Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Blogger Idol "Play Along at Home" - Write Your Own Eulogy

Ok, so we weren't chosen for the Top 13 Contestants for Blogger Idol. But no matter, we're still going to do the "play along at home version." This week's prompt asks writers to introduce themselves through...a eulogy and it has to include at least one picture. After some debate as to who would write the eulogy post, we decided a group post where we all took a shot at it would be the most fun. Presenting...the Mamas and their eulogies.

Lisa: <Nessun Dorma plays in background> Thank you all for coming. Lisa was never a huge fan of prolonged mourning, she just thought there was not time for it, so today we celebrate her life in the way she would have wanted. Quick and painless (sorta), and with plenty of time to enjoy the day.

I am not going to bore you with lots of details of her life; I think we all know that the most important things in Lisa's life were her husband, Brandon, her 5 children, and her animals. Where they were is where home was, as far as she was concerned. She loved to read, to write, to sing in church and the shower, and to change the world by doing the smallest daily kindnesses she could.

A firm believer in Carpe Diem, Lisa would never waste a moment of the day. If there was something to do, she enjoyed doing it because hard work is one way to keep you humble. A devout follower of St. Francis of Assisi, she believed in treating everyone under the sky, animal or otherwise, with respect and love. She also loved to sing outdoors because St. Francis said: Always preach the gospel, when necessary use words. She was fond of saying that "You never know when something you do will change the course of destiny forever", and she lived her life that way.

Lisa wore many hats in her life: teacher, mother, babysitter, vocalist, and at one time, she was a model. But, that was not what she defined herself by. She defined herself by her actions because ultimately that  is all you will be remembered by. From the students she taught and expected perfection from (even though as low-income children, they were told otherwise by those around them), to the homeless man she befriended in DC and would ultimately help her at a tough moment (she fell down and no one dressed in a suit would stop and help her. The homeless man walked her the three blocks to the train station, propped on his shoulder), all the way to the strangers she'd make conversation with daily. That is how she lived.

Throughout her life, she never knew where she was going or what she was going to do next, but she always knew that if she tackled the day like it was her last, then she could go to bed happy that it wasn't wasted. Oh, she had her bad days and her temper was terrible when unleashed. But even those who were unfortunate to bear the brunt of her temper, always knew that there was some kind of lesson attached to it. Our job on this Earth is to remain eternal students, learn from everything around us, and be exceptions.

So, to celebrate her life, let us not focus on the sadness that we are feeling. Lisa was not ever one to remain sad for long. Let us all remember all the things she lived by and try to emulate that. Do one good deed daily, even if you don't feel like it. Always treat all life with respect, animal or otherwise. Learn something new each day and celebrate the simple joys in life. Pray to whoever you believe in and when you can sing that prayer. Life is short and in the end, only your actions will live on. Remember this and you will always remember her.

Oh, and one last thing! When you can, every Friday, go to a bar. Order a drink and a drink for someone else in the bar. Strike up a conversation, connect with someone else without expecting anything back from them. As Lisa was fond of saying, it is 5 o'clock somewhere.

            I appreciate your being here as we celebrate Liz’s life. Rather than weepy salutes, she would have preferred that we spent our time remembering what she was passionate about and what we should all take from our interactions with her.

