and it hasn’t sunk in. Oh, how my worries for my Dad turned into an awful reality.
Strangely, the surgery went well… he was going to walk out.
The recovery in the following hours did not. My Dad passed away on December 7th. I’m so sad. I’m so so sad. My heart aches for my Mom. My heart aches. So many things don’t seem important anymore. I can’t believe Christmas is next week.
My family is amazing. I am blessed with the most amazing brothers and sister , Mom, husband and in-laws. I can’t imagine facing the last ten days without them…. I am lucky…. in that way.
I wanted to post this while it was still fresh. As the “kids” talked about the things we wanted to highlight or share in a Eulogy about my Dad, I pulled our thoughts together. I wrote the following.
My brother Dave shared our thoughts in Words of Remembrance and made some of this his own…
Death is funny. Death is what makes you think about life. In this case, our Fathers life. Maybe you think about how it impacts your life. Maybe you think about how you are living your life and what you are doing in life. I know, for us, it did. We didn’t have to look long at the life we had with Dad. We chose to look at it as a story. In the words of my Mom, “All of us have a story” and this… this is his story. All of you. I look at at all of the people here. Look around you. You probably know some people and not others. I can bet that many have you have heard stories about each other from my Dad – and you don’t know it. He was a great story teller. Many of you know that. I’d like to take a few minutes and talk about three chapters of my Dad’s life story.
He was a family man. He was an amazing father and my Mom was an amazing partner. Together they made a great team and together they created an incredible family. He was a provider and he loved all of us, and all of you so much. You are all part of his family – our family. He put my Mom and us kids above everything else. He and my Mom lived for us, and we lived in him – in them. I feel so proud to say that and so do my sisters and brother. He learned this from his Father and along the way he learned it with his brothers and sister.
Dad was courageous. And from the stories I have heard he got much of that courage because his father had it too. He wasn’t afraid to share his view on something and challenge you when you couldn’t see the whole picture. We, the three of us, grew so much from hearing his perspective. Being challenged can be hard but having the courage to challenge someone can be even harder. It’s not the easiest thing to hear sometimes but it always shed great light on what choices are in front of us, how to look at the whole picture and how to consider everything when making a choice about one thing. He made me… think differently.
And funny. Boy, was he funny. I have to say, he had the best sense of humor. And for those of you that have spent time with a couple of my siblings, you may have notices that he really passed that trait on. Whether he was at the butt of a joke or delivering a joke, it was funny. He was inspired by humor and was happy injecting it anywhere. Whether you were the neighbor who received a gift of a used swingset on your front lawn because he no longer wanted it, or you were they guy who’s car had a matching key with his and your car got moved around when you weren’t paying attention( in the Providence College parking lot) – he was always angling for the next funniest thing. He chose to see the humor in life. It’s there, and when you were with my Dad, you never had to look too far.
Let me give you an example that ties into family, courage and humor. My brother in law Shad had been dating my sister Betsy for a while. When he was ready to propose to her, he called my Dad to ask permission. Shad talked for a few minutes and said “Mr Reilly, I would like to ask your daughter to marry me.” Do you know what my Dad said to him? “oh great, which one?”
I bet you that you can walk around the Country Club today when we are celebrating my Dad’s life and hear some great stories – many about good times. Fun times. You know what, we challenge you to ask someone there that you don’t know how they met my Dad. It’s really a great way to fill the chapters of your book of my Dad too. We all have an impact on each other. Certain people can really bring us together. My Dad was a connector in so many ways. He was a connector as a father, he was a connector as a husband, a friend, a coworker, an uncle, a Godfather, a mentor, a grandfather and a brother. I think today is a great day to get connected with each other, as he would have done had he been here. We all affect one another and are all here because of my Dad’s story.
I want to conclude by saying thank you in sharing this celebration of my Dad’s life with us today. And I want to share something very special with you that I have learned from my son Mike recently. He wrote a college essay on the affect you have on people. He wrote a few lines that I want to share with you today because I think they are a great way to view life: You never know what day will be your last nor do you know what moment will be, so I try my best to make everyone a good one and I think all others should. Leave a mark on the earth as you would want to. Have a purpose. Have an impact. Live and Die this day. My Dad did this.