Thursday, May 26, 2016

Eulogy of a Simple Man

Image 5-26-16 at 8.40 PM
One of my favorite family photos
Today we laid Richard Walker to rest.

For the funeral, Jared and his sister Tristin wrote the most beautiful eulogies for their father. As I remembered the life of this man who I love, I thought I would write my own in his honor.

I first met Richard in 2007 when Jared and I started dating. It was Family Weekend at Texas Tech University. The co-ed service fraternity Jared and I were both a part of hosted a luncheon for all the parents, and I was seated next to Richard. Once Jared introduced me to his father, Richard spent the rest of the luncheon telling me about Jared's many accomplishments. How successful he had been in soccer, bassoon and school. How Jared had plans for the future, and if I wasn't going to support those plans, I needed to step down.

I was stunned. My parents had given several boys who wanted to date me the "treasure speech", saying I was their treasure and they expected me to be treated as such. But I had never been the recipient! What Richard didn't know at the time was how much I loved his son, specifically for his ambition to become a doctor. For the hopes and dreams he had for his life. I had never met anyone who shared my motivation to live life to the fullest before Jared.

Fast forward a year. Jared took me to his hometown of Brownwood, Texas, to have dinner with his grandparents. Cindy and Richard came as well. At the end of dinner, after Richard had paid for everyone, we all walked outside and I said, "thank you for dinner, Mr. Walker".

Richard said, "Megan, you're family! You don't need to call me Mr. Walker. Richard is just fine". Even then, I knew I had been welcomed into a very sacred circle: the Walker family. Richard loved his family more than anything. To be included in that love means more than I can ever write.

Cancer is one of the greatest evils of our time. Over a period of six months, Richard battled a brain tumor and succumbed. I have really struggled with God's timing. Why now? Where was He during Richard's battle? During the funeral service, the minister read passages Richard had marked in his Bible for the funeral. Richard stunned me again. What kind of man, enduring such suffering, would have the presence of mind to write about his ending?

Later, I got the opportunity to look at Richard's Bible more closely. In the front, he had taped pictures of Jared and Tristin. In the back, he had written what he considered to be the most important dates of Jared and Tristin's lives: when they accepted Jesus as their Savior, when they were baptized, and when they were married and began their own families. Finally, on the last few pages, he wrote a section titled "The End". There, he detailed the Bible passages and hymns he wanted used at his funeral.

Immediately, I knew where God had been the past six months: at Richard's side, giving him peace. And because I knew Richard had peace, I have peace. I know where Richard is tonight. And it is not in a cemetery. 

Richard was a simple man. He loved simple things: family, friends and living life to the fullest. But his beliefs were not simple. Imagine the faith and trust in God it took to write those words in his Bible. Perhaps God even gave Richard a glimpse of his future home. I do not know, but one day I will when I see my beloved father-in-law again. I hope we enjoy a cup of coffee on the front porch of Heaven.

The view from where we laid Richard to rest