Why do we wait to tell our family and friends memorable things until AFTER they have left this world, when we could and should tell them BEFORE they leave? When it matters, when it can make them feel good, when they could hear what an incredible impact they have made on the world. If you need an excuse, there’s a perfect time, just a few days away. So here’s my eulogy to my living friend.
Thanksgiving brings up all sorts of feelings for me each year, the obvious ones being thankful for everything and everyone in my life. This year, though, will be different; my brother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer last spring. The doctors gave him a timeline – one year no treatment, two years aggressive treatment. But knowing him, the fighter that he is, I’m not sure “terminal” was the correct word. The latest scans show the spots on his liver are gone and the cancer in his intestine hasn’t grown.
During our talks this year we’ve kidded about how he’d like to review what’s said at his funeral since he supposedly has an expiration date… well that’s what HE thought. So I got to thinking, since he knows I’m not fond of funerals, I’d like to give his eulogy, during this season of Thanks. I’m sure it will be decades before his departure, but I think he needs to hear what I’d say.
This is for Tim, my dear friend.
Tim, I know we’ve spoken and laughed, on how you’d like to review what’s said at your funeral, so here it is…
We were friends before you met my sister. Even then you had an old spirit, a wise one. I drove the tractor while you and Carlton baled the hay and afterwards we’d listen to your dad tell stories in the barn while he milked the cows.
I loved being a part of your marriage to my sister and rejoiced at the births of your three beautiful sons and three precious grandchildren.
Yours and Cindy’s house was always the Kool-Aid house to me. A place where everyone liked to come, have family dinners and hang out. And although you battled Crohn’s disease your whole life and missed out on most of the foods we take for granted, your enjoyment for what you could eat was inspiring.
We’ve shared births, weddings, and deaths but most of all we’ve shared stories. We have laughed till we cried and no one will ever enjoy my martini olives the way you did!
When Jeff couldn’t get home in time, you and Cindy were my lifesavers. She took care of Alex, who was 3 years old and Emma only 4 weeks while you rushed me to the hospital. You made me laugh the whole time which was not easy as I was in the midst of appendicitis.
Seeing your reaction to the Grand Canyon brought tears to my eyes and our trip to the “House on the Rock,” which we confused with Frank Lloyd’s Wright’s Taliesin, will be in the top 5 trips of laughter. This miscalculation is where I learned that you knew the capital of every state.
You are an incredible example to your children and grandchildren because of your faith, your work ethic, your marriage and your belief that the Cubs may one day win the Series – man you were really close in 2015. You have worked with a smile on your face, six days a week for your entire life, to give your family everything you could.
God has given you the greenest thumb of anyone I’ve ever known, as witnessed by your violets and every plant you’ve ever touched. I hope everyone will remember that you were an incredible baseball player, a devout Catholic; you loved old westerns, sweet treat, pheasants, pelicans the Cubs and the Bears.
My dear friend, you have been an incredible husband to my sister. You have made her laugh; you have surprised her, supported her, and loved her through the tough times. You have been her friend, which was the MOST important thing.
So, my beloved friend, enjoy eating and drinking and planting gardens without pain and send a few hitters to the North Side once you’re settled in.
You will be welcomed home as your journey ends here, because you were only on loan to us, showing us how it should be done. Heaven wants you back, dear one, sooner than we would like, sooner than we would like…
All my love, your sister-in-law and friend,
With Gratitude and Thanks for the loved ones that surround us this Thanksgiving