Monday, June 29, 2009

Eulogy to Pa

Robert Regan, affectionatly known to me as Pa, was born on October 31st of 1934 and died on June 10th of 2009. His funeral service was held at St. Mary's in Dedham on June 26th. I read the following at his service:

Pa had a red pick up truck. When I was little. I don’t know exactly how little… when we lived in the apartments at Bahama Drive and he would come visit, I could see his red truck from my bedroom window. I’d get so excited to be the first one to see him coming I’d shout Pa’s Truck! So fast and enthusiastically that it came out of my mouth (with a Boston accent) PARK! So I called him Park for the first part of my life.

But a red pick up truck is not the icon I associate closest with my Pa. To this day, it’s a piece of ripped paper towel that always makes me think of him.

When Meaghan and I were little, Mom and Dad used to take us to Pa and Irene’s house where we’d spend the day playing bar tender at Pa’s Budweiser Emporium in the basement. The bar was fancy, done up in everything Bud from a singing can to a clydesdale clock. I remember my favorite thing to do was use his ice crusher. Meaghan and I used to sing on Irene’s microphone. We’d venture into the wilds of the unfinished half of the basement to get ice pops from the freezer. For a while, too, there was a fish tank full of colorful neons and a little frog until Pa was kind enough to adopt Meaghan’s beta fish and it ate every last living thing in the tank.

Most of all though, I remember one very brief moment clearer than anything. It was a moment where something was said that probably didn’t have the weight and meaning behind it that I associate with it today. I was trying to tear a piece of paper towel off the roll and only got most of it off. A corner hung off the roll. Pa pulled it off and handed it to me and he said “Regans always use the whole piece of paper towel.”

It didn’t mean anything. Except it means everything to me now. Pa was never the kind of person to do something in part. He always finished what he started. He always took the whole piece, the whole project. He took life whole. He loved with his whole heart. And h e fought with his whole spirit and nerve.

So now not only do I take the whole piece of paper towel, but I take on the whole of life and love. Pa taught me to live life to the fullest. To be whole. And although a little piece of life feels like it’s missing now. It really isn’t. He lived his whole life the way he wanted to, and this, this is part of life too. As hard as it is now, he’s brought us together, brought us together to remember him as a whole person who impacted the whole lives of everyone around him.

Missing him is part of the whole.

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