I just found this draft in my garage, stashed away in a box of random papers. It’s 15 years old now, I’m finally getting around to typing it.
I began writing this eulogy shortly after I saw my father for the last time, 15 years ago now. For it was there that I realized that to me, he had already left this world. Only his body and mind hadn’t quite accepted it yet.
We sit here today and are told we should pray for forgiveness from the Lord for Robert Piersall.
We should pray for his soul to be raised up
But I know in my heart that my father doesn’t require God’s forgiveness.
He requires mine.
My father’s only sin lay in not knowing
how to be a father.
And perhaps not being interested enough
But being a parent doesn’t come with an instruction manual, and for that I forgive him.
So many times he wasn’t there, to kiss away the tears of a skinned knee.
Or a broken young woman’s heart.
He wasn’t there to rescue me from the shouts and slaps of a turbulent upbringing.
Or tell his teenage daughter that no man would ever be good enough to date her – just because he was my Dad, and I was his Princess.
In the times in my life when I had crawled so far out on a limb that I had nothing but a leaf to cling to, he wasn’t there.
When I told him that I was engaged to be married, his only concern was that I was already “living in sin”. He didn’t ask if my husband-to-be was a good man, or a good provider.
He didn’t ask if he would care for me, or make me happy.
He never did call me his Princess, and he didn’t really ask me anything that implied he was the least interested in my life. Yet I learned from him anyway.
In not being there, I believe he showed me the way to be there for my own children.
And in those times when the leaf I was clinging to broke off the branch
And I fell to the ground with no one to catch me
I learned to shed my tears, pick myself up, and move on.
Though he never told me I was pretty, or that he was proud of me,
Even though I was desperate to hear it
He made me realize that these assurances needed to come from within.
By judging my friends by their skin color, or nationality, and me by my religion, or lack thereof, my father taught me how not to judge, and to try and appreciate all mankind equally. I couldn’t be the good Christian my father wanted me to be; I could only be his daughter.
And in that task, I did the best I could.
With my father, I could talk baseball, or football, or sports cars, or the gas mileage on his exhaust-spewing diesel VW Rabbit.
I learned his few interests, because he never learned mine.
For letting so much of life pass him by,
Without reaching out and grabbing at so many of the joys and mysteries the Universe has to behold in it, my father taught me that I need to do just that.
For never sharing in his children’s triumphs and tragedies, however great or small, he has taught me how to do so in the future, with my own children.
So I do not ask the Lord to forgive my father.
Because I have forgiven him, and that is what really matters here on Earth.
And while he was not a father to me, more like a kindly uncle I saw now and then, he was nevertheless a good man.
With a good heart, and a ready smile.
And rarely a cross word for anyone.
And for that, I will always love him.
So do not pray for my father to gain ascension to Heaven.
For he has already been dwelling there.