Rule #15(a): Legacy Matters
With the passing of my father in May the most startling reality for me is that I will likely not have the time complete every dream or hope I have in my lifetime.
Although I am still working on my plan “A” to live forever, plan B” is gaining ground all to fast and I may not be climbing Everest to celebrate my 120th birthday. So I, like my parents, have to look for my dream live on through my family, friends and colleagues. I have to be sure that the values I have received as a gift from my parents live on particularly through you my children.
Within the passing of my father God gave me a gift to see what that legacy is shaping up to be in the eulogies of my two oldest sons- Matthew and Andrew.
Each delivered their speech different ways , Matthew off the cuff with 4 or 5 words on a paper and Andrew with a written notes. Both proved without a doubt that my fathers legacy has been handed off well, and these two remarkable young men with very different paths in life, will be remarkable old men one day carrying my fathers legacy for many generations.
Here are their messages:
” Thank you all for coming to help celebrate my grandfather’s life. I know it would mean a great deal to him that so many friends and family members could come today. For those of you who do not know me, I am Andrew his oldest grandson.
I was fortunate to have my grandfather part of my life. As I grew older I became closer and closer to him. Though he was always in my life, certain memories will always stick out. His Master’s degree, his devotion to community and his family. These memories highlight his core values and beliefs that define who he was and who I want to be.
My earliest memory of him is walking in the Lansdale Parade with the Lion’s club. We were giving out candy. I got in trouble for throwing candy at people, but it was still a fun day. It always amazed me how involved with the community he was. I went to many different dinners, plays and events with him growing up. Often with the Lion’s cub or another one of his many organizations.
His love of travel never weakened. A sense of adventure stayed with him. Different countries, different continents. But it wasn’t just the places but the people. People are what are important in life. Friends, family and a sense of community.
However, the memory that will always stay with me is of him and his wife Peggy. Even though I was young, I knew it was absolute love. They were a team, travel companions, and best friends. As he took care of her it was nothing short of devotion. You could see it in his eyes. No matter what comes, I am here. Day in, Day out. That is a man. That is a husband. That is how you love someone.
This is the lesson I will always carry with me. While it was hard for me and my family as he reached his end, he never stopped fighting. Stubborn as he was, this gave me a strange comfort. His will stayed strong. He was too busy to be sick, too busy to be tired.
Don set a high example on what it meant to not only be a grandfather, but a father, a husband and a friend. This world is be better place for having him, and a sadder one without him. But his memory will live on through everyone he knew, especially his grandchildren who all miss him very much.
Thank you everyone.
“Hello, I am Matthew, another one of the grandchildren from the big Irish family. And I think that I speak for all of the grandchildren and family when I say that we are thankful that you all could be here.
I believed that my grandfather was a giant.
When I was growing up I was told stories about him and I thought they were made up because they seemed impossible. How could one person go so many places, do so much, and give so much? I really thought that my grandfather was a giant.
I know that I only got to see a small portion of the life that he led. After hearing all the stories from people and meeting all of you I realized how little I saw. And I know that none of us could see it all.
Even though it was not a enough I am thankful for the time I got to spend with him a few holidays, Menoudakos Dinners, Sunday dinner whenever we were having something that he liked. I am even grateful that I got to be with him at the end when my giant of a grandfather was forced to become small. I am thankful that I got to see only some of it because I realize how big it is, and I get to be part of something so giant.
I know that the world is a better place for having him. And even though my grandpa was so small at the end and that is hard. It makes me happy to know that after all this my grandfather was a giant again. And I just want to say thank you.”
I think they did a great job, and know my Dad can rest easy knowing his legacy is in good hands.