Monday, July 18, 2011

Eulogy for a stranger

This morning I went to a funeral. He was a man I knew only superficially; I went as my husband's representative, as he is away overseas at the moment.

It wasn't a sad funeral, as send-offs go. The man was 90, and had been fit and well until a few weeks ago. Last week he bought a new exercycle, because he had "worn out the last one" doing his never-varied 11.1 km per day cycling regime. (Why 11.1 km? I have no idea.) 

A meticulous gardener, he had great pride in entering his garden into the annual district Garden Tour; today speakers enjoyed commenting on the green mower which sat amongst the memorabilia around his casket. He was a golf fanatic who played his last round at the end of June: "of late he had not bothered with carrying a scorecard; he just counted the number of pars he could get". He was gently scathing about people who use motorised golf carts and battery-assisted trundlers.

He and his wife of 46 years had never had children - instead, they had a huge extended family of nephews and nieces, greats and great-greats. The most moving tribute today was from a great-niece, a beautiful girl who came forward to speak simply and movingly about the precious hours she had spent with him and the love she bears him. He must have been extremely proud of her.

He was a true gentleman, a person of integrity and kindness. I wish I had known him better.

When I sat down to write this post, I had no intention of writing about the funeral. It just wrote itself, and the intended post, about birds I saw on my walk today, can wait for another day.

"Goodness in words creates trust, goodness in thinking creates depth, goodness in giving creates love."
~ Lao Tse


  1. And what a beautiful photo of a spring magnolia you have chosen for this man who was a gardener.

  2. Very sweet. It sounds like he had a good life and it was probably time to go. There are certainly worse ends to have.

  3. He sounds like a wonderful man, and his life and knowing him seems to have enriched many loved ones around him. Funny about the score card thing...I'm the same way, especially playing mini-golf with children! It should be more about the fun of the game and the togetherness than the belief anyway! I'm happy you shared this story of a man who still lives on in all the hearts that knew him! That is the perfect life!

  4. Its evident he lived the life he wanted and enjoyed... not many of us are that lucky.. Sounds like he lived it to its fullest.. Now he can go on his next journey...

  5. Thanks for your comments, everyone.

    @Kiwi Nomad - I must admit this was taken last spring. My tree is nowhere near flowering at the moment, unfortunately!

  6. A lovely tribute. Sometimes I have the same experience with a post--it just writes itself. Lovely quote at the end, too.

  7. what a beautiful flower to have chosen for your tribute to this man.
    it sounds like he had a happy and satisfying life...thanks for sharing your story...may he live on in the hearts of those he touched...

    (i like your new header...)

  8. Very thoughtful post...and kind.

  9. Thank you all for stopping by.
    It's interesting, Rick - hearing about this man's life really made me want to try to be a better person than I am.
    I've just spent a couple of hours with my two grandkids, 2 and a half and 7 months - they make me feel blessed, and truly happy to be alive.


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