Planning a life celebration book

I received this eulogy from Jerry who read my article on how to write a eulogy. Jerry followed the steps and wrote me an email stating, "I took your advice and what resulted (and the congratulations I received afterwards confirmed) was a very effective and engaging eulogy." I hope you will find the eulogy Jerry wrote for his co-worker Mary helpful.

Someday if all my prayers are answered
I'll hear a footstep on the stair
With anxious heart
I'll hurry to the door
And maybe you'll
Be there
************************
I sat down with Ed the other day and he had told me of a recent visit from family just after Mary had passed away. They had brought with them photos of Mary and Ed when they were much younger. Mary looked so young and attractive in these pictures – and presumably Ed didn’t -- that their relatives asked him how he did it? He asked them to elaborate and they commented that Mary was such an attractive young woman and though she and Ed were so well-matched, he was so scrawny-looking. Ed then said with pride how they were correct, that Mary was such a gem compared to him being such a rough ashlar, but she stuck with him …and, he added, “especially after our early courting days.”

What do you mean? I asked.

Well; Ed recounted to me the story of the motorbike ride he took Mary on on their second date. Ed, while wanting to show off his motorbike prowess, had tipped the bike on a tight corner in the middle of a busy Vancouver street with Mary on the back. But Mary was not deterred---a little bruised maybe -- but willing to give him another chance. Although the bike had to go.

Ed told me of another date – not long after that. Besides a motorbike, Ed also owned an old 25’ fishing boat. Young Ed thought that it would be so much more impressive than the motorbike date if he was to take her on a trip in his boat. Besides, it would give him the opportunity to show off his Captaincy prowess.

Just sit right back & you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship.


The trip from Vancouver to Nanaimo across the Georgia Strait apparently went well and they had a lovely time on Vancouver Island. The return trip, however; was not such a happy voyage.

The mate was a mighty sailing man, the skipper brave & sure.
Five passengers set sail that day for a three hour tour. A three hour tour.

A storm at sea blew-up with waves as high as a house that lapped at the little vessel. It was a rough trip back and Mary was not impressed; but they eventually made it back to shore safe and sound.

I wasn’t there, but the way Ed described it to me, it sounded just like the trip from the Gilligan’s Island TV show … a three-hour tour. I can’t help but ask myself; if they had beached Ed’s boat on a desert island, which one of them would have become the Captain and which one Gilligan?

None the less, Mary didn’t give up on Ed, she gave him another chance. Though the boat had to go.

Their younger days were not all danger and bruises, however. They often amused themselves with low-budget dates, such as gate crashing the cruise ships moored in Vancouver’s harbor. Ed told me in those days, security not being quite as stringent as today; they would walk up the gangplanks looking all the part of a couple of passengers and then head for the bar for the evening.

They often spent time visiting vessels at the Vancouver docks. I remember Ed telling me, years ago, of when they took the opportunity to do a tour of a US Navy submarine. The only thing that they weren’t prepared for was the amount of attention that the sailors were willing to give Mary. It got to the point that one of the officers had to beat the sailors back while Mary, in a short-skirt -- as was the fashion then -- went up the submarine’s ladders.

Now; nobody would have blamed Mary, or anyone of you ladies perhaps, for giving up on that scrawny fella’ – but Mary didn’t. She didn’t and it speaks to her very essence. In everything Mary took on, anything she made a commitment to, she would throw herself entirely into it. She would take the bull by the horns and see it through.

I think many of Mary’s co-workers can testify to her determination.
Mary joined the Drumheller Town Hall staff in 2000. Anybody coming into the Town Hall basement’s frenetic atmosphere would have to be crazy to stay. Quite literally; working with Derek and me would turn anybody crazy. But Mary jumped in feet-first, never skipped a beat and joined in. With her background in computers and her well-grounded attitude she became an essential, reliable and loved member of staff.

