I know this sounds strange. Let me explain.
Once on a walk before Christmas I was contemplating new blog topics. One can only handle so many baby related updates and with running off the table for the time being I needed something new. With the crisp air blasting my nostrils and music streaming into my ears (and perhaps a back twitch or two) I started thinking about all the things I’d like my kids to know as they grew up.
And boom, there it was – an idea. I was a creative genius. (ha) I’d write regular posts about these things I have found important, things I’d want my kids to carry with them through life, starting January 1.
And then I never did.
I wrote last week about my grandfather passing. Though my aunt was the one who cared for him the most during his last years, she had asked my father to write his eulogy. My dad is a great writer and an excellent speaker so I was not at all surprised to hear this, in fact I would have been surprised if anyone else had done it. I ended up missing the funeral services. Once things were finalized it would have involved a great deal of travel over a 48 hour time period (either by plane or by car). It was ultimately decided that I should remain at home (I’ll admit a twin pregnancy has made a little more than the usual paranoid sometimes). I had said my goodbye at Christmas but it meant I missed the delivery of my grandfathers Eulogy. I asked him to email it to me.
I’ve not ever written one, but to me a Eulogy involves trying to take a persons life and condense it into a 5-10 minute speech, highlighting accomplishments, achievements, and the aspects of that persons personality that we appreciated the most. In other words: the important stuff. Still, no easy task.
The cool thing about this particular eulogy was that there was enough time for it to be written prior to his death as it was not sudden or unexpected. After he finished, during one visit with my grandfather, my dad read him his eulogy. Though he had been minimally responsive in general he grunted a couple of times, and in another instance my dad could see tears forming in his eyes. Over the phone I told my dad how cool I thought it was the he was able to hear these words before he left the earth, and how I think most of us wonder what others’ would say about us at our funerals when we are gone.
This morning I read my grandfathers Eulogy.
We all make mistakes in life – some huge, some not so huge, some not a big deal at all. When it comes down to it, though, what we typically remember are the things that made that person important to us. I realize there are exceptions to every rule but I feel like this fits the standard the majority of the time. The potentially sad part about it is that these great memories and appreciations are often left for after the person is no longer with us. I think my grandfather was lucky in that he was able to hear it before he left the earth – how many of us feel we are often under appreciated, when in fact it may be that we are greatly appreciated and just not told.
The term eulogy took a bit of a different meaning then – rather than appreciate the memory of someone, we should more often appreciate that person while they are still here. A compliment can go a long way. Appreciation can go even further. I promise I will never let either of you forget how important you are. I’m pretty sure your dad won’t either. I hope over the course of your lives you’ll take the time to give lots of compliments, many more hugs and lots of appreciation.
I hope you’ll write more eulogies.