Thoughts for a Great Man’s Funeral

On January 22nd, 2015, I took the opportunity to speak at a funeral for the first time in my life. It felt mildly selfish because at my own Father’s funeral in 2005 I didn’t have the strength for myself or for my family to say anything to those who had gathered to pay their respects. In a very strong way, speaking at my friend’s funeral this time around provided me with much needed closure. Additionally, the first time we do anything it is nerve-racking. Then hopefully the second time around it’s a little easier. Just like I’ve stated in this post from “Work Happy” #4, “Learning something new makes us temporarily incompetent.” Those are negative feelings but we can take that experience and grow stronger for the next time around. More for myself, I’ve outlined my words at the funeral so if I ever have to do something similar in the future, I have them available.

  • Introduction
    • I don’t know a lot of people here but there are a few familiar faces.
    • I haven’t been back to GA for many years and I wanted to pay my respects to Curtis and his family.
  • My Connection to Curtis
    • Both of my parents worked at University Hospital.
    • They would bring my brother and me for “hospital turnover.”
    • Many times we would just sit in a waiting room, but then other times we would go to the triage nurse’s station.
    • From the time I was 8 years old, the man with the bristly mustache was “Uncle Curtis” to my brother and me.
  • My Motivation for Speaking Today
    • Some know that my own father passed away because of very similar circumstances.
    • At the time I was 22 and I couldn’t find the courage or strength to speak at my own father’s funeral.
    • Today I hope that I will be able to find that strength.
  • We all have our own stories about Curtis:
    • These stories demonstrate to us and others who he is and why we love him.
    • Most of you know that Curtis was an avid hunter and gun collector.
    • So please allow me to share a short story of my own.
  • Sharing my Own Story:
    • Coming home from college when I was 20.
    • Drove straight to the hospital to visit my Dad on the night shift.
    • Curtis was there and we started talking about guns and my interest in buying something.
    • Finished our visit about 30 minutes later and I started to leave.
    • Curtis intercepted me and told me to follow him to his truck.
    • When we go there, he reached under the seat and started to hand me a Berretta .40 cal.
  • Allowing Amnesty for the Departed:
    • As I was about to take the gun, he paused and pulled the gun back.
    • In one quick motion he popped a round out of the chamber and with a smile on his face he said, “Oops Loaded.”
  • How I Remember Curtis:
    • Many ways, the same way I remember my own father.
    • Allow me to digress because unlike my 22-year old self, I have tried to think what this means.
    • Here is the conclusion that I have come to…
  • Five People
    • Recently, someone told me that we as individuals are a reflection of the 5 people that we are around the most.
    • For many years, Curtis was one of my Dad’s five people.
    • For that, I am a better person.
  • The Way I Will Remember Curtis:
    • I will remember his smiling face and his bristly mustache.
    • More importantly, I will remember that he was an adult that treated me with respect and trust.
    • That trust and respect gave me the confidence to grow into a man that is comfortable in his own skin.
  • Final Thoughts:
    • Although this ceremony is a celebration of life, for me personally it is better suited as my own show of gratitude.
    • That gratitude is towards a great man that treated a kid like the man he knew he might become.
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