Mary was the necessary sanity, the den mother – if you will -- in some crazy college frat house. She was a rock. We three had great times together at Town Hall – sadly, those times are never to be repeated – I still miss them and we will miss Mary.

I recall that so often she would say to me “Mind if I play mother orangutan?” I didn’t know what that meant the first time Mary said it to me. But it shows how often the tags must hang out the top of my shirts or sweaters; as she frequently found herself pushing tags back in, and I would then continue on my merry way. There was something about Mary.

Yes, she looked after Derek and me, and made sure that the team was on-course and …dressed nicely…though I’m not sure if she ever had a chance of helping Derek … what with his Hawaiian shirt, shorts and sandals.

Over time Derek and I moved away and Mary took on more and more of the responsibilities that were left to just her. She soldiered on; not only due to her natural perseverance with everything that she did, but because, as she had told Ed countless times, working at the Town was her dream job.

She considered her position in Town Hall as her “niche” in life. She loved the responsibility it gave her, the opportunity to learn and self-improve – either through experience or the courses that she was able to take to do her job better – and she loved the people that she worked with.

In their days as young parents their sons, Ken and Ron, were active in the Cubs and Scouts. Ed and Mary involved themselves as volunteers in the movement. Mary also volunteered for other groups over the years. She was an active volunteer for the Calgary Transit Union prior to Ed retiring and them moving to Drumheller. She frequently assisted Ed in his involvement in Freemasons as well. At events that the Mason’s would put on, you would often find Mary in the background somewhere taking on many tasks and roles. She would busy herself with what was “needed” to be done and do it quietly, unassumingly and often unnoticed – but always extremely well and faultlessly. She assisted Ed in duties as a Master and later with his duties as Secretary of the Lodge. Our fraternity will miss her dearly.

Mary, as many at Town Hall recall, would look especially forward to Fridays. Not because she wanted out of work – but Fridays were the days when the “apples of her eye” -- her grandchildren -- would come into Town from Calgary. Ed would drive in to the City and pick the children up from Ken and Dianna’s. I remember how Taryn, Krysten and Ryan would rush down the stairs at Town Hall – Ed in tow -- and all of them were so excited and happy to be with each other. Mary then knew that her weekend was going to be full of love, laughter and happiness.
Mary’s smile when she spoke of her children, her grandchildren and other relatives showed that she had such great pride in them all. She once recounted to me of a favourite Uncle she had as a child. She would say how she and her cousins were so excited when their uncle would visit. She beamed as she remembered how they would jump up and down with glee whenever they saw their Uncle “Happy”. They called him this as he was such a cheerful character. Uncle Happy or Uncle Tommy, as it turned out, was quite a famous Albertan. He was Thomas Payne Fox, better known as Tommy Fox. Tommy was a leader in Canadian bush plane operations and he was so renowned for his early days as a bush pilot, and for his other aviation achievements, that he is a member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. I could see in Mary’s smile, as she use to tell stories his visits, the little girl that she once was.

Mary’s job with the Town of Drumheller involved a great deal of creativity; and her creativity didn’t stop at work. She enjoyed crocheting and other crafts. Mary also enjoyed music a great deal, Celtic music and Jazz -- particularly performed by Dianna Krall whose song “Maybe You'll Be There” I quoted at the beginning. Later on, Mary returned to a hobby she had in her youth – bird watching – as she often enjoyed many hours at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary near Ladner, B.C. when she was young.

Mary enjoyed camping – well apparently she wasn’t overly keen at first - - but when Ken and Ron were young she loved those family camp-outs. And, as I had mentioned, when the boys joined the Cubs and Scouts movement she, along with Ed, would volunteer on their camping trips too. Later on, when Taryn, Krysten and Ryan came along, Mary once again found such great joy in camping. Mary also loved hot springs. And the last great outdoor adventure for Mary involved all of those things she held so dear. Her husband Ed, her grandchildren and a camping trip to visit a series of six hot springs in B.C.

