My Uncle asked me to write his eulogy. This was an incredible 18 mos journey for me.
|My Uncle Frank :
A man of incredible faith and enlightenment. Over 18 months ago he asked me to write this eulogy for him. I have to say it was an awkward request. Awkward for me in that I did not want to be thinking about his death. Awkward also because I was writing it along with him while he was alive. But to my Uncle it was not awkward. It was real. It was natural. To Frank his request to me verified his deep belief in Christ and in heaven. He was preparing for a journey. Like preparing for a trip, he gathered his thoughts and asked me to help him out before he departed.
I could take this as an opportunity to recount all of the treasured memories that we have shared with my Uncle Frank and my cousins and Aunts and Uncles throughout the years. We could discuss for the next 50 yrs all of the times we shared a laugh with him, and we have the pictures and movies as evidence of his memorable life! I lived the truest definition of “extended family” through my Uncle Frank, Aunt Barb, and cousins Melissa, Manny, Mary and Linny. We shared many joyous occasions, along with all of our cousins and to this day we literally bend over in laughter recalling the many memories. We also sustained many blows over the years. But always we had one another. And always Uncle Frank was able to interject the idea of faith. The idea of compassion. The idea of family. The idea of forgiveness. The idea of surrendering ones own fears for the love of God. His way of blessing us with this incredible knowledge was not through words so much as through our own observations of him. He lived his faith. And from what I witnessed as he laid dying, he lived his faith to the very end.
What I believe Frank would want me to say today is not so much to exalt his life and good deeds, though we know they are many. What I believe we ought to contemplate or at least be willing to open our minds to are the concepts of faith and love that he lived so well.
Uncle Frank was a man of faith. What does that mean for you? Do you have faith? Or do you have what is called “blind faith”? Blind faith is trusting your own senses, your own perceptions, your own culture and thoughts completely and one-pointedly and blindly. Do you trust your own self more concretely than you trust in God? When you look into the eyes of your children or loved ones you know and have faith in the love that you have for them. That faith and love that you feel is in your soul. Do you also have that same soul faith in God? Is it strong enough to sustain you through loss, suffering and grief? Just as you could never waiver from the love you may have for your own child, would you waiver from the love of God if times were grim? Of course loving your child is a tangible thing. They are physical. They are here. They are, what you believe, to be yours. Your child. Your loved one. At some point in time we all lost the realization that we are children of God. None of us belong to one another. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. Gifts to one another, to be borrowed and someday to be returned. Uncle Frank loved his children and wife and grandchildren just as he loved Christ. He did not fear death, it was simply and naturally his next journey.
During the last 6 mos of his life I watched my Uncle struggle. I saw the stress of his condition on the faces of my cousins and my wonderful Aunt Barb. He once said in private to me- and I quote-
“You get to the point where I am at now and you realize that all you can do to get through each hour surrounded by these four walls is to have faith.”
After he said this to me it hit me. I am witnessing a living Christ. For even Christ in his final days had fear and sadness. As Frank’s health worsened, I observed miracles in my family. Through this living Christ, my Uncle Frank, our family bonds strengthened. Family breaks were mended. Misunderstanding were wiped clean. It was as if each day a bit of the light of his own faith transferred over to each of our private lives. With each exhale, seeds of his love and faith were being sowed back into our hearts slowly, one by one.
My dear family and friends we witnessed God’s work through Uncle Franks final days. Through his suffering we each spent time to ourselves re thinking our own faith and beliefs. We opened doors in our minds that have been shut so tightly for so many years. We tore down walls from our hearts and we felt his pain. Through his transition from life to death we were given an enlightenment from God Himself. That enlightenment is Franks second directive to you all.
Love. Love is what matters the most. Family and friends are to be cherished and held closely. We are all on the same journey and we will all have similar endings. Ask yourself, do you have what it takes?
Uncle Frank was surrounded by all the love and warmth that he gave throughout his life during his final hours. I am sure that his death was more of a homecoming to a place that he already knew in his heart while he was here on earth. We were blessed to have among us one who could awaken our souls from our daily living and ignite our hearts with love and compassions and forgiveness for one another simply through the way he lived.
I will miss his voice and inspiring words of wisdom. I considered him my spiritual advisor, and now he remains that in a more dynamic way. For this I am grateful.
Manny, you’re the man of the “house” now! The walking stick is passed to you cousin. You have all of his talent and humor. You are his son.
When you need him know Manny that you can look to the sky or look into your son Kurt's eyes and he is there. Right there. Always Manny.
Melissa, you are his baby girl forever. He waited for you to come before he passed. He saw you. He felt you. And he always loved you. He is your guardian angel. Know that in your heart.
Mary, you are his soul-mate daughter. His heart is forever bound to yours. A love like that will never disappear. It can only get stronger. He is your mystical father now. He can do amazing things for you and your family. You’ve got clout Mary! You’ve got “people” and they are all there for you.
Aunt Barb, you are the truest testament to strength, humility, courage and love. It is no wonder that you & Uncle Frank found each other! You are matches truly made in heaven. I am blessed to have witnessed your strength and courage these past years. You modeled for us all the true labor of love. I don’t need to say to you that Uncle Frank is with you because you already know that. He loved and honored you Aunt Barb to his death. And now he will always be there for you. And so will all of us.
Not only was he your grandfather but he was your father. His love could accommodate playing both parts for you. He loves you and sees great things for you in your life Linny. He is amazed at your talents and considers all that you do pure perfection, straight from God above. Your grandpa is always in your heart. In every note you sing. Send him your songs Linny. You sang to him before he passed. What a joyous journey you gave to him. Keep sending him your hearts song Linny.
It is our obligation now to honor him and all that he suffered by being true to our hearts and our beliefs. Let us be true to the ideas of faith and love like Frank. If your faith has wavered it is not too late. For Frank also lived a life of compassion and forgiveness. Let him guide you back to the path.
Please take a moment each day before you set off to do your daily tasks and set one good intention as a gift to Uncle Frank. Even if it is as simple as sharing a joke or playing with your children, you will have honored him nonetheless. And our world will be all the better.
God Bless you Uncle Frank.
Be at peace.
You live on now
as divine as the Caribbean waters
As bright as the brightest Mayan moon….Eternally in our hearts.