After the service was over, my friend, Larry, came up to me and said, “When I die, I want you to do my eulogy!”
“Then he’s going to have to spend a lot more time with you,” my wife chimed in. “He’ll have to learn a lot more about you.”
“Oh, God, no!” said Larry. “I don’t want THAT. I want him to lie his head off about what a great guy I was.”
For my father-in-law, one of the Greatest Generation’s Navy veterans, there were many amazing accomplishments to remind his friends and family of. There was his status in the family, and the endless help he provided. There was comedy and quirkiness. There was love.
It all begged the question, as I put the remembrance together, of what could be said of anyone? How do you sum up someone’s life? What did they like? What drove them crazy? I thought about some of the divorce clients I’ve had over a 34-year career, about the ones who just wanted to know “what my rights are.” About others who’d never missed a school play all the way through public school, and were terrified they might, if communications broke down. I wondered what eulogies their children might deliver. What would those epitaphs be?
“I just want to know what my rights are”?
“Daddy! You came!”?
“You were always there for me, Mom!”?
It’s said the Past can inform the Present. It might be a good thing if the Future could, as well.
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