I know the tone of our blog has taken a downward turn as of late. Unfortunately, in spite of great joy in most aspects of our life, we have had more than one instance of bad news. My last post about our dear friends moving was sad to write. But even sadder still was the news of the passing of my sister Brittany at the age of 29. This is our family blog, so we document the thoughts, experiences and happenings of our family. Even though I debated much about adding anything to the blog about her death, it is one of the most affecting events in my life and can’t be excluded. I’m not ready to write much detail about the actual passing, and perhaps I never will be. But I do want to include the eulogy which I shared in Akron at her memorial service in front of at least 100 friends and family members who have known us since our earliest days. I also want to share a letter which she wrote me to accompany my birthday present two years ago, but that will be saved for another post. Below you will find what I wrote for her memorial service:
My Dad gave the eulogy for Brittany at the service we had in Austin. There were over 300 people at there and I hugged each of them, which was hard at first but got easier as the hugging went on. My dad wrote out every word which I don’t normally do when I speak in front of people, but this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say to a room of people so I’m going write the whole thing out. I’m going to begin with the poem he read on Thursday. It’s not a poem I would have picked, but when he read it in that room it just made sense. Here it is: Continue reading
I always forget that just because you are my oldest kid, you are still a very young kid. I’m sorry I always expect you to get it right the first time, and always try to get you to do things on your own when you aren’t yet ready. I will try to remember to let you be little. Because, well, you’re little.
We are all in the business of living. We plan our days out, we wake with a list to check off. We hop out of bed and begin the business anew with our morning coffee and eggs. But when the to-do list suddenly has funeral arrangements on it, everything else stops. Our family is in a grieving period. It’s still so fresh I’m unable to make any profound statements about it. But I am acutely aware that this business of grief trumps all the other work we had to do.
On Saturday morning Rob lost his grandfather, “Bunkle,” to a long fight with Alzheimer’s disease. His passing came suddenly, and though we were not completely prepared, the medical staff and grief councilors took amazing care of Bunkle and of our family. It was touching to be present in the room where a family took the time to care for each other so deeply. And it was moving to be there, giving reverence to the part of life which brings you into the next one.
So now we stop being fully present in this business of living. The deadlines have remained the same, but we are not attending to them with the same urgency we had before. Right now we are interrupted by remembrances. We are distracted by sorrow. Today we have prioritized loving our family and preparing for a funeral. Making a large meal is of utmost importance. We are taking the time to thank God for the life Bunkle lived, and the family he started. It’s not easy, but it is better than letting the grief pass you by, checking it off the list and moving on.