Things I have no choice but to write

Category: eulogy

Eulogy For Mom

 Dear Mom,

    Since they called me on March 1st to tell me about your passing, it’s been a whirlwind of activity. Dealing with your affairs and estate, as well as executing on your memorial.

    I felt that the words that I said at your memorial service weren’t particularly well thought out, or very eloquent. So, in that spirit I wanted to write you a proper eulogy. As always, like at Aquinas,  my homework is late. But I wanted to give you a cogent, heartfelt eulogy.

  First, and most importantly, you are great mother. From you I was borne, and you took care of me. I remember when I was young and frequently in the hospital for asthma, you were there while I was in the oxygen tent. My tenderest memory, was sitting in the house at 927 Cliffwood Lane, watching TV one night, and you were running your hand along my shin. Somehow, that’s the most comforting memory I have of any sense of physical touch.

And later years I confided in you. You listened and kept my confidences, but you also held your counsel. Sometimes on important items, that in retrospect, I wish I had known. While initially when I found this out I was irritated, I understood why you did it. You realize that by telling me what you really thought would only elicit negative reaction from me. And you knew that I had to make my own mistakes because that’s how I learn.  It took me a while to see the wisdom of this position, but as you told me in grade school, I am a late bloomer. So it is with this.

You were so funny. I remember standing in the kitchen at 927 and laughing so hard some days after school that I would have an asthma attack. I love this. I remember the time you came home and said “somebody in the neighborhood has Alzheimer’s but I can’t remember who”. To this day I don’t know if you were kidding or not, such was the enormity of your comedic genius. I will always love the humor that I found in realizing the best picture we had of you in your later years was the picture on your medical marijuana card. I will always remember our trips to the dispensary and laugh.  If I, or Emma or Anna, can be said to have a sense of humor, and the love of fun, it comes from you. Our joy is a direct descendent of your spirit.

You were so independent. You had your own way of doing things, and no one was going to change your mind, not even Dad. You did things the way you wanted and didn’t care what other people thought. You started your own shoe store and did it your way. You refreshed your nurse’s license and worked at the migrant health Center in Immokalee. If I or Emma or Anna can be said to have any Independence, it comes from you. Our independence is a direct descendent of your spirit.

You were so strong. No one was going to mess with your family. And when you had your own difficult times you bore them with a steely resolve. I remember the stories you told about you and your father picking through the rubble and being among the dead after an oil well explosion. I remember the story of how you and your family withstood a hurricane, and came home to find fish on the second floor of your house in Galveston Texas. You faced breast cancer in the early 80s, before there was a lot of support, and you did it with strength and Grace. And, it must be said,  not a small amount of humor. I remember you being playfully annoyed with someone, and whipping out your prosthesis and throwing it at him much to his shock, but to great comedic effect. I hope that we, me, Emma, Anna, can be imbued with some small part of your strength as we face the difficult task of living without You. Any strength we display is a direct descendant of your spirit.

You showed us what a loving relationship was with Dad. You made it clear that your relationship was the core of our lives and that we were secondary to that. It was hard for me to see the logic in that at first, but as always the wisdom showed itself to me later. Your relationship with Dad will always be a model of a strong marriage. I know it wasn’t easy and yet you bore it with strength and Grace, as you did in most things.

I know it was difficult for you, after Dad died. Your relationship with him had been the center of your lives for almost 60 years. Your sadness was palpable. But in your remaining 18 months you gave me a great gift, one for which I will always be grateful. You let me help you, and you let me take care of you. I took car e of your affairs, and I talked to you several times a week in those last 18 months. They were all a joy. You worried about money, but Dad had taken good care of you, and all I could do was reassure you. Nevertheless, thank you for allowing me to help. We grew closer in the last 18 months, and it was such a blessing, though I couldn’t do anything to ease your sadness.

You died as you lived, independent and on your own terms. While I wish we could have known the full extent of your health issues, I know you wouldn’t have wanted us to worry. And you wanted to meet your eternal reward on your own terms. What else could we expect?