Mary’s dedication and perseverance shone through in everything she did. Her commitment to her work and to her friends as well as the volunteering she involved herself in will be greatly missed. Mary’s love and devotion to her family will always be dearly remembered. Her examples of love, caring and determination lives as an inspiration to all of us.


If you are writing a eulogy for your brother you may be inspired by the excellent, heartfelt eulogy that was given by Hunter Biden for his brother Beau Biden


Hunter Biden’s Eulogy for his Brother, Beau Biden

By guest contributor, Charlie Klein

Hunter Biden at his brother's funeral
.

It’s hard to know someone without actually meeting him. However, a good story about an individual enables the listener to have insight into that person. After listening to Hunter Biden’s emotional eulogy of his brother, Beau Biden, I felt like I knew Beau on a personal level.

My favorite line from the eulogy is, “But, to me, my brother is not defined by his extraordinary resume, he is defined by the quality of his character.” Beau then proceeds to talk about his brother’s character by giving the audience stories about his life. I wouldn’t feel like I had a strong connection with Beau if Hunter’s eulogy consisted solely of qualities and descriptions. Instead, Hunter illustrated different experiences he had with Beau; all of these experiences made a great story/eulogy.


Every good story needs a theme. In this case, the theme of the eulogy or story is about the comforting and reassuring presence Beau had when you held his hand. Hunter constantly touched on this theme, conveying the point that holding Beau’s hand was far more than just a gesture of friendship, but rather a powerful healing experience that made you feel loved. This selfless love is what defined Beau, and the only reason I know that is because Hunter told a great story about his brother. It seems that rather than giving a great eulogy, it is more meaningful to give a great story.

Are you trying to write a eulogy about a loved one? Here is a guide to writing your own eulogy for a loved one.

Below, you can find the link of the eulogy video and the text of Hunter Biden’s eulogy (it is not the full text of the eulogy, I started about midway through the speech because the first half covered the formalities, the second half was about Beau’s life).

The first memory I have is of lying in a hospital bed next to my brother. I was almost three years old, I remember my brother who was one year and one day older than me, holding my hand, staring into my eyes, saying,” I love you, I love you, I love you”, over and over and over again. And in the 42 years since, he never stopped holding my hand, he never stopped telling me just how much he loves me, but mine wasn’t the only hand beau held, beau’s was the hand everyone reached for in their time of need, beau’s was the hand that was reaching for yours before you even had to ask. That is my brother’s story, that is his story, not his accomplishments, and there were many, Federal Clerk, Special Assistant to the US Attorney General, legal advisor to post war Kosovo, Attorney General, became the most popular elected official in his state, and a Major in the Army National Guard. But, to me, my brother is not defined by his extraordinary resume, he is defined by the quality of his character. The boy, the man who always held you close, the one who always made you feel safe, the one who always made you feel braver than you might have been, the one you could always count on for a special kindness, the one who listened, the one who was always there when you needed him most. The one who gave you credit for the things he did.

He was our leader, and he never asked to lead. He was our leader who never judged, he only inspired us through his example. He was clarity, a clarity you could step in to. He was the clarity of lake Skiniatlous at sun rise. A clarity you could float in, clarity that was contagious. It was that clarity not just for his family but for everyone who called him friend. And those friends can attest to the multitude of times in which Beau came to their aid without ever having to be asked. That’s why when we were kids, we called him the sheriff. It wasn’t because he was stern or unforgiving, he made us laugh more than anybody, he had more fun than all of us, we called him the sheriff because we all knew that if we were ever in trouble, if we ever needed someone to lean on, if we ever needed to find the right answer, we all could turn to Beau. Growing up, every mom, of every one of my friends knew that if you were with Beau, you’re going to be alright. True. He was the sheriff who bailed us out, who kept us safe, who showed us the path home. He watched over all of us.

Not one of us ever had to ask him, he was simply there, always when you needed him, and he never expected anything in return. And you were never in his shadow; we were always under his wing. From the time we were kids, mistakes were never too great not to be forgiven, or too small to be consoled. Your problems were Beau’s problems, but he seemed to carry them so effortlessly, like he carried so many of our secrets.

