Text of eulogy for my dad.

I want to say first, thank you for being here to celebrate my father’s life.  As the poet Khalil Gibran wrote, “You would know the secret of death.  But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?”

 

He is right.  Death is impossible to understand by itself, unless we understand it as something defeated.  It is defeated by the life we all remember, and we remember my father as so many things: a man of the world, a consummate businessman, a man who would always choose what is right over what is easy, the most loving and fun dad that two kids could ever wish for.  Most of you know that my dad never got terribly flustered by anything — he once was upgraded to business class on British Air for being such a cool customer during a two-day delay — and he would just tell the story of what happened to him with his inimitable, gentle irony.  So in the last couple of days after his sudden departure, I’ve been unable to shake the feeling that he will be at the kitchen table the next morning drinking coffee, and saying of his passing: “Wow, that was weird.”

 

These memories ensure that, for us, he will never truly be gone.  But these memories depend upon our own existences, which are as tenuous as his was.  I know that my dad’s true hope was in something beyond just the remembrance we give him today.  In the Gospels, Christ tells us that “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  Once again, we can only understand death in its relation to life: it is the beginning of something infinitely greater than the life we have known.  We down here cannot know what that country is like, but my dad knows.  The last time I spoke with him on the phone, he sounded truly happy; he sounded like a man who understood the way the world works.  How beautiful it is to think that that was not his final happiness, but rather a mere foretaste.  

 

I wish we could do him justice with our words, but I know it is impossible.  So I will leave you with the last thing my father ever wrote to me, in a perfectly businesslike email: “adios mi amigos.”  It’s in the plural, so I like to think it was for all of us.  Please remember him in your prayers.  Thank you.

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17 responses to “Text of eulogy for my dad.

  1. Robert, I’ve dipped into your blog from time to time and enjoyed it, especially my own remembrances from teaching freshman comp as a grad student (FSU). 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your eulogy of your dad. As one of the “Classed aunties” I am praying for you and Connor (got to meet him and your mom when they visited GCC last spring).

  2. Robert,

    This is beautiful. You’re in my prayers.

    -Alan

  3. Robert,

    I am praying for you and Connor. Thank you for sharing the eulogy with us.

    Becki, from Classed

  4. Sheila, from Classed

    Robert,
    I too am praying for you and Connor. Praying that God will give you the ‘peace that passes all understanding’ as you grieve your father.
    Sheila

  5. Robert,
    Thank you for sharing this with us. I have prayed for you and Connor much over these last months, and will continue to do so. I thank God for your father’s legacy, and pray that God will make Himself all the clearer to you and Connor in these days ahead. May He bless you with peace.
    Susan in GA, from Classed

  6. Dear Robert,

    Your post made me cry, so thank you so very much. Your dad sounded like one incredible man. I am married to man that is incredible, so your post made me appreciate him a bit more now.

    Our family is just north of you, near Tyler, TX, if you ever need a family to visit. I love to cook, so take that as a hint for meals and snacks in Hideaway, TX.

  7. Laura from Classed

    Dear Robert,
    My heart breaks for you and Connor. However, I know you can look forward to that glorious day when you meet your father again. Thank you for the eulogy. It was beautiful.

  8. Robert, we’ve been praying with heavy hearts for you and Connor over the last few months and even more fervently since we received this news on Sunday. May the Lord comfort you through this valley.

    Lynne Spear, yet another ClassEd ‘aunt’

  9. Patricia from classed

    Robert, thank you for sharing this. Our family has grieved along with you during this difficult time, and we continue to pray.

  10. I am sure these words would have pleased your father, Robert. Thank you for sharing them with us. Know that many of us are continuing to lift you in prayer as you have many decisions ahead, and a semester to finish up. We are praying for your comfort, peace, and guidance. The Lord is able to carry you even through such times as these.

    With much love and a heavy heart-
    Chris and Dave Finnegan in NM, another ClassEd family

  11. Robert,
    As many other classed ladies have already said, I want to express how sorry I am for your loss. I want you to know that we are praying for you and Connor. The way you are choosing to remember your dad is beautiful. I enjoyed reading the eulogy. It paints a wonderful picture of your father.

    Andie Menchaca, another classed friend

  12. Robert,
    I love the image you created of death defeated in our minds by the memories we have and the reality of death defeated by Christ. I’m so sorry for your pain. My prayers are with you and Connor and will continue to be.
    Carol Morehart, a ClassEd friend

  13. Robert,

    May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the joy of the Lord be your strength now and always.

    In Him, Lucy from Classed

  14. Robert, I am so very sorry for your loss. I only met your father once, and then only briefly, but even in that his gentle, caring, affable spirit was evident. May our God comfort you in your loss; I am praying for you and for Connor.

    Melissa, from Classed

  15. Dear Robert,
    It was a joy to know your dad and a blessing to attend his memorial. May God be praised and may you proudly carry your heritage and son of a man who loved his Lord.

    Praying for you and Connor,
    The Cole Family of Westminster

  16. Robert, I’m praying for y’all. I wish I could have met your dad.
    ~Kait

  17. This is beautiful, Robert. Thanks for sharing.

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