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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Memories from the Funeral Part II

When Keith died many people wanted to eulogize him at the funeral. Myself, Our brother and younger sister among them. I felt a deep need to be the one who spoke and by God's grace I was chosen to give the eulogy at the end of the Mass. A few days after the funeral I shared the transcript (as best as I could remember) on my blog.

Here is what I said . . .

On behalf of Lynn and her children, my parents and my brothers and sisters I'd like to welcome you to the Illinois regional Jeopardy auditions. (wait for laughter to subside) Keith and the rest of our family grew up at this church. The first funeral I recall attending was here. It was for the father of a school and scouting friend of Chris and mine. After the service, my dad approached the widow and said "38 is much too young to go."

Now, I was about 10, and like maybe many of you, (motioning to the students) 38 did not seem young to me at all. But let me tell you, 38 is much too young (Keith was 38 when he died). When you love somebody whenever they die it is always much too soon.

Many people who knew Keith only by his diagnosis (bi-polar disorder) might think that there were two Keith's. That was so untrue. There was only one Keith. He had a greater capacity for love and enjoyment than anyone I ever knew. He loved his family. He loved playing games and he loved jokes. He was active in his children's schooling and scouting. (I meant to talk briefly how he loved chess and how he was helping my son Charlie with his chess class on their last visit together a week before he died. I didn't get to that part. I also wanted to talk specifically about how much he loved his wife Lynn, missed that as well). He was logical to the point of being obnoxious or perhaps for the purpose of being obnoxious. He'd be at a a party at my house and I'd say "Keith there's Pepsi in the cooler if you want one." And he'd say "Actually, there's Pepsi in the cooler even if I don't want one."

Keith's passing has left many of us with the same question. A question my daughter Emma has asked many times this week. "Daddy, why did Uncle Keith have to die?" I don't think it was any coincidence that Keith died during Holy Week. During the same time that many of you were celebrating the stations of the cross and asking "Why did Jesus have to die?" Pastor Ed you are right Keith is not asking those questions now. Keith understood the hope of the resurrection and He is in heaven right now with his Savior.

During the past 3 years during the course of his illness, (Keith had heart and kidney ailments) many people have stopped me and asked me "How is Keith? How is your brother doing?" Keith is doing great. He is doing better than we can even imagine.

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