Thursday, August 18, 2011

My personal eulogy

Daniel Lennon was 85 years old when he died.
He is survived by his three children, Andrea, Teresa, and Steven.
He is survived by his five grandchildren, Melissa, Samantha, Matthew, Steven, and Joseph.
He will be missed by many.
The day to remember and honor him is taking place tomorrow.
An 8am wake followed by a noontime mass and ending with a burial.
I've never been to a funeral before, and only seen 1 person no longer living face-to-face.
Sure, a mixture of fear, nerves, sadness, and longing are at the forefront of my mind now, only to be heightened tomorrow when I'm staring death squarely in the eyes.
I've spent the past few days immersing myself in the world that Danny Lennon made and passed down from generation to generation.
My father and Auntie Teresa took me on a tour of Newton, or "The Lake," their old stomping ground, as they call it.  I got to see my roots, my history.  Where my father and his family lived growing up.  Where my mother and her sisters lived.  Their schools, their hangouts, their favorite places to eat.  Places like "Palace Pizza" and "Golden Stah" that don't exist anymore, but whose buildings are still standing.  I got to see where the yearly fair was held when Grampa would give em all $5 to spend on candy and rides - "That was big bucks back then, Sissy," Dad says.  The spot where Dad got bit by a dog or where Auntie Teresa had her first kiss.  The window that Dad used to throw rocks at to get Mom to come down and sneak out with him.  Things that ultimately don't matter in the grand scheme of things, but if not for them, who knows if things would be as they are now.
Grampa made a home, one that's lasted the test of time.  One where people know each other and when somebody from that neighborhood dies, you bet your ass everyone makes a point to come pay their respects.
Magni funeral home, the same people who took care of Grandma when she passed fifteen years ago, they're taking care of Grampa too.  They'll be buried close to each other and for the first time ever, I'll get to say Hi to Grandma and see that they are finally reunited after all this time.
Grampa, well at least how I knew him, was never a man of many words.  He lived a simple life, didn't complain much, and when he spoke, you'd do best to pay attention because what he had to say was probably something worth listening to.  He always had a bright smile for us when we'd (rarely) come to visit, and I always remember he'd be more than happy to give out a hundred hugs or have me sit on his lap and soak up as much of my attention as I'd give him.  His crooked smile and hearty laugh always followed his dry sense of humor, which he passed down to my father, and then down to me.  You could always see him with a cold beer and suspenders, eager to keep himself busy doing something around the house.
I wanted deeply to be able to say, "Hey Grampa.  It's good to see you, it's been a while."  Though that opportunity didn't work out for me, I will get to see him off to his final resting place.  A place where God will keep him safe until it's time for him to be reunited with Grandma.  A place where he's no longer suffering and we're able to remember.  I don't want to greive for him, I want to honor him.  Pay testament to the man he was, the family he raised, and the legacy he set out for the people who came after him.
This will be one of the three readings at Mass tomorrow and it helps put things into perspective for me.  I hope by leaving it to you for a read that it might help you too. 

Romans 14: 7-9
"For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living."

We love you always Grampa and you'll be missed deeply.  Thanks for existing so that I can now.  Thanks for making a family that I'm a part of.  I hope to be able to create a legacy of my own some day that matches the one you're leaving behind.

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