Let me preface this by saying that this is not the eulogy – My Father’s Brother Tino will be doing the eulogy at the Church.
For those of you that do not know me I am Beau-pa’s (aka William, Mike, Michael’s) last child and daughter JoAnne. It’s actually an interesting story because I am the child that was “not wanted” by him. You could say I was a “surprise child” a “miracle child”. My Father thought he was done after four kids so he took matters into his own hands (literally) to try to prevent me from entering the world but BOY (oh boy!) did God have other plans for him! I entered his world screaming bloody murder and I will likely exit this world the same exit way! In fact I would imagine I will greet my Dad that way in heaven too. So we always had this inside joke, my family and especially my Dad and I, that I am his penance for his sins… Luckily I eventually got over the fact that I was an unwanted child and I never struggled from any post-traumatic stress disorder. Lol!
Being the last child I was definitely a spoiled princess and one of Daddy’s three little girls. There was nothing that my Dad and my Mom would not do for me or for any of us. From a very young age my Dad always taught his children about good work ethics and responsibilities I mean gosh the man had me working for him at age 7 sorting binders and etc. for his beloved shared company HMA Inc. He raised children who loved and still love to work whether it is inside or outside the home. He also gave us such a good example of how to make, build and fix things. All of us in one way or another are somewhat handy or crafty thanks to him. He was the type of person who could cut himself with a chainsaw and try to treat the wound himself! Thanks to him we all have probably saved a lot of time, money and energy avoiding hospitals and medical bills by self-treatment! He was the financial guru; the ultimate robbing Peter to pay Paul expert but definitely without paying any interest or fees! People have always asked me how me and my husband can afford 9 now 10 children and I have always credited it to my Dad and the wise words he taught me from a very young age: it pays to discover (as in the best credit card with 0% apr and no, this is not an ad!).
When my Mother and siblings and I were writing the obituary and my sister Jeanne read it back to us for a test run she listed many things and then said and he was loved by all who knew him. I immediately screamed NO! We all broke out in huge laughter. I did not mean that Beaupa was not loved by all but it came off that way and I have to admit that it was pretty hysterical. I explained that the phrase was so generic for a man who touched so many people’s lives. Yes, he was loved by all but anyone who knew him even strangers were ENAMORED by Dad and CHARMED by Dad. He was the epic story teller and you literally could have heard the man’s same stories a million times but he never told it the same way and it was always exciting. So my point with the obituary was you have to add something else because he wasn’t just loved by all…no, he basically stole everyone’s heart.
The day that my Father passed away he and I got into a huge and I would say for my part valid screaming argument LOL. BY THE GRACE OF GOD not only did we make up but the last moment I had with him, the words he said probably would not have happened had we not fought. The day he passed he had a great day with my four older kids, my Mother, and my brother and his family. I had taken his dog, snickers, to dog-sit for him. A little backdrop on Snickers, when my parents got snickers for the first time he literally replaced me. I went from favorite last child to nothing. LOL. My dad’s last words to me were, “I have three things to say to you. 1. I am sorry. 2. I love you. 3. Now give me my dog!” Now, you have to know the order of his 3 things were actually perfect and I knew – in some weird way – that he was sorry for everything in his life not just for me and our argument that day… it was the way he said it and the look he had on his face. The hysterical part is that he ended it on a funny note. That was him! Of course he would exit MY world on a joke and laughter not to mention that I am actually semi-irritated that my dad’s very last words to me were about my arch-enemy snickers the dog! Joking aside I actually love the darn dog now…
The day after my Dad died I went to post one of my favorite passages on Facebook. The passage was, “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Now, I had never known where this passage was from before but I loved it and boy did The Lord do just that… after I posted it I tried to do my typical morning prayers but I could not pray. Typical side effect when you lose someone so close to you; it is hard to say or do anything unless it is for a purpose like funeral planning. Since, for obvious reason I had barely been speaking to the Lord, I decided to go old-skool and just open the Bible at random to see what the Lord had to say about all of this. I flipped it open and it was the book of Job. I was like, of course it was the book of Job. I do not know a lot about the Old Testament but I know that Job’s life, well, for lack of better words sucked royally. That was my take-away anyways. So I read the page and as per the norm with the Old Testament it was a lot of yadda yadda yadda (shout out to the yadda girls!). I did not understand what God was trying to tell me here… I marked the page and closed the bible and sighed. I grabbed my book light (because that’s what happens after you turn 40 you need book lights now) and used it for the other side of the page and there was one tiny section that talked about Job stripping his clothes (don’t worry this isn’t an X-rated part) and do you know what he said? He said, “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Well, as if I had not lost it enough already I completely crumbled and told God I got the message loud and clear and we were done talking for the day. Lol!
On the same evening after two days of funeral planning I went to pick up my car from the mechanic. I got in the car and realized… me, who called or talked to my Dad easily 3-5 times a day had not talked to my Dad since Sunday afternoon. I called him so much that he gave me the name “Old Faithful” and that is how he answered the phone when I called him. So at that moment in the car I immediately started talking to my Dad again and I began telling him all that we have been doing since he left us. I told him how much he would have loved to have seen his kids so united and laughing so much in the midst of so much sorrow. As I continued talking to him I thought about how he would have taught me about how in Corporate America we would have to look at these situations from a different perspective or as my Mom would always sing, “It’s all the way you look at things.” At that moment I smirked upwards and said, “Yeah, for example…I can talk to you now Dad and you can’t argue back at me… You can’t cut me off… You can’t cut my conversations with my Mom’s short. I am pretty sure selective hearing in Heaven does not exist so maybe you will actually hear AND listen to what I am telling you. And (as an inside joke) we the siblings won’t have to worry about anyone sending out any silver alerts on someone who may or may not be present in this room.” Yeah Dad, you are right…I didn’t look at this from that angle…
My Dad was and is my hero. I adored the man and he knew it. I just recently started staying overnight once a month or so at my parent’s house so as to spend more time with them. I am so glad I did. There is nothing that made him happier than being with his kids and sometimes, Grandkids (just kidding). He was not just a man from every title (son, husband, Father and etc.) he was a man of God. He had his own way of talking to Jesus and Mary just as we all do. His conversations with The Lord were most likely unconventional but hey, at least he was in dialogue with his God.
Dad, the day you passed away it down poured all day. Heaven was not crying the earth was. You have left a huge hole on earth. But we, your beloved wife and children, we will be sure to always keep your title alive for you truly were –as many also called you-, “Mike: the man, the myth, the legend. “ I hope that wherever you are right now that they are getting your drink right, “Dewar’s Scotch on the rocks, in a snifter, with a splash of water with a lemon twist.”