The Eulogy

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PostPosted: March 16, 2006 03:50 PM 

Below is the eulogy from the funeral mass. This was what I had written beforehand, and the actual eulogy varied from this a little. Most of it is comprised of stories shared by my family about my father. You may recognize some of the stories as ones posted previously by my brother and sisters.

Above all else, my father was a man who truly loved his family. He devoted his life to us, doing whatever he could to make our lives better and happier. He was always this way, from the moment he met my mother, through our childhood, our teenage years, and our adult years. He always stood behind us, supported, guided, and helped us in any way he could. He helps us in play, in schoolwork, in sports, and transition to adulthood. Through the ups and downs of growing up, his love and support was constant and unwavering. There is no better way to convey this, than through the stories of my family members.

My mother remembers how caring my father was, from the very beginning, soon after they met while working at the same hotel in Bermuda, before they started dating:

"In Bermuda, I used to go out to the Badminton Club in the evenings, and, I'd have a brandy (and a couple of beers), and then I would drive home later. And the next day, I would meet Ted and he would say that he saw me winding up the driveway, that he had stayed up to make sure that I arrived home safely. And that really touched my heart, that someone would care enough to make sure I made it home safely".

This caring would continue through courtship and 33 years of marriage.

In addition to caring for us, my father always knew how to make us laugh and smile. My brother Frank recounts to the following story:

There are many great things I will always remember about my father. One of which was his gift at story telling. The following is what I consider to be my dad's go-to funny joke/story (due to its length! Haha!).

"One day the big animals and the little animals decided to have a football game. The big animals team consisted on large mammals such as bears and horses, and the small animals team was comprised of insects, such as flies and beetles. As the first half of the game progressed, the big animals were scoring at will. They were much faster and stronger than the insects. Every time the big animals got the ball, they would easily run it in for a touchdown. The big animals had a large lead after the first half.

But then came the second half...

In the first play, the elephant ran the ball up the middle and WAP!! He was tackled by an unseen opponent for a five yard loss.

The little animals went back to the huddle cheering and congratulating each other in amazement.

"Who made that tackle?" asked the ant.

"I did," said the centipede.

In the second play, the rhinoceros ran with the ball up the right side. WHOMP!! He too was tackled for another five yard loss.

Back in the huddle the flea asked, "Who made that great stop?"

"I did," said the centipede.

In the third play, the gorilla tried an end sweep, led by the hippo throwing the lead blocks. SMACK!! Centipede tackles him for a ten yard loss.

On offense, it was the same story. The little animals scored touchdown after touchdown, each scored by the centipede with incredible speed and ability. In the end, the little animals were victorious.

During the celebrations that ensued, the small animals were confused, and asked the centipede, "You played great, but where were you in the first half of the game?"

The centipede replied, "Puttin' on my boots, my boots, my boots, my boots, my boots…."

The first time I heard this joke I didn't laugh and commented to him that "I listened to this whole story and THAT was the punch-line!" Now when I hear the joke it not only makes me laugh but it also makes me smile.

In addition to making us smile and laugh, our father also taught us many things. My sister Sandra recalls the following story:

Since I was a young child my dad would take me down to the park to practice baseball. As a former pitcher himself, he would teach me his special pitch, "the T-C Special". On one particular occasion when I was older, we were at the local diamond and I was practicing my drop curve. Dad was never a catcher as he would say, and instead of focusing on catching the ball, dad was intent on watching the spin of my pitch. On one occasion, the ball dropped just beneath his glove and bounced off the edge of the plate and knocked out one of his teeth! He insisted in making me continue practicing my pitching, even while he was bleeding with no tooth. As a proud father, my dad went a whole year with his tooth missing. I remember him saying to people -- while pointing to his missing tooth, "look at what my daughter did". Even though he looked silly, he was so proud of his daughter the pitcher, that knocked his tooth out. My father's last words to me were that, "you're a sweet kid, but you always threw like a girl."

My sister Tara tells the following story about our father's gentle and supportive way:

"Roots and Wings" is a phrase I heard once to describe a parenting style. And in my opinion nothing sums up my father's gentle way better than this! Together with my Mom they instilled in us strong roots, the door to home was always opened and always a soft place to fall if we needed it. But he also believed we needed wings, to venture out into the world and make a place for ourselves, a place we felt safe in, no matter where that place was, he was always proud! A few weeks ago my Mom and Dad joined us at our home for a meal, something we did quite often. And during this meal, his grand-daughter Adriana, fondly referred to as "Sweet-stuff" by her T-pa, found herself more interested in playing than eating... something that also happens quite often. In front of her she had a plate of food, a sippy cup of juice and a big girl glass of Milk just like her T-pa. During This particular meal Adriana was desperate to mix her milk and juice together. As a natural reaction -- knowing how poorly that combination would taste -- I told her "no", that she would not like the flavour combination but that she could drink each separately. When the meal had ended Dad gently suggested that now that we were all finished eating that I allow her, to make the Milk/Juice combo special -- That it was important for her to figure out certain things for herself! I agreed, we mixed the two cups together and Adriana had a taste... Her response, so full of pride was "tastey… thank you T-pa". Throughout life Dad allowed us to make choices for ourselves even though he often didn't understand them or agree with them... He insisted that we find our place... he knew that someday he wouldn't be here to make those decisions for us. So he helped guide and strengthen us, while he was here... "You need not worry Dad you did a good job... even if I have to say so, myself!"

The story that would like to share is from when I was a tiny baby - but I don't remember my father from those years, I was too young. Naturally, we don't remember much from the first few years of our lives. In my early years as a baby and infant, I don't have many memories of our dad, apart from a few fleeting moments. In the past two years, however, I think we have all seen a window into what he must have been like during that time. We have recently seen the joy and happiness is his eyes as he greeted, and played, with his grand-daughter Adriana. I believe that this is how he must have been, when each of us were very little. During this time of much pain, discomfort, and sickness, Adriana provided a special gift of joy and happiness to her T-pa - a precious gift that she will not understand until she is older. When I think of the happiness - and the sparkle in his eyes - that my father experienced when spending time with his granddaughter, I see how he was when Sandy, Frank, Tara, and I were very young - the joy and love he felt for his children and his family, a love that would manifest itself in many different ways as we grew from babies to children, from children to teenagers, and from teenagers to adults.

Above all else, my father was a man who loved his family.

I would like to thank all of our friends and family who have supported and helped us in recent days, to those who have sent kind wishes and warm food. We would like to thank everyone who prayed for my father, including numerous prayer groups everywhere. Thank you to Father Tobin for being there for our family, for visting us on several occasions and helping us through this difficult time. And finally, a special thanks to Father Wayne and St Marguerite D'Youville parish for making available to the church hall in the basement after the mass. We invite all of you to join us downstairs, to celebrate the life of a man you truly and deeply, love his family.

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