Liz doing her favorite thing
            Many of you are here because you met Liz or worked with her in her favorite place – you met her while she was teaching at the college. She told me a story once about something her Dad, Mike, said to her when she was finishing her B.S. in psychology. He said, “Heck, why don’t you just get your Master’s and, like, stay here forever?” While he may have been being facetious, Liz apparently took it to heart or at least as an endorsement of her long-loved career of teaching. If you ask Liz’s Mom, she would tell you that even as a child, she played school. And she was always the teacher. As many of you will agree, she loved what she did. Her multiple nominations for teaching awards should say something about that (even the one that she lost to a dead guy). When she talked about the importance of loving your career, many of you who were previous students will remember her Dad’s famous words, “If you don’t like your job, find a new one. But just make sure you have a new one lined up before you quit the old one.” Smart man.
            For those of you who knew Liz outside of the college, you’ll remember that she was what she would call a “mishmash of life.” Her personality partly came from her early experiences with her family and partly from her adult life experiences. When her Mom became sick and unable to work in her early 40s, Liz worried. She worried it would happen to her too. After her stroke in 2008, two myocardial infarctions in 2009, two pregnancies that made all of her doctors scratch their heads, Lupus, and muscular tension dysphonia which caused her to lose her voice some days, Liz instead laughed – she wasn’t going to end up just like her Mom, she was going to go about messed up health in a completely different way. When other people were saying, “Well, I don’t know if I should do that because of what could happen later,” she was shaking her head, knowing that the randomness you could life could just, *poof*, end tomorrow.
            And that’s funny – it makes her sound as if she was carefree, but instead she was the person that tried to control everything she could. She knew how much money was in the bank account, when students were submitting assignments, what days had the most appointments, and when she’d have time to write. And then real life would happen. Her body would disagree with the requirements she was placing on it, and it would show her who is boss – bam, in bed for two days with a stupid cold due to a crap immune system. And that would of course frustrate her to no end until she finally accepted the possibility that she could get sick at any point and she just started doing everything way far ahead of time, just in case she was too sick to do it when it needed to be done.
            As always, there’s a take-away, a learning outcome if you will (oh how we discussed learning outcomes at our house). “Love it or leave it. Don’t stay and be crankypants. Nobody likes a crankypants person. Decide what is most important to you and fight for it. Everything else? No worries. Work hard, but make time for rest (or it will take time from you). Prepare…to be unprepared. But prepare as best you can anyway (just accept that something jacked up may happen).” I put those all in quotes as I’m betting that if you knew my wife you could hear her say those things in your head. Just as long as her voice isn’t telling you to do something bad then we’re all OK. Thank you for remembering her with me.
-Mike Wright

"Shots, shots, shots, everybodyyyy..." Brrrruuuurrrrpppp (interruption sound). Now, raise your glass! Take this shot...blonde headed sluts all around! (J├Ąger, peach schnapps and pineapple) This is to honor Robyn. To the girl that was a classic beauty. Her lashes were perfectly mascara'ed and each one was perfectly separated from the next. She had a love for primping, but was perfectly comfortable in going out in a t-shirt and messy bun. She loved being pampered (what girl doesn't?) Pedicures, spa treatments, and getting spoiled with flowers made her smile. Versatile, fun, educated, edgy and daring, she was. She had some of the baddest, best, bitches by her side. Hell, they helped her bury the body before she accidentally stepped down off the edge of that mountain. I mean, hypothetically bury the body of course. She never met a stranger, and was able to go anywhere and would always see someone she knew. Robyn was athletic, competitive, loving and caring. She had a heart bigger than Texas, and an addiction for chocolate bigger than that. She lived for the most random of moments. The ones where her and Mike, the absolute love of her life, would spend a Friday night with beer and takeout pizza on a tailgate. The ones where her kids would bring in animals from the backyard and want to keep them as pets in jars. Robyn wanted everyone to gather, not to be sad. But merely to celebrate. She wanted you all here to say hello and goodbye. So, say hello to your neighbor. Share a story, and take a shot and clink your glasses and cheers her name. Say goodbye and celebrate the legacy she's leaving behind. Share the good times, the laughter, the randomness, and most of all leave happier than how you came. Be happy that you knew the most gorgeous, loving, attentive, dedicated, kitchen dancing, most intelligent, country loving Texan bitch. Raise another glass and say it with me 'To the good times and to the nights we can't remember. May this be a chance to celebrate, reminisce and live in laughter together. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Live it by never wondering what if. Take risks. Love your family. Live your own dream!' 

What would your eulogy include (or what would you want it to include)? What do you most want to be remembered for?