Sunday, 31 October 2010

Eulogies for our fathers

When my father dies in July 2002, I wrote a eulogy which I read at his funeral. When Marilyn's father died this month (October 2010), I thought about what I would say about him and then after the funeral, I wrote a eulogy. After 35 years of knowing Marilyn's dad, he was as much a father figure to me as my own father.

Eulogy to my father

Well dad, I thought I would take this time to thank you for what you have passed on to me.
The first of these is the receding hair line.
The clean shaven look is fashionable among the sporting set.
I didn't inherit your enthusiasm for fishing or gardening.
However, I still enjoy playing on the river banks and cutting up the ground on the mountain bike.
I hope I have inherited your faith and your ability to communicate.
I also think of your patience and faithfulness. I really appreciate the fact that you were always there for us.
How many times have you accepted my mistakes and gently advised me of what I could do.
I remember the long conversations that we have had on a wide range of topics.
I might have the degree but you have taught me that qualifications and positions of status mean little.
Your wisdom comes from experience and your faith in God.
Your status comes from humility and a willingness to serve.
I am sorry that my opportunities to learn from you have come to an end.
However, there are lots of memories

  • the holidays in the VW combie
  • the trips in the milk and bread trucks
  • the fruit purchasing journeys through central Otago
  • the annual visits even though it meant a journey the length of New Zealand (we did observer that it was always June or July to avoid the Southland cold)
  • the walks and talks

Now your time on earth has come to an end
But I know that although over the last month it has been difficult, the suffering has not been long.
Now you are at rest with your God.
God bless. Thanks Dad. Good-bye.

Eulogy to Marilyn's father

Farewell dad, you were more than a father-in-law.
It took some tine to get to the point where I could call you dad but that was more the way I viewed the relationship than anything that you did.

As I reflect, I think of times that we talked or did things together.

Sometimes around your interests – the Dairy Board papers you asked me to review, or the wood turning in the workshop, or the model trains, of the cattle you wanted us to see, or taking us out fishing on Lake Taupo.

But you also took an interest in our interests – finding the Marton velodrome that was long past being usable, going to the Feilding cycle track, looking over photos that I had taken.

There were times when we talked about the histories that you were writing and worked on ensuring the computer worked in a way that you were comfortable with it.

There were the times at the holiday houses and the exploration journeys where you wanted to share the things that you loved.
But you also participated in our celebrations – attending graduations, taking an interest in our travels, listening to our analysis of organisations.

Despite us upsetting your plans for a big wedding for Marilyn, you accepted me in to your family so that it became my family.

The shrunken body in the casket wasn't you. You are the big man with the big heart. You cared for each of us and worked to bring the family together.

There is much that I remember of the times that we shared. There are many reminders of the relationship we shared.

Finally our distance away from Kiwi shores meant that I wasn't there to say a final farewell but be assured you will not be forgotten. You always will be a father to me.