Father

My father passed away recently. This is the eulogy I read at his funeral.

__________________

Thank you all for being here. I know my father would have been proud to know that he had so many dear friends.

I remember a conversation I had with my father recently, a part of which I would like to share with you. It was in regards to a favorite science fiction series of ours by Orson Scott Card, called the Ender series.

In this series there is a man named Andrew Wiggin, who as a young child unknowingly eliminated an entire alien race. To atone for his mistake, Andrew devotes the rest of his life to understanding both the alien species, and the humans which destroyed them. He calls himself the Speaker for the Dead, and travels the universe speaking for those who can no longer speak for themselves. His compassion and honesty inspire many others to follow in his footsteps.

These Speakers attempt to describe the life of the departed as he or she tried to live it. Their speeches are not given in order to persuade the audience to condemn or forgive those they are speaking for, but to attempt to understand the person as a whole, including their flaws or misdeeds.

This is what my father told me he wanted out of his funeral. He wanted us to share our stories, so that we might have a clearer picture of the man he was. He didn’t want his life sugarcoated. He wanted honesty. He wanted compassion. He wanted understanding.

So, what can I possibly say about a man like my father?

I can say he was human, and therefore imperfect. My father had many a dark day. These were hard times for our relationship, and for many years we weren’t terribly close.

But as I grew older, we began to close that gap. Through getting to know him, I began to feel that he wasn’t just my father, but also my friend. I came to realize that we were more alike than different, and I believe he felt the same of me. Near the end, my father and I saw each other for what we were, and despite the faults, despite the past disappointments, we approved of one another.

I still thought he was a shit, though. He could be so damn ornery! Just the last time I saw him he tried to trick me into thinking I had something on my shirt so he could flick my nose as if I were a three year old, the bastard.

I loved my father very much. And so I will not begrudge him in his passing. There is one thing that truly gives me comfort at this time, and it is that my father died happy.

Just last week we were able to spend some wonderful time with him, so he knew how much we all loved him. He was also so looking forward to having the family together for Thanksgiving.

My father was looking forward to being alive.

Knowing my father during some of his darker days, I know just how precious a gift that was to him. So, as sad as it is that he won’t be able to live that life he was looking forward to, and that he won’t be able to share it with us, I am very grateful that my father went out on a high note.

My father died happy, and that is all anyone could ever ask for.

 

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