Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Addendum to Father-in-Law Tribute

I'm touched by the amount of people who contacted me through email and private message to thank me for the tribute to my father-in-law. As a writer, my best way of 'coping' and 'dealing' with things is to write it out, and so this was a pretty crucial part of the mourning process for me. I'm glad so many people enjoyed it and felt emotionally moved by it.

I also got a few emails from people asking about the memorial service eulogy that I referred to in the blog tribute. I thought it would be nice to continue some public acknowledgement of a really great man and share the eulogy that I wrote and presented (there was actually several, but for privacy sake, I'll only present my own). Now, the piece does contain a lot of the same stuff I mentioned in yesterday's tribute, but goes into more specifics of why I think his laughter and smiling are such fond memories for me.

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In a few years, my child is going to ask me what Grandpa Ho was like. The first thing I’ll tell my child is grandpa smiled and laughed. Because that is the image I always get when I think about him.

I know I got it real easy when I first started dating Emily. I had heard horror stories from friends about the terror that was meeting the girlfriend’s dad. They cowered in the corner from this mammoth, angry bear-man who would interrogate them and scowl at them until they cried like a little baby. I didn’t experience that; now partly this was due to the fact I was about twice the size of Emily’s father. The other was that almost instantly I remember my father-in-law displaying his award winning smile and letting out a laugh that spread joy through the entire room. I always felt welcomed and happy when I was with him. I have known my father-in-law for over 7 years, and almost every memory I have of him involved smiling and laughing. My father-in-law was always great for my ego because he would make me feel like the world’s greatest comedian by laughing every time I tried to be funny, and actually laugh at me most of the time I wasn’t trying to be funny, too.

I have many fond memories of my father-in-law’s jokes and witty remarks. I remember calling him out for not playing a board game properly, and then him telling me the fun doesn’t start until you start cheating, then he’d end his remark by flashing a sly grin – so you knew he was joking. His sense of humour stayed with him even after he was ill. One time, at the Hospice he had just used the special jug to relieve himself. After it was clean, he passed it over to me and asked if I was ready to use it? At first I was confused and shocked, and I was ready to explain that it was for him. But then I saw it. The trademark, awarding winning Peter Ho smile, and I knew he got me and was once again joking.

I will have a lifetime to share with my child that his grandpa was a great man, and my child will learn of all his wonderful traits. But first, I will tell my child that one of the most important things I learned from grandpa was that life is far more magnificent if you remember to laugh and smile.

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