Eulogy – what will people say about you at the end of your life?

“No eulogy is due to him who simply does his duty and nothing more.” – Saint Augustine

Last week, Ira Albom passed away. Many might be wondering who this man is and why his death deserves mentioning in my post.

Admittedly, I’ve never met him and would otherwise be completely oblivious to his passing if not for being an admirer (and social media follower) of his son – writer Mitch Albom, the author of the revered novel Tuesdays With Morrie.

While the passing of Ira Albom is an unfortunate reality of being almost 90 years old, what profoundly struck me was the eulogy his son wrote upon his father’s passing. Words so powerful they brought tears to my eyes, an ache in my heart and a flood of memories swirling around my head.

Friends, today is one of the saddest days of my life. My beloved father, Ira Albom, passed away last Friday after a long health battle. This afternoon, we will bury him beside my mother, Rhoda, who died nearly three years ago. Dad was lost the moment he said goodbye to her. 

And I lost now. 

Cast adrift. That’s how it feels. Roots severed. No parents in the world. Talking with my sister and brother, we all agree that we are not ready to be the grown-ups, not ready to say goodbye to being someone’s child on this earth.

Yet we dare not complain. For we – and the world – were blessed with my father for 88 years. He was good and moral and strong and warm and while my happy hurricane of a mother urged me to all the good things I could be, my father is the reason for all the bad things I am not. I could always look up and see him as an example. If he restrained himself from violence, disrespect, coldness, insensitivity, then how could I do less?

“A man doesn’t do that,” he would often say about negative behavior. He was that paternal role model that so many kids don’t get today. How can I complain after having him all this time?

What’s been your impact?

Mitch’s eulogy goes on for several more paragraphs. It’s an amazing tribute to a man who obviously inspired his life in countless ways, while providing him with a selfless love through every stage and every moment of his journey.

This wonderful tribute got me to thinking about my own parents, my beloved grandparents, my remarkable wife, and honestly about myself. I wondered how would others remember and eulogize me when my time here on this earth finally runs out.

Have I impacted the lives of others just as Ira did? Have any of us really?

It’s not something we often think about, but if we did, it might encourage us to reevaluate our existence. To nurture and assign importance to our relationships, rather than utilizing excuses for our absence.

With age comes maturity, and with that maturity often comes clarity. And clarity allows us to remove the veil we utilize to conceal our actions, not from the world, but from ourselves.

What you begin to discover is a life void of personal connections.

And it’s those personal connections which undoubtedly yield a eulogy such as the one Mitch Albom created for his father.

From Albom’s book For One More Day: “Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.”

Love and appreciate the people who are around you now. Give them more love than you may be willing to show, but that they definitely deserve. Let your eulogy be filled with a life well loved. Remember, you’ll never get back what you fail to give.


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