From the heart

 

Today I have added another word to my English vocabulary: Eulogy. Even more than the word, as of today I have added the experience of writing and delivering one.

It started with the minister asking whether someone was going to speak at my father in law’s memorial service. I hadn’t even thought about it, despite the obvious circumstances. It was up to his sons or best friends, after all, I had just been added to the family by marriage.

On the ride home I noticed that in my head I was already writing one, and by the time we arrived at our house and his sons coming to terms with not feeling comfortable or strong enough to say a few words, I had changed my mind. I didn’t have to capture who Eric was to everybody else, as everybody already knew that. All I had to do, was share who he was to me and say thank you.

I awoke this morning at around 5.30am without an alarm clock and knew it was the perfect time to write down what I felt. The minister had shared his experience of delivering his own father in law’s eulogy and suggested to have it written out, as emotions tend to take over the memory of what one was intending to say.

While letting the lines pour from my system, so did the tears, some flavoured with sweet happiness and gratefullness others with salty sadness. I am still surprised how easy it was.

During the visitation period I grew a little nervous. Most of the present people had known Eric longer and better than I did, had their own experiences and memories. What if I didn’t do him justice? What if I offended them by telling my side? I pushed those thoughts aside and thought about Eric. I was confident that he’d understand and that was all that mattered.

The minister threw me off by calling me up before he delivered his ceremony, which in hindsight was a good thing, as it helped me take in his words later. Obviously caught off guard,  I introduced myself as Eric’s granddaughter, and with that having gotten the awkward moment out of way, I started speaking.

My biggest worry was that I would sound fake. Although I knew that the written words were heartfelt, public speaking challenges could turn the delivery into something else. I also worried that I would start crying and be unable to finish.

But none of that happened (ya,yah, I know). And as I shared my memories with family and friends present, we recognised what we all had in common: a person we all cared about, for different and similar reasons, for longer and shorter times. As I sat back down, there was no critism that could have taken away that feeling of having done the right thing in the best possible way.

Meanwhile thankful for knowing that Eric had heard me, I wasn’t prepared for what took place after the service. People I hardly new or had just met for the very first time came up to me with tears in their eyes, thanking me for having delivered beautiful and moving words. “Eric would have liked that very much” one of his friends since high school said.

So as I am sitting here, with the evening sun streaming through the window, I let the day’s events pass by one more time. A google search for the word “Eulogy” brings up an array of websites selling advice on how to “deliver a loving Eulogy” or even better offering ready to download “Eulogies for every occasion that will touch the hearts”  for various dollar amounts.

And while I question why it never occurred to me to search the internet for help, the answer comes back immediately:

My heart had something to say, and like anything that comes from the heart, it can never be beaten by something other than that, especially not something one has to pay for. So as I close these lines, I hope that other people will speak from their heart more often, not just at memorial services, but whenever they feel it. Because if I could get up today and make that speech, so can you. You just have to trust that heartfelt words will always be understood.

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~ by spasmicallyperfect on August 15, 2006.

One Response to “From the heart”

  1. …I noticed that in my head I was already writing one…
    I do this all the time.
    This post reminds me of how it feels when we, as writers, “open a vein”.
    I’ve written many posts this way and the creative process still continues to astound me. Great post.

    ~m

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