A final goodbye to someone who played a part in your life not always in a positive way is hard, damn hard. At some stage most of us will need to do it, or we can make a choice not to.
It’s at times like these we make a choice… to remain a victim of past circumstance and use it as an excuse for future personal experiences that repeat a negative pattern, or turn the table and look at the positive on how sometimes the hard learning’s of the past can shape us into a better person for our future.
The man who I called stepdad
Writing, and then reading a eulogy for my stepfather who let’s just say was not your soap opera idealistic ‘stepdaddy’ who showed his love very often if at all was emotional, yet soul cleansing at the same time.
Being a believer in that we must take a positive from everything in life I chose to say thank you to someone who others say didn’t deserve it. I chose to be truly grateful for every experience, good and bad and the peace that I found from expressing this was indescribable.
Rob was a social man and often the joker of a crowd. He was a good mate, liked by many and he was loyal to those in his circle of friends and family. He was also an alcoholic, and a violent one at that.
The violence in our life
Most people who knew our family knew of the violence, some knew of the times we were locked out of the house in the cold winter as we weren’t deserving enough to be inside, the endless chores given that were never completed to a good enough standard, the punishments for looking the wrong way, and the times I ran to the phone box a kilometre away to call the police wondering if my mum would be ok when I got back to her.
Others knew nothing. And some only knew what they chose to.
The last time I spoke to my Rob before he passed away I told him that I was grateful to have him in my life. And I was.
I told him that he was significant in the making of who I am today. He was in hospital, with liver disease and had suffered for quite some time. He was in pain, and as it was night time I told him I would let him go now, and he should sleep in peace.
The final words were those that mattered the most. The end of a chapter in my life. The words, I love you.
Writing the eulogy
With a myriad of thoughts that evening, I wrote the following verse remembering that at his farewell service not all who knew him were aware of the negatives from the past, the hurt and suffering he put his family through and in his final years, the regret he had for the way he had lived his life not appreciating what he had or showing love to those who not only yearned for it, but also deserved it.
My words were chosen carefully. Take from it what you will, but know that when my reading was complete, the entire chapel stood and applauded.
Because of you … I have inner strength. I am the rock for all that I need to be, yet I have the emotion and compassion to feel for others, and the ability to balance it all behind closed doors.
- Because of you … I have courage, to stand up for what I believe in and to take the lead when needed and show others right from wrong;
- Because of you … I have determination, to keep pushing on and to face any challenge that comes my way;
- Because of you …I have empathy, the ability to put myself in another’s shoes to understand them without judgement;
- Because of you…I have gratitude, I can say thank you and truly mean it for even the smallest of life’s gifts or lessons;
- Because of you…I am a parent with boundaries and rules, firm, yet fair with clear expectations and I tell my children how proud I am of them and how I love them dearly no matter what;
- Because of you…I am a warrior, I will protect myself and those I love or care for, I will never give up without a fight;
- Because of you…I am at peace with the past, and I make an inner promise each day that I will allow nothing or no one other than I alone control my future;
- Because of you…I am unique, I am me.
Rob, you were a son, a brother, an uncle and a husband. A grandfather and great uncle, a mate to many, and most importantly you were a father.
You taught me well. And for that I thank you.