Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Family Eulogist

Somehow I've become the person in my family to give the eulogy when someone dies.  First Bedstefar (my Danish grandfather), then Mike, and, most recently, Dad.  Here is more or less how it went:

If one thing can be said about my dad, it is that he was a good man.  He did not have an unkind bone in his body.

Just a few months ago we were here to say good-bye to my brother Mike.  It's hard to be up here again, trying to find words to say.  Losing Mike broke Dad’s heart.  It literally broke Dad’s heart.  Now they are together in heaven watching over us.

My daughter Dolly, Dad’s granddaughter, couldn’t be here today because this is her first week of school.  She sent along this message that she asked me to read to you today:

Hi Grandpa.  This is my speech that I made for you that I hope my mom is going to recite at the funeral.  Grandpa, I’m sorry that you had to go through pain when you were dying.  And you were only 67, or 68.  Sorry I forgot your age.  I kind of don’t remember stuff that’s important, but I’ll definitely remember this, which I didn’t want to happen.  Well, I guess that’s just life.  And even though someone is gone, they are still here.  I mean, you’re still around the earth.  And now I have four people above my head – both of my grandpas, my great grandma, and Uncle Mike.  And I’m always going to cherish those who are above my head and those who I can see.  But just because I can’t see them doesn’t mean that you’re not there.  Bye, Grandpa.  Well, I’m not really saying good-bye cause you’re up above my head right now.  So, good-bye for now.  I love you.

That was my daughter Dolly’s message.  My message to Dad is a message of thanks.

Thank you for adopting me, for giving me the life I have today, for always believing in me, and for making me the person I am today.  I will miss talking to you and the great trips we took together.

Thank you for loving Mom for 43 years, for being her best friend, for being with her my role models for a loving committed relationship that is inspiring and the best parents anyone could ask for.

Thank you for saving Mike’s life twice and being there for him throughout his life.  He admired you and loved you.  You understood him like no ones else did.  I am glad you are there to watch over him once more.

Thank you for being a good brother and friend.  The people who have stayed by your side for decades are a testament to your honor, loyalty, and kindness.  You were a man of faith and a man of charity, and made the world a better place by the lives you touched.

You lived a good life and you were loved.

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