Eulogy for Uncle Tom

On Saturday my godfather and Uncle died. He was many things…

a father, a husband, a grandfather, a brother, an uncle, a friend

And to many of those people, he was also a disappointment.  Like a lot of people, he had missteps in his life… failed relationships, decisions he wish he hadn’t made, words he shouldn’t have said. He expressed opinions to us, his family, about other family members; words that caused a rift that never healed.

Yet, when I look at the above picture, all of that fades away. Because all I see is a child, beloved by his mother and his family. I see a child caught in a moment of pure joy.  And in that child, I see my own kids and their innocence. We are all that child at heart, wanting to be loved and cared for… wanting the approval of others.

I see a gift in that photo. I see my Uncle Tom as he was…

a father, a husband, a grandfather, a brother, an uncle, a friend

I see the uncle who sent me letters at college because he remembered hating the empty mailbox in his own school days. I see the godfather who always gave me a five dollar bill as a child so I would know I was special to him. I see the husband who spoke with such love for his wife that it filled his face with joy when he said her name. I see the grandfather who couldn’t get enough of his granddaughter. I see the brother who told me stories about my dad always looking out for him. I see the father who never failed to mention his daughter’s accomplishments. I see the friend who always had a funny memory to share.

And I see a lost chance to revel in all of this instead of mire in the hurt.

Our families often know how to hurt us the worst. Because at our core we want them to love us the most. Today in honor of my Uncle Tommy, I resolve to let go of any hurt I feel from my family. Instead I chose to believe in the love I feel for them. Life is short and unexpected deaths are not in vain because they remind us of that.

Life is short, so live for today. And love like there is no tomorrow.


  1. That is really beautiful and sad, Kate. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  2. This really touched home for me. When my daughter’s father passed away, I went through some of the same emotions you are feeling now, and what really brought it home for me was seeing the photos of him as a child at his memorial. xoxo

  3. What a beautiful Eulogy. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  4. You have expressed your thoughts beautifully! I am so sorry for your loss.

  5. Sorry to hear about your uncle’s unexpected passing. What a great way to remember him, though, and to see how fleeting life, and all our struggle, is.

  6. Andrew Canterbury says:

    Thank you.

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