When I was a child, I remember occasionally have night frights that would awaken me, rigid with fear. I would then creep into my parents room, edging my way up to the corner of their bed, while looking intently at my dad’s chest. I would do so until I could confirm that it was rising and lowering with breath, and only then, would I be able to shake the fright and return to my bed.

A little over a week ago, I was reminded of this as I found myself doing very much the same. I stared intently at dad’s chest. This time not so much to confirm that he was breathing, but rather, because I knew it would only be a matter of time until he was not.

My dad was almost there. Almost home. And now he’s gone. His was a very small and private service, but he is a man who needs to be known of. A man I want to share with you. I was blessed to be chosen to provide the eulogy for his service, and after the worst bout of writer’s block I have ever faced, here is what I finally decided to say:

My dad was not a great man. My dad was a Good Man. Great men quite often happen by mistake. Good men, always happen on purpose.

A while back, when dad went to Roswell for the initial biopsy of his cancer, I found myself having an afternoon tour of the facility with my mom. A tour that ended – not surprisingly – at the gift shop.

Now as you all know, dad is very much a “walk it off” type of fella – never one to show you when he’s in pain. But I still could tell on that day that he was scared. As a result, mom and I decided to buy him the only thing worth buying in the entire place – a novelty stuffed “Happy Pill.”

Just one little stuffed toy that, each and every time you squeezed it, would laugh manically for what seemed like minutes on end.

As many of you have told me, dad was a strong-willed man. A fighter. Some might even add “a bit of a grump”. As such, this Happy Pill was the sort of present that I thought would actually bug him after an initial guffaw, but instead, he took to it immediately. For whatever reason, in this one silly toy, he found a joy that visibly lifted him above the fray of whatever was going on at the time.

With its frantic giggle, he was able to envision the world as it could be. The world that he often told his grandchildren should be. A world that would result if, as he said while taping a video for Roswell Park “you did your best, and you’re leaving back hopefully some good memories.”

Over the course of his cancer experience, I was able to hear that maniacal squeal from time to time, and it always made my heart glad when I did. Not because of the thing itself, but simply because of the peace I knew it allowed for my dad.

Sadly, as his condition worsened, the toy was left more and more alone, and though still ever present, wholly silent. As in the end, dad was still surrounded by love, but Joy and Peace had to momentarily step out of the room, to allow for his passing.

Dad is now free from his earthly bonds. Joy and Peace are once again his friends, worry and doubt, vanquished from his new life. I believe that he is with our brother Jesus – who is most likely even right now asking him to stop gassing up the joint.

And dad’s Happy Pill? Well thanks to mom, it now resides with me. Now, I know that we will all remember my dad in our own way. But for me, I plan on making that silly little toy laugh in remembrance of him, a strong willed man, a Good man who – for at least a brief spell – saw the world as it could be. And as the memories he left behind are many, and good, I plan on doing so often.

And I will start today.


19 thoughts on “Eulogy

  1. i couldn’t get through reading that without tearing, and can’t imagine saying it in front of loved ones about my own father. thank you so much for sharing. and that happy pill is downright maniacal! hah!

    • Thank you, and I must say, the only reason I was able to read it was that I never took my eyes off the page. Well, I did once, but quickly realized my error.

  2. This is so well said:
    “Great men quite often happen by mistake. Good men, always happen on purpose.”

    Laughter is good medicine, so I imagine that a “happy pill” that laughs “maniacally” will be a double dose of good medicine for you during those moments when you miss him and cannot rely on the slow rising and falling of his chest to comfort you.

    Many blessings m’Friend.

    • It is helping me quite a bit – can you believe I hug it? Odd, how something you intend to be a present for someone else can also end up being a gift to yourself.

      Thanks =)

  3. What a beautiful eulogy for your dad. I would have a tough time doing so, as I’m quite a crybaby and this would be a real test. I can see why that Happy Pill will remain with you. I have a glass paperweight I gave to my mother that I now keep in the light of the windowsill and always look at it as though looking at her.

    I’m glad you shared this with your readers. Thank you for trusting us with it.

    • Teresa, this lil blog community was one of the finest surprises of my life, and it’s my pleasure to be able to share and trust with you, as you do with me =]

  4. T, I am sorry for the loss. And thank you for sharing the eulogy. Not sure if it’s proper to say, but that was one helluva beautiful eulogy.

    You ruined my mascara. I hate. you.

  5. Reblogged this on as long as i'm singing and commented:

    It’s been 365 days now.
    365 days of fun and fuckery, of love and hate, of life and death. Of things going terribly and irreparably wrong, of putting my best foot forward (without always knowing why or what for), and of things finally starting to look up.
    365 days in which I was unable to share any of it with you. Being unable to ask you for advice (that I wouldn’t have taken anyway) or support (which I would’ve). I was unable, because even though you were “there” the whole while, you are still gone.
    It’s been 365 days now. And I still miss you Dad.

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