My grandfather, Mercer's great-grandfather passed away this week. Mark held down the home front and I flew back to NJ to be with family.
Death is never easy, but in the state that Grandpop was in, peace was welcome.
I was asked by my Dad to write and then deliver my Grandfather's eulogy and below is what I came up with.
Enjoy. RIP Grandpop. Obituary can be read here: Grandpop's Obituary
|4 Generations - July 2010|
|Great Grandparents - July 2010|
Eulogy - Michael Lenhardt - Given 10.29.11 @ St. Gregory's Church
We see those 4 letters on tee-shirts and bumper stickers.
It’s an acronym that has permeated our culture and especially my generation.
WWJD - WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?
Each individual interprets that phrase a little differently. But overall it exists to remind us to live a little closer to how Jesus would have…to live the Golden rule.
And today, what I’d like you to do…is to take a little liberty with this phrase.
Because we could sit in this chapel and cry buckets over the soul that was taken from us.
We could shake our fists at God in anger for calling him home.
But, loud and clear, in my head, I can hear Grandpop saying, “Well…what good is that going to do you?”
So, I offer you this…let’s honor him by living our lives using his as an example….all of it – the good the bad and the ugly. Let’s think…WWMD…What would Mike do?
In case you need some examples of what, in fact, Mike would do…I am here to give you…
- Mike would admit that marriage is hard…but it’s worth it. So, all the petty squabbles that we think are dealbreakers …aren’t. To have your wife stand beside you and nurse you through your worst…well, that is love, that is commitment and that is what marriage is about.
- Mike would tell you to have a dog. And to treat that dog like it’s your baby. Spoil it, love on it, dote on it. Treat it like you would any two-legged member of the family and in some cases even better than that.
- Mike would tell you to have kids and enjoy them. He would encourage you to be a “present” parent; to help with homework, to lead cub scouts, to coach baseball, to sit in the audience and the stands and cheer your kids on – to be their biggest fan. And even when they’re well out of little league, continue cheering them on in the choices that they make in their lives.
- Mike would tell you that from time to time yelling is necessary. Whether it’s directed at a softball umpire, the television, your kids or your beloved dog…I know he’d say that sometimes you have to raise your voice to get your point across. And then he’d follow that up by telling you not to take it personally.
- Mike would tell you to never stop learning. And while you should respect the education that is afforded to you in the hallowed halls of your alma mater, he would add that up by saying that the world continues to teach you and you’d be a fool not to stop once in a while and soak it all in.
- Mike would tell you to indulge a little. Eat cereal at night, make your favorite Superbowl foods and feed your sweet tooth with your giant Chocolate Easter Bunny, your marshmallows covered in coconut and of course, your Turtles.
- Mike would tell you to be pragmatic. Save More, Spend less, Fix instead of buying new and sometimes be downright frugal. Because eventually, you’ll have a golfing hobby and grandkids to spend your money on.
In closing, I will tell you one last thing that Mike would do that all of us can do right now… Smile. You know, in the end, when it was difficult to communicate, his big smile said it all. It said hello and goodbye, it said please and thank you, it said that he was happy to see you, that he was proud of you and that he loved you.
So, as you fondly remember how he touched your life, hold you head high and smile. And feel that Granpop is smiling too as he looks down on us from the heavens as we go about our lives thinking WWMD.