Eulogy for a Grandfather
- Beauty on the Mountain
A story written for my grandfather, years before he passed.
Hello, to those of you who may not know me, I am Alicia, one of Richard’s many grandchildren. I asked to partake in today’s services, not only to stand here as a representative for all my cousins, but to express how deeply our grandfather impacted our lives.
When I think of my grandfather, his life, and how he affected those around him, I am reminded of a Tennyson quote that so adequately defines this man, “The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.” All here today have witnessed Grandpa’s passion for many things and the happiness derived from them, whether it was landscaping, snowmobiling, causing laughter with corny wit, or being around his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His enthusiasm for life, and strong heart and soul, taught all of us how much we could get out of life from following his prime examples.
As one of his grandchildren, I grew up spoiled under a devoted grandfather’s attention. I believe several of us can remember specific and special moments with him, those memories we will hold dearer now that he is gone. Some recollections have become shared memories, as we were all once little, and Gramps would sneak us into the office (I may say against many of our parents’ wishes) and pockets were filled with the gumdrops that he had stashed on a bookshelf. Or playing Go Fish, and as we grew older, more hands would be played as our skills ended in besting Grandpa’s, and he would insist on continuing to play until he won at least one round, all the while complaining that we were most likely cheating. And the countless winter days, when he would bundle us up in order to teach snowmobiling or simply trek us through the woods to Twin Ridge, where we would then proceed to warm ourselves in the parlor drinking coffee, hot chocolate and eating homemade doughnuts, listening to Grandpa and his friends discuss trail conditions, what to do that day, or how their families were doing. And of course, how can any of us forget getting enlisted to do yard work? In our family, it is almost a coming of age ritual. I will never forget the hours Grandpa would spend teaching me how to work the mower, weed whack and proper flower presentations. I may have groaned about yard work then, but as an adult I appreciate the time he took to instill that knowledge in me.
One of my fondest memories I have had with Grandpa, seems simple and small in comparison, however it is one that I now carry on with my son. It is a common Christian child’s prayer; one learned when I was little from Grandpa, and something we would say whenever I spent the night after he sent me off to sleep. Now, my son and I say our prayer every night when he gets tucked into bed, and ever sense I told him that Grandpa said it to me as a child, he has sense dubbed it, “Papa’s prayer”. It goes:
“Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And if I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord, my soul to take.”
These and many more are everlasting memories to carry with me, and I will always thank him for showing all of us what being a parent, grandparent and great-grandparent should be like. Thank you, Grandpa for your unconditional love and endless patience, (though I may not have always deserved it). He was, truthfully, the greatest man I have ever known and though I will miss seeing him every day, I know he will never be truly gone.
I posted my eulogy, because while trying to write his, I wasn't sure how to go about writing something that would show how deeply I felt for him. For anyone finding themselves having to write a eulogy for a loved one, come straight from the heart, don't think of appropriate vs. inappropriate, just say what you wish to say. In a way, this is more for the person who has died, than the ones at the funeral, your last "hurrah" for the one departing...make it good!
For Richard T. Hamilton 1933-2010, I will love you forever, Gramps!