Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Eulogy for my Dad

Today was my Dad's funeral in Texas. It was at his little country church in his hometown, and it was really nice. My sister and I gave eulogies for our Dad. This is mine:

When my Dad called me a little over two years ago to tell me that his cancer had spread and that the prognosis was grim, a number of thoughts and feelings surfaced in me. Tears gave way to denial, which was followed by reminiscence, gratitude for his life, what ifs, and whole lot of hope for healing. Part of the mix of this emotional journey has been the joy of remembering some of the great memories I have of life with my Dad over the years.

There are so many stories I could tell you about my Dad: 

Of how I loved hearing him tell stories of his rodeo days as a bull rider and seeing pictures of him on bucking broncos.  And how the real fun would start when my sister and I would gleefully run around our backyard as kids, laughing and howling as our Dad would rope us with his lariat.

Stories of going dove and deer hunting with him. Going hunting together involved long road trips out to the country, listening to old school country songs of the Mel Tillis variety on the radio. I would quietly accompany Dad on his hunts, enjoying nature and learning about hunting. It wasn’t long before I was begging him to let me try! I’m so thankful that my Dad was happy to share his passions of hunting and fishing with my sister and me, teaching us how to shoot a rifle or how to reel in a fish. Most of our girl friends can’t even comprehend such experiences!

Stories of how he taught me the Texas two-step in our kitchen and dancing with me at The Texas Tumbleweed.

Stories of pitching and batting practice.

The story of when he came to visit me when I was doing a show in Utah and we both agreed that autumn was our favorite season of the year, as we took in the multi-colored foliage at Zion State Park.

There is the story of when he got me my favorite WWF wrestler’s autograph. My Dad had a lot of moxie when it came to getting autographs. He also got me tennis great Virginia Wade’s autograph at and airport, and he breezed right by the secret service to get President Ford’s autograph!

There’s the story of when he took Jill and me to Las Vegas for the weekend and ordered us all room service for breakfast, and the three of us ate our Belgian waffles with fresh strawberries, as we sat around the table in our fluffy white hotel bathrobes, feeling very much like royalty!

There was the time I called him, heartbroken, after my first painful breakup, and he opened up to me about his first heartbreak, and assured me that I was not the first person in the world to feel such wretched emotions.

I could tell you about my wedding day, when he wisely told me to relish my walk down the aisle, just as we heard the music swell. And how after the wedding, our father-daughter dance at the reception was to “I’m Just a Coca-Cola Cowboy”, one of the great Mel Tillis songs that we used to listen to on our hunting trips.

And I could tell you about the first time he met his new grandson, my sister’s baby, Sam.

But the memory I will most cherish of my Dad was the last time I saw him. It was just six days before he died. My sister and I drove out to the ranch and had a wonderful visit with him. We read some of his favorite scriptures together, talked and prayed together. He told us about the Christian faith he had come to embrace during the recent years of his adult life. He told us about a clarifying conversation he had with a hospice minister who came to visit him (at his request)--they talked about how he could be sure he was going to Heaven. Dad told us that he was trusting in Jesus for that. It was so great to see him at peace with God and to see joy in his life in the midst of his suffering. He was even surprised himself at how he could be so happy in spite of his difficult circumstances. It was a visit we will treasure in our hearts for the rest of our lives.  Knowing my Dad was at peace, that he was sure of his salvation, gave my sister and I peace. Though we are sad he has died and will miss him dearly, we are full of joy that Dad has been welcomed into the presence of our Loving God.

I love you, Dad, and we'll be seeing you soon!

14 comments:

canknitian said...

Thank you for sharing these stories.

Big hug,
j

Mrs. G. said...

Such a beautiful tribute...you are so fortunate to have such loving memories that will be with you always. I wish I could give you a big old mom hug.

Sharon said...

What a beautiful way to honor him! I am so glad that God gave all of you a peace when He took your father home.

Truhuntr said...

My sympathies pour out for you and your family. I only had the pleasure of meeting your father once several years ago. But I will always remember his stature. A Mans Man, a love for the outdoors, a love for his family, and a passion for Jesus. I will have you and Jill in my prayers.


God Bless

Jennifer Disney said...

Beautiful, Tracy.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute to your father with so many special memories. I will be praying for you in the days to come!
Love,
Janelle

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

What a beautiful tribute...I'm so glad to know you, and that you were able to share this with us.

Saucy said...

I thought of you today on Father's Day. This was such a good post. xoxox

Cherry said...

A very lovely Eulogy. Such good stories to share and remember. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Hugs!

josey said...

oh tracy, i am so saddened to hear this news. i have been away, so i apologize for not stopping by sooner. this eulogy was amazing and not only was it the perfect honorarium to your dad, but it shows what a loving, fun, and loyal Christian daughter he raised!

you (and your family) are still in my prayers as you deal with details, emotions and the flood of memories after his passing. i appreciate you sharing this personal time with all of us here. we can only hope our bit of support and prayers can help ease you through this time.

(((hugs)))

$$$ Nerd said...

Tracy,

I am so sad for you and Jill. I never met your Dad but, the colorful stories Jill has told me about "Bronco" are tremendous. I know you will both treasure many more stories like you mentioned. What sweet memories of a very unique and precious father. I will keep you all in my prayers.

Tamara

Dana Cheryl said...

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
Psalms 116:15

Your eulogy beautifully illustrates the truths of the about verse. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

God bless.

Cari said...

So sorry to hear about your dad. I too have fun memories of your dad and Bill Frerichs playing softball with us!

You are in my thoughts and prayers!

Much love!
Cari

C said...

Oh, Tracy! What a beautiful way to remember your Dad!

Can I tell you how much this post made me cry??? At least I can blame it on pregnancy hormones now!

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Your Dad sounds like he was a wonderful, wonderful man.