Two weeks ago today, my father died unexpectedly. My sister and I, along with our husbands and children, were vacationing together in Breckenridge, Colorado, when we received the news from our shocked, grieving mom.
About a week before he died, I told my dad about my intention to start freelance writing when I returned from Colorado. I’ve been 100% focused on my kids since 2010 and it is high time I start using my brain in other ways again. This site is in its absolute infancy, and I never intended to release it until I had accumulated more writing samples, published a fee schedule, and written more than two sentences in my “About Me” section. I certainly never intended on my first post being the eulogy I gave at my father’s funeral, but I feel compelled to share on this anniversary. I hope you will stick with me, and with my site, as it evolves.
I still cannot believe I managed to speak at my dad’s memorial service without completely falling apart. Here is what I said:
For those who don’t know me, I’m Wayne’s youngest daughter, Lara. It will be a miracle if I get through this without crying, so please bear with me. I wanted to speak today because I want you to know some things about my dad.
I talk to my dad almost every day. He was madly in love with his grandkids, and I’m a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t get a ton of adult interaction during the day, so I’d call my parents pretty much any time one of my kids did something funny or cool or different. I’d call my dad’s number and he’d say, “How’re the stinkers?” or “How’s Robert-bo-bobert?” or “What kind of trouble has Jonah gotten into today?” I’d tell him the story of the day, and he’d laugh and then say, “Hold on, I’ve got to go tell your mom. Trisha! Robert got into Lara’s makeup and put mascara on his cheeks again!” Then, he and mom would laugh, we’d chatter a bit, tell each other I love you, and hang up. A lot of times, though, he’d have a story to tell as well, and I’d listen to that, too…which brings me to one of the main things I want you to know about my dad.
Mostly, I want you to know this: You were important to him. All of you. I know you’re here because he meant something to you, but I want you to know you meant something to him, too. You all know how much my dad loved to tell stories. Well, if you’re sitting in this room, he has probably told me, my sister, or my mom a story about you. You probably did something funny, or said something inspiring, or goofed around with him when y’all were kids, or did something impressive. If you went to school with me or Lisa, he asked us what you were up to now or if we had talked to you lately or how old your kids were. It’s obvious, from the outpouring of support our family has received upon his death, that my dad was important to a lot of people, but I want you guys to know that you were important to him, too.
The other thing I want you to know about my dad is he was happy. Genuinely, truly happy. He adored my mom. He loved me and my sister. He loved his grandkids. He loved his work and his friends and meeting new people and helping people and traveling. He loved using that incredible mind of his. He loved a good joke. Actually, he loved a bad joke, too, and then if you laughed at him for thinking his bad joke was funny, he thought you were laughing at the joke itself and he’d tell it again. He was happy to wake up in the morning and he was happy to come home, have dinner with my mom, read the paper, watch some truly terrible TV, and go to bed and do it all again the next day.
I’ve pretty much thought about nothing but my parents these past few days, and the thing I keep marveling at is how happy my dad consistently seemed. And I think we should all take a lesson from Wayne Armstrong and take a good look at our own lives. If there’s anything that doesn’t make us happy, then we should change it, or find a way to change our perspective on it. These beautiful, wonderful lives of ours are just too short not to.
I’ve spoken too long already, so I’ll end with this: my dad was one of the best, smartest, kindest, funniest, most generous, most compassionate people I will ever know, and I am going to miss him every day of my life.
11 thoughts on “Eulogy for My Father”
Loved it. Beautiful way to begin.
You did a wonderful job, writing this, being able to deliver it, and including others in an important way. It is important that we go through certain steps in our grief process. I learned from experience that writing was a great way for me to let go of my sorrow and pain. Writing gives us that avenue to let it be okay to think or feel a certain feeling. You will go through so many stages in this journey. Sometimes we just go with the flow and let our thoughts lead wherever they seem to wander. After Cathy’s dad died I started writing a journal. I ran across it several years ago and was surprised that I could actually see where my path to overcoming intense grief led me. It was many years before I begin to feel like my old self. After 12 years of being single again, I met a wonderful man and my life has been fabulous. I still remember those early years though and my heart is heavy for your mother. It is so difficult to lose someone who means the world to you. Continue to write, Lara. In its self it is a healing process. Bless you and Lisa as you learn to go forward being a support for your dear mother. You are so fortunate that you had a dad like your dad. Many kids do not. What a fantastic dad he was! Cherish the memories. Love to you.
Beautiful. I wanted to speak at my father’s service, I couldn’t, I knew I couldn’t make it through. Well done, well written. I read this and it brought tears to my eyes. Your father is watching over you and your family smiling. A proud man.
this was beautiful and heartfelt, laa! So many of the words you used to describe your father are words I would use to describe you. He has truly left a wonderful legacy in you. My heart aches for you and such an incredible loss. I love you dearly.
Your words are absolutely perfect. Your strength is inspiring. Write on, friend.
Lara, I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I am praying for your family and will continue to do so. Thank you for having the bravery to share this at his service and to share it again here. I know he is very proud of you.
Beautifully written about an amazing man! Thank you for sharing this, Lara
Your dad was very special to me, and he always spoke so highly of you girls and your mom! I’m so sorry for your loss. Your dad lives on through you- and your gift of words. Best wishes. Susie
Amazing job, Lara.
Lara, that was truly beautiful.
I am looking forward to expressions of your talent.
Lara, I’m so sorry for your loss and I’m truly sorry I never got to meet your Dad. But I know you, and the man you have described sounds just like the beautiful and exuberant woman I know you to be… Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I pray for you that you find evidence every day that he is still with you and that you don’t stop sharing all the daily joys and challenges with your children even though you no longer need a phone to talk to him. Blessings to you all!