You unburdened yourself to Beau, knowing he would never break you trust. He was the person you just wanted to be near, because you knew he would make you smile, make you laugh, let you cry, he would just let you be you. And not only would he love you regardless he’d love you more because of it. There are so many people in this church today, across the country, who have a legitimate right to say, Beau Biden was my best friend, he was the best friend any of us ever had. In Shakespeare’s words, “he was a man taken for all in all; I shall not look upon his like again.” That’s who my brother was as a man, in everything that he did, as if the most important thing in your world was the most important thing to his. And it was genuine. It seemed every decision he made, was guided by that same selflessness.

He didn’t join the army to be seen in uniform, or to pad his resume, he didn’t need to. He joined because he thought it was the right thing to do. He didn’t deploy to Iraq to earn a bronze star, he went because he thought it was the right thing to do. Did he ever tell any one of you that he was a bronze star recipient? One of his closest friends said to me the other day, I can’t believe Beau never told me that he was awarded the bronze star. Beau simply thought it was simply a privilege to serve.

Those who didn’t know my brother, thought he went into politics, because if your name is Joe Biden, that’s just what you do. But my brother went into politics because for him, it was the right thing to do. It was the clearest path to helping as many people as he possibly could. And I know where my brother learned that, he learned that from my dad. He learned that public life was not about serving yourself; rather it was about the privilege of serving those who can’t always serve themselves.

Someone once said, don’t wait to make your son a great man, make him a great boy. From the time we left the hospital 42 years ago, my dad spent every moment that he possibly could with us. No event was too small, no event was too great, and we traveled with up and down the state, across the country, around the world. We went to thousands of speeches, chicken dinners, debates, we rode the train with him for thousands of miles. We went everywhere with him. We just assumed, it was normal to want to be with your dad more than everyone else in the world.

We learned by his example, that even the smallest gesture can have the greatest meaning. We’d go to the senate with him, more often I think than any children of any senator ever. We’d ride the subway, and the conductor would say, “You know our dad is our favorite”, but the other senators were on the train so he’d whisper. And we’d get in the elevator and the elevator operator would say you know we love your dad. That’s what made us most proud. We thought it was neat that he was a senator, and that he knew some really important people. But we thought it was neater that he was friends with Mouse (he points to a man sitting in the pew), we thought it was cooler that he knew every employee at the charcoal pit. So Beau’s true north, his integrity, his character, his honor, came from our father’s love.

But I believe, there is a weight to love, a balance, which determines the limits of how much one can give and how much one can receive. But for Beau, there seemed to be no such limits, the beauty of Beau was not how much he was loved, but how much love he could give. And he gave that love to freely, he gave that love in his laugh, in his touch, in his words, but most of all, he gave that love in his deeds. That’s what made his love so special, to him it was never a burden, and it was always a joy. And that love lived in all of us, sometimes in profound ways. It was a love whose light brightened our darkest moments, but for so many it was a quiet, subtle love, a pure love. That was expressed simply in the way he made us feel when he was near, it was a love so rich, that all he had to do was hold your hand, and he held so many hands. Survivors of abuse, parents of his brothers and sisters and uniform, victims of violent crime in his beloved city of Warrington.

That’s my brother’s story; there are thousands of people telling those stories right now. Telling the same story, about when Beau Biden held their hand. My only claim on my brother is that he held my hand first. 42 years ago, I believe that god gave us a gift; He gave us the gift of sparing my brother. Sparing him long enough to give the love of a thousand lifetimes. God gave us a boy who had no limits to the weight of love he could bare. And as it began, so did it end. His family surrounded him, everyone holding on to him, each of us desperately holding him. Each of us saying, I love you, I love you, I love you. And I held his hand, and he took his last breath, and I know that I was loved. And I know that his hand will never leave mine.


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Eulogy for a man

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