reaction to the doctor’s words. When I was about 13, I accompanied my mother to one particular appointment. During our entire travel there, she never said a word. When we arrived she checked in and minutes later we both went into the doctor’s office. Although my mother looked nervous, she continued to smile as the doctor spoke words that I could not understand.
When the doctor finished examining my mother she asked him a heartbreaking question that I will never forget. “How long do I have?” my mother asked. I immediately looked at her in shock, and I could tell that the doctor was surprised as well. He looked at me and asked me to go out in the hallway, but my mother said no. She wanted me to hear what the doctor would say next. For about a minute we sat in silence and then the doctor said that there was a possibility that she would not live to see her next birthday, which I remember only being a few months away. Fortunately, my mother lived about two more years after this news. Although I hated that my mother often wanted me to go with her to hear such horrible news, I know now that she brought me along because I could handle it better than my other siblings. On our way back home, my mother told me not to worry and to not repeat anything that the doctor said. What puzzled me was that she said it with a smile. It was then that I knew that my mother was a strong woman. She constantly put our feelings above her own, and to her, that’s all that mattered. Not everyone can handle situations such as this with such calmness. To know that you will not live long is frightening and it takes an enormous amount of mental strength to get through such a daunting life.
Creativity in Times of Want and Need
Like many other families living in poverty, we never had money for luxury items, and many times we had very little food. During Christmas time, my mother could only afford to buy us each one or two presents, and she would often remind us that Christmas was a time to remember Jesus, not to get upset over gifts that were not received. I truly understood this, but I can recall one Christmas that I’ll never forget. I was about six or seven and it was a time when Raggedy Ann dolls seemed to be popular again. I desperately wanted one, especially since I knew that all of my friends at school would have one when winter break was over. Instead of buying me one, because the real Raggedy Ann dolls were expensive, she made one from yarn, old shoe strings, cotton, buttons, old clothes from when we were babies, and thread. She did not just stop there but she also went on to make many dolls for me. In my eyes, and in the eyes of many of my friends, the homemade dolls were better than any Raggedy Ann doll that was made in a factory. Although these dolls have been lost during the many times that my family moved, I still treasure the memories of them in my heart. At that time, I did not understand poverty, all I knew was that there were things that I wanted but could not get for some reason. I also did not realize that my mother made these dolls because she could not afford to buy the Raggedy Ann dolls. I often smiled because I thought that my mother was cool, and other mothers, the same ones who judged her, came to her to learn to make dolls. Not one soul could tell me that my mother wasn’t the best.
My mother’s creativity did not end there; during times when we had no food, I’m sure even God himself was surprised at how creative she could get. Oftentimes, we had very little food, maybe a few cans and boxes of food. One day, my mother came up with a tradition that carried on until her death. My mother received a big box from a man who often delivered food to our door, but this time there was no food like chicken or boxed dinners, just fruit. It seemed as if the thought instantly came to her when she opened the box because she immediately said “let’s create our own holiday called Fruit Day.” She explained that this was a holiday that would come more than just once a year, which made it very different from any other holiday. My siblings and I loved this holiday because we loved fruit. So all day on this holiday, we ate nothing but fruit. It took years for me to realize that our very own holiday was born from our lack of food. Even after I found this out, we still continued to celebrate this holiday on days that we had little to no food. It takes a strong woman with a creative mind to come up with something like this to keep her children occupied.
I’m sure that many people feel that their mothers are the best for many reasons, and I hope that many will see why I feel that my mother is far greater than the best. She lived an extremely hard life, but she made the best of it for the sake of her children. She continued to put her children first, right up until cancer claimed her life on November 2nd, 2009. She was a mother above all others, and as I often glance over at her ashes, I can truly say that I am proud to be the daughter of such a fantastic mother.
Author: This practice speech written by Ashley Strange for Communication 392 Speech Writing Class