I was asked to write a eulogy by a stranger. A testament to a life of a man that I do not know. They offered to pay me, I said that I would do it for free. I stared at the screen, the white and empty page waiting for my words. They were slow to come.
I checked the details that I was given. Dates, likes and interests, flickering moments of a life now gone. I stared at the photo of the man who now lay dead. His smile gentle, hair greying, red cheeks that had seen to much sun and perhaps a little more rum. With eyes that seemed cheeky. He was loved, I am told, by quite a few.
His name was Harold, born in 1963. He lived near where he was raised, loving the land. He worked on a station alongside his old man. His mother had three other boys, Harold was stuck in the middle. His older brother died, at twelve. Harold married his sweetheart. Together they had three children, all adults now.
It was his eldest, Kelly, who asked me to write this piece. To put to paper words. To find a way beyond her grieving and insecurities as a writer, to express her deepest feelings. It’s no easy things to ask a stranger for help. It’s not that she does not care to write it herself, she just wanted to do it right. I can’t promise that this is any better than what she would have done. Though I am not going to be there, the funeral is interstate. She will know that I care, she made me feel for her and a family that I have never loved.
Harold, mate, we never met but you did alright with your kids who loved you dearly and friends who cared. Apparently you liked to tell a joke. It’s with that in mind that I assure you that we must never take life too serious because, well we all know the punchline to that one. You clearly, died to tell it.
It’s a beautiful thing when a man and woman meet young and stay together for so long. Janice met a boy and spent her lifetime with a man. A man who played footy, enjoyed the cricket, loved his Bathurst, it’s a shame you did not hold on that bit longer for one last race. At least you can catch up with Brock again, even though he is a few laps ahead of you.
A grandfather to four little grand kids, young and loved by a family that you helped make. It takes a man to raise children into adults, a man to love his wife and a man to be a good bloke. After speaking with your daughter, who is likely reading these words, I must say you have done a good job. We are known by the legacies we leave in our wake, it’s with the memories of those who we have touched that reveal who we were.
A top bloke, a good man, loving husband, larrikin but above all, Dad. May you rest in peace, in the afterlife make others laugh, to make up for the crying you have caused down here today, you will be missed. Your memory goes on, I never met you, never knew you but mate, I will never forget you. Neither will those who matter to you the most, those who love you. Harold, Dad we will miss you.
Rest on Harold.