What follows is the text of the eulogy I read at my father's memorial this afternoon. I started writing it months ago. The first paragraph is a rewrite from my response to my father's first guest post on this blog.

"To Dad, From Your Loving Family" My mother wants the roses. At least one of them will be dried for a memento box. The rest will be removed and worked into new arrangements for a nursing home.
Floral Display

I am grateful that I was able to have a relationship with my father. It wasn't always so. There were decades of silence, and strained relations. I'm grateful that we both lived long enough to heal and grow, independently and together, to allow us to enjoy each other's company. I'm grateful for the friendship we shared, as two grown men with a unique bond and shared history. I am also proud of him. I'm grateful that I'm able to feel all this, and know it, and celebrate it. And him.

I want to honor the complexity of my father's life. My father was not a perfect man. I'm not proud of him because he was perfect. I'm proud of him because of how he grappled, throughout his life, with his imperfections, to become the man he always wanted to be. I was not proud of his alcohol dependence; I'm proud of his recovery from it. I was not proud of his homophobia. I'm proud that he overcame it so, that he accepted my partner, John, as his own son.

There is so much of him in me. We shared the same dark sense of humor. I thank him for my full head of hair. There is also our love of nature, animals and babies; love of science, engineering and computers, and space; love of photography, theater and music; the desire to connect with and contribute to our communities; and endless curiosity about the world. There's so much of him in me, that it will be a long time before I can accept that we will never have another conversation, share another bad joke, exchange another email or photograph, share another hug.

Laurie Anderson said, "When my father died, it was like a whole library had burned down." My image for this comes from the end of the film, "The Name of the Rose," when the monastery tower goes up in flames. I feel like the monk, portrayed by Sean Connery in the film, staggering out of the smoke and ash, clutching a few smoldering volumes to his chest.

  • Checkers
  • Bullfrog
  • Deer throat
  • Gliders and flaming hot-air balloons
  • Coin collecting
  • Rocket launches
  • Stingray on the St. John's
  • Vibrating beds
  • My first camera
  • Community theater
  • CB radio

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Gerard Kreussling, 1931-2008, 2008-12-01
How Old Will I Be?, 2008-12-04

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