As you travel through the undiscovered country and join the great majority, know that we remember you, and will love you always. I remember how you ended the last phone call we had. I remember you and I laughing at the trouble you gave the doctors. And when I said I loved you the end of the call you responded as you did many times in the last 2 years of your life. You said, “I love you more”. I never doubted that. I miss you and I always will.

Eulogy for My Father

My Eulogy for my father, at his Funeral, Given 10/28/2019. (See his obituary here)

Brevity is
the soul of wit[i],
and I’ll endeavor to be both.
Thank you
all for coming today to share in this celebration of the Mass, and my Dad’s life.
I can think of no better way to honor him than through a Mass. He was a loyal
son of the Church. At he bedside, where he spent his last night at home, I
found his Missal. On the cover, was the Christogram, HIS, which comes from the
Latin, In Hoc Signo, or Under This Sign, a reference to Jesus[ii].
He clearly lived under this sign.
Today we
mourn the passing of our Loving Husband, Father, Brother, Uncle, mentor, friend
and golfing buddy; colleague; Boss.
To me he was
simply my dad. A great business and community leader, to be sure, but I
remember was him as a father who taught by example.
  •  His
    example of hard work, and his relentlessness
  •  His
    example of charity, especially to the Church, a certain University[iii],
    and to Habitat for Humanity Collier County
  •  His
    example of faith, like going to 630 mass every day during lent before going to
    work. Even when running a Multi-Billion $ business.[iv]
He taught
the family, all of us, by his example. His example will wake up the echoes[v]
for years to come.
These past
two weeks have brought many happy memories of flooding back. 
  • In the seventies, mowing the lawn at
    927 Cliffwood Lane, which was at a 45-degree angle, in Bermuda shorts, dark
    socks, and a Tshirt.
  • Standing at the top of the stairs,
    Dad shouting “Where’s my gold pen!”. (When cleaning out his things over the
    past 2 weeks, I found them. Dad, they were under your desk.[vi]
  • Driving a car Connecticut to Florida
    and listening the same Prairie Home Companion 5 times.
While today is a day of undeniable sadness, it should also be
a day of joy too. First and foremost, that Dad is no longer suffering. And
second that he has received his eternal reward and is in heaven. Of this I have
no doubt. But there is one final reason, and it’s not because Mom finally gets
to control the remote.
The Irish have a notion of “Thin Places”[vii]
where Heaven and Earth meet. Just a few weeks ago, when he was in the hospital,
has just woken up. I asked how we was. He said “Good. I just saw Mom and Dad,
and I haven’t seen Dad in 16 years. They looked good.”[viii]
I am confident this was true and that he had found one of these thin places. I
am just as confident he is with Honey, Bear, Mary, Jim, Clem, Detmer, Hazel and
the rest of the family. Let us be joyful for this too. He is with his family,
and that his physical and spiritual suffering are over.
In conclusion, the best way I can end my remarks is to give
him the last word. Those words are from his last word to us, in a letter he wrote;
the words he wanted to sum up his life with.
To: Pat,
Bill and David:
I have
neglected putting this together for all too long now. I guess that I haven’t
been willing to face up to the fact that my old ticker has more miles on it
than is normal for my model year.
I have been blessed in so many ways
during my lifetime that I am in awe of the generosity that God has bestowed on
me, a sinner. My greatest gifts are my family whose love, understanding and
tolerance sustained me through the years – I cannot begin to fathom why God
showered the blessings of you three on me, preceded by my own family and now
followed up with my two angels, Emma and Anna. What can heaven begin to be like
after all the blessings I had on earth? I love you so much and eagerly await
the day when we can all be together again in the divine and loving presence of
our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Shakespeare reference for Dad, who enjoyed the quotes in my thesis
IHS is also a reference to the transliterated name of Jesus from the Greek.
Ever defiant, this was needling both David and Dad a bit.
And he dragged me to Mass more than few times.
And yet one must pay respect to his love for said University
This is true.
I got this, most likely, from Fr. Brendan McGuire. But Wikipedia confirms it.
I included this to create a bridge to his mother, to whom the same thing

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