March 20th, 2019

Eulogy for my Father

My Dad’s last day on this planet was March 6, 2019. I had him in my life for 55 years. It was a great blessing and it was not long enough. My sister and brother and I spoke at his memorial service on March 16 and I have had some people ask me about my speech. I’m sharing it here for those people, and also because I want the world to understand what an incredible man my father was. This is a big hurt. It is a different grief than I have experienced before, and I have not yet arrived at a new normal. I feel all of the prayers and wishes and am so thankful for my circle of people.

At Dad’s service my brother and sister both told stories about Dad that I had not heard before. They were small moments, that now are big moments. My brother told of a time Dad threw him in the pool and he sank to the bottom- where he kicked off. My sister told of a time Dad was waiting with his hand outstretched to help her. I treasure both of their stories because now I have those memories of Dad to add to the trove of wonderful things I will always remember. Dad really did teach us to kick off when we reached bottom, and he was also there holding out a hand to help.

So here is my eulogy for Dad. For those of you who knew him, I think you will smile at these stories, and for those of you who didn’t, I’m sorry you missed out on knowing such an exceptional human being. Dad really lived, and he taught us to do the same. He did not waste his time here. I do not plan to waste mine.

Eulogy for My Dad

I have so many great memories of Dad. He gave me a lot of good advice over the years. He told me to trust myself. He told me life could be hard but it was worth it. And he told me that if you argue about furniture long enough when you are getting a divorce, that the only person who will be able to afford a new couch will be your lawyer.

No offense to any attorneys present.

Dad also told me that if anyone was ever trying to hurt me, I should do whatever I needed to do to keep myself safe, including running the person over in my big old car.

That car was a 1966 Chevy Bel Aire that we towed home from my grandparent’s barn when I was 16. Dad fixed it, of course, and as he worked on it I stood and watched. He told me, “You know Sherry, this car has air conditioning.” I was shocked because the car didn’t have a radio, or power windows, or seat covers, or even very much paint. So I said, “It does!?” Dad replied, “Yes! It has 460 air conditioning.” I asked excitedly, “What’s 460 air conditioning!?” Dad said, “You roll down all 4 windows, hit 60 miles an hours, BAM, air conditioning.”

Dad taught us to be independent, but he also saved us. I remember him running into the ocean with a sand pail to scoop up a big jellyfish that we thought was a balloon, and then carrying it to the sand where we could study it safely.

Another time when I cut my foot open in a lake, he ran into the water fully clothed, scooped me up and put me in the car to take me to get stitched up.

And when I was little in the hospital and terrified during a procedure I had to be awake for, I screamed so long and loud for my dad, that they let him scrub in and come hold my hand. After that, I wasn’t afraid anymore. I knew I would be safe no matter what because my dad was there.

Full disclosure, I also had to bite one of the doctors, but it was worth it.

Over the years I called Dad with lots of questions- we all did. I remember one time I was watching a baseball game and the catcher made this beautiful throw from home plate, past the pitcher’s mound, all the way to second base. I called Dad and told him about it and then asked, “How far was that Dad?” He said, “Well Sherry, a baseball diamond is a square and it is 90 feet between all the bases- from home to 1st, 1st to 2nd, 2nd to 3rd and 3rd to home.” I waited. You see sometimes when you asked Dad a question, you got bonus information. But he didn’t say anything else so I asked again, “But Dad, what about from home plate to second?” Dad replied, “You already have all the information you need to figure that out.” I thought for a minute and then told him I was going to need a hint. He said, “Home plate, 1st and 2nd are points on a right triangle. You know the length of two of the sides. If you want the third side just use the Pythagorean Theorum!”

So, I did. It’s about 127 feet by the way.

The last time I called Dad was February 9th. I had a question about binary code. That seems fitting because so much of life seems like it is written in code, and Dad helped us figure a lot of that out.

We finished talking and Dad told me he would see me soon.
I am going to have to wait longer than I planned for that meeting, but I know I will see him again. I have so much more I want to talk to him about. But for now, I will just say, I love you Dad. I will miss you every day.