I have known [NAME] for more than 30 years. I know some of his deepest secrets and his most wonderful accomplishments. I also know that the day that he died, the world lost a very special man. He was the type that was more concerned about doing the right thing than he was about doing the easy thing. That, unfortunately, is a trait that grows increasingly rarer with every year that passes.
Such was his desire and drive to do the right thing that failing to do so expediently was unacceptable to him. If he got a traffic ticket, he paid it the next day. If he owed taxes, he mailed a check early to be sure it would arrive on time. His sense of values was clear and unflinching.
In addition to being a generally good person, he was also a wonderful friend. He was the type of person that you knew you could call with a need, but that often beat you to the punch. When I broke my leg, I looked out my window to see him there, trimming my bushes and mowing my lawn. I hadn’t asked for any assistance, but he saw a need and he acted on it.
As deeply as he will be missed by friends, the loss is even greater for his family. His love for his wife and children was made obvious in the way he spoke of them, and bragged about their every accomplishment. Through his actions, he showed me how to be a better husband, father and friend.
Today, as we gather to say goodbye, it is clear that while he will not physically be with us anymore, that his spirit will live on as long as each of us are alive. A famous quote reminded me of the importance of keeping his memory alive.
Samuel Butler said, “To die completely, a person must not only forget but be forgotten, and he who is not forgotten is not dead.” With that in mind, I can say with confidence that our friend, father and husband is not gone completely.
We now have the opportunity to live the rest of our lives in ways that will bring honor to a man who spent his life showing us how to be our best. Let’s never forget the lessons we learned from him. Let’s choose to be better for having known him.
Our hearts are heavy at the loss of a special man, but we can also rejoice in the way that he chose to live and in the knowledge that he did not squander the time he was given on this earth.
photo credit: erictitcombe