From Mitzi - Bill’s Youngest Daughter
My father didn’t want a funeral or a big fuss after his death. He didn’t want a service and he didn’t want a big deal made out of it. But it was a big deal. For all of us left to grieve him, it will be a scar that never heals. Even though he hadn’t wanted a traditional funeral, we did have a lot of time to say goodbye, in many ways. I had even prepared a speech, in case I had the opportunity to say a few words on his behalf. The day we went to lay flowers at his grave, I figured that would be my chance. We had a nice gathering of family, but the weather quickly became ominous and the rain poured down in buckets and the thunder and lightening were intimidating. So I guess, in a way, he got his way - no crying by his graveside, no eulogies and no big deal. We all stood in the rain and put flowers on his grave, but really we didn’t have a chance to have words or anything like that. We all rushed back to our cars and were drenched.
So this is the eulogy I had hoped to say at his funeral, these are the words I had written up, and I would like to share them with all of you, his friends and family.
It has been said that the loss of a parent is one of life's most traumatic events. I now know the devastating truth of that statement. As I am standing up here today, I realize how fortunate I was to have him as my Father. There are no words to express his influence in my life. My father, Bill, passed away August 15th at the age of 72.
I've been told that, in time, the hurt will fade, only to be replaced by positive memories that soothe the soul. Already, I can feel that happening. Maybe it's because my father and I had a simple and loving relationship. We understood each other and appreciated each other. We shared so many interests, and in so many ways I see that I am very much like him. Just like my dad, I could spend my entire day in front of the computer, and feel immense satisfaction from a good virus scan or freeing up hard drive space.
My father was one of the most brilliant and interesting men I've ever known. He loved being the center of attention, telling involved stories of his adventures, or silly jokes and riddles. I loved to hear him tell stories of his life. I was often surprised to learn something amazing about my dad. And his jokes and riddles, we got to hear them repeated over and over. My children know all the same jokes and riddles from sitting on the front porch of his home while he delighted in confusing or amusing them.
I loved to hear him teach too. He loved to quiz me with math and science questions. It was beyond my comprehension, how he could maintain so much information and recall it with such ease. He could remember math questions from the 7th grade and science questions from college. All like he just read it yesterday. And he really enjoyed stumping me and outsmarting me. Which happened more often than I like to admit!
Our conversations were often about books and computers. After he began getting dialysis, I would spend so much of my time getting audio books from the library and copying them for him. So many of our