Eulogy

A few people asked, so here's the eulogy I wrote and delivered at pop's funeral on Sept. 16. It does contain a large amount of what I wrote a week ago, which seemed like a good starting point.


Seldom do 3 a.m. telephone calls bring anything good.
But there was the mobile on the nightstand, buzzing with my dad’s picture on the screen. I was in bed in the basement; he was in his bed directly above.
“Yes, sir?”

“Are you asleep?”

“I am not,” I lied. “What’s up?”

“Can you come up here and talk to me?”
And thus began two nights of serious discussion. Well, mostly he talked and I listened. He was consumed with worry. Not about the cancer that invaded him, but more black-and-white concerns.
Frustrations over not being a very good man across the arc of his life.
That inside him lived a good and decent person – and one dark and evil.
Up to that point, he’d lived life on his terms. Independent and unapologetic. Surely in his youth, words like “scamp,” “rascal” and “scalawag” were synonymous with him.
Indeed, as someone told us at his wake, “He was quite the Gabby.”
The Air Force could not tame him. Three times he made sergeant and three times he was busted. Once for not wearing his cap; once for not getting a haircut; and once for not tying his shoes.
Then he met my mother.
And discovered what it is to love completely – and be loved in return. To be part of something greater than himself.
Like everyone, he wrestled with his demons. But he never once blamed anything on them. He took responsibility for himself and all his flaws.
As if the depths of his darkness propelled him to be a better man.
While he had no parting ideas during those early morning talks on how to live the rest of my life, he has throughout the years encouraged us to seek our own path. Embrace the danger of living and taste every challenge like it was the sweetest of fruit.
His mantra was that we should do what we love, embrace our faith, follow our hearts, question authority, be the best person we could be.
And above all, don’t be so (expletive) serious.
He was a deeply rich and complex person, not only in multiple shades of gray, but bursting with color and dimension.
And like the artist who paints in bold strokes and bright hues, my father’s depth of character, his vivid past, splashed a little on everyone he encountered.
We love you, dad.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thom, I thought it was a beautiful tribute to your dad. Thank you for shareing it with us!

Love you!
Mandy

Donna said...

"And above all, don’t be so (expletive) serious."

What a man. That goes for the father as well as the son who saw the man his father was.

Thom, I don't even know what to say - beautiful, poignant, loving, intimate, heartwarming, breathtaking...

"And like the artist who paints in bold strokes and bright hues, my father’s depth of character, his vivid past, splashed a little on everyone he encountered."

And on those who only read about him.

SB's Bea said...

A moving and beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing.

SB's Bea said...

A moving and beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing.

pia said...

So beautiful

Just someone said...

It is beautiful!

It was so moving and it is so sincere and full of your love and respect for him!

Thank you for sharing!

swapnap said...

Moving tribute Thom. Thank you for sharing.

Candace D. said...

Thom,
What a beautiful tribute to your dad. I'm so sorry for your loss. So glad you had the time you did with him -- I hope that will help you as you grieve.

Know that your faraway friends are thinking of you.

Dee Martin said...

While hurting over losing a parent, it's good to be able to say once and publicly what they meant to you and how you saw them. For some reason, in the middle of the grief there is the tiniest bit of comfort in being able to do that. At least there was for me. This is beautiful and loving and I wish you healing.

Tammy said...

((Thom)) I'm very sorry for your loss. Such a moving tribute. HUG