As some of you may know, my father passed away on the 16th of December. This was two days short of six months from when my mother passed away. Today was the memorial and I wanted to share the eulogy I gave at his service:
I am now the oldest of our family. The matriarch. The queen bee. Dad didn’t want to have a memorial service. But Monica and I knew we all needed to get together and remember our dad so we decided not to honor this last wish. Hopefully he isn’t hearing this! We also felt sad that he didn’t allow people to get up and speak at moms service so if you want to you can get up today and share memories of both of them. Sorry about that dad.
When I thought about what I wanted to share three topics really came to mind. That is right I am going to give a classic three point sermon. Get your notepad ready.
First is Faith: My parents had a quiet faith in God. My dad was a deacon when we were young and he always did handyman work for the church so we were at church about 1000 hours a week. Every week. I am pretty sure I was actually born in a church nursery. Dave Shroeder’s father baptised mine. We knew every nook and cranny of the church and we would play monster down in the basement or stand in the baptistery and pretend to swim or launch paper airplanes off the balcony. I should take this opportunity to confess that passed notes during services. It is possible we may have skipped Youth Group on occasion to stand out on Lancaster Blvd and goof off. I have it on good authority that my sister may or may not have chewed gum in church. Phew I feel so much better now. Every one has faith in something. You may have faith in yourself or faith in your spouse. You may place your faith in science or society. You have faith that gravity will always keep your feet on the ground and that the sun will come out tomorrow. But we all have faith. My parents put faith in God. And they knew the difference between faith in God and faith in the church so even when things happened that were political or just human their faith was still strong. If you put your faith in man you will always be disappointed. If you place your faith in God He will never fail you.
Second is Fidelity: (Notice the clever alliteration) In case the word fidelity isn’t familiar I will give you a quick definition and then I know you will understand. Fidelity is a Noun that behaves like a verb. Strict observance of promises, duties. Loyalty. Faithfullness in a relationship. Attachment. Devotion. Steadfastness. These are words that describe the relationship between my parents. They celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary in the hospital and mom passed away a few days later. Their health was bad for many years but dad took care of mom until the end and once she was gone he was lost without her. Caring for her was what kept him going and when she was gone, his job was done. He never recovered. He often spoke of wanting to go be with her and what a glorious day that would be. We were not surprised that he went to join her. It is like he felt a cold coming on Monday morning and decided that was his chance to be with her for the holidays so he went for it.
Point Three is Family. Family was everything to our parents. Especially the grandkids. They had a magnet on the fridge that said grandchildren are the reward for not strangling your teenagers. This was weird because Monica and I were perfect teenagers. Well, I was anyhow. I mean there was that one incident with the speeding ticket. My parents loved their grandkids. They were only 42 and 49 when Brandon was born and so he got to spend a lot of time with them when they were still able to take him fishing or camping. It wasn’t until Lauren came 7 years later that the deluge of grandkids came. Six at the final count. Then along came Parker two years ago and they were thrilled to have a great grand child. Mom used to let him play with her oxygen tubing and color with him. Parker had a routine when he would go visit Grandpa: He would move the front door rug to the middle of the living room, pick up Grandpas Sudoku toy and walk around talking on it like a cell phone and then put on his great grandpa’s shoes and tromp around his house. Once mom passed seeing Parker was about the only time dad really perked up. We have so many memories of family times that we would be here forever if I got started. So you can see me later for more stories.
Before I go I want to say that these past 5 years have been so difficult but I am proud of the way our family has stood strong together and held each other up. And I especially want to thank my sister who took the brunt of the medical issues . And our kids who many times had to take the back seat while we worked with whatever situation was going on. We Rock!
So that was the eulogy. My father had a honor guard present a flag to us and do that little ceremony including playing of taps. The girls sang I'll Be Home For Christmas. It was a beautiful service. We know that more than anything my father wanted to be with my Mom and he held out as long as he could but his will, as well as his heart, were broken. We know that this will be his best Christmas ever so it makes it easier to deal with the loss.