I gave the eulogy at my Dad’s funeral today. Thought I’d post it for anyone who couldn’t make it or might be interested in reading it. It was important for me to do it because I wanted people to hear about what kind of man he was. Most of the people there knew him anyway, but I just find that catholic services almost always say little to nothing about the person they are there to celebrate, and so I decided to speak. Here’s what I said:
In life there is a difference between being rich, and being wealthy. I learned this lesson at an early age. Albert was my grandfather, but he raised me, and I always called him, ‘Dad’. Dad knew the difference between richness and wealth, even though he never spoke a single word about it. He didn’t have to, he lived it. Growing up we certainly weren’t rich, but we always had everything we needed. My dad was strictly a blue collar, working class kind of guy, but the lessons he taught me between the value of richness and the value of wealth is this:
Rich is owning a new car….wealthy is owning an old car and having people drop what they’re doing to help you come fix it.
Rich is having a big beautiful house…wealthy is having a home filled with people who are so familiar to you that they don’t even bother to knock when they drop in.
Rich is going on a fancy vacation to a tropical place…wealthy is walking into Tim Hortons, and even though each and every table is occupied, you know people so well that you can just sit anywhere and people are always happy to see you.
My Dad had all these things. He had them in spades. At the end of our lives, all we really leave behind are the relationships we have with one another and from my Dad I got an inheritance of kindness, compassion and community service.
One of my favorite movies is called: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” In that movie a character named George Bailey is despondent and in need of help, and is so beloved that the entire town comes out during a cold winter night to rescue him. My Dad quite often went out of his way to help people who were down on their luck, even though he may not have had much to share. At the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life” George Bailey’s brother raises his glass and says, “Here’s to my brother, George. The richest man in town.”
Well, Dad, you may not have been rich, but you were the wealthiest human being I’ve ever met. So, here’s to you. Here’s to Albert. The wealthiest man in town.