My mother died in 1989. At her funeral, my sister and brother-in-law came up to me, handed me a sheet of paper, and told me to read the eulogy, because my dad was too broken up to do it. I looked over what they had written, and it was fine, but not what I would have done for my mom. I took the 20 minutes before I had to get up to make some changes, but I always felt that I missed an opportunity to say the goodbye that would have come from my heart. I don’t even have the words that I spoke that day, as they were typed on a manual typewriter and lost.
That started a bit of a family tradition; since I’m “the writer in the family,” I was asked to write and deliver the eulogy for my other sister, Pattie, when she died unexpectedly in February of 1998. I felt much better afterwards; I think that I did her proud.
My grandmother Mae died in December of 2000, and I got the call again. Thanks to Dori for her help on this one.
And I finally got to say a proper farewell to my mother; I wrote a blog post about her on the twenty-year anniversary of her death.
Perhaps the most difficult of all of these eulogies came in September 2013, delivered about two weeks after my father died. We had a memorial service the evening before the funeral, and I delivered slightly different versions of these remarks at both. This text is from my dad’s funeral. After that ceremony, he was interred with military honors, as was his right as a WWII Navy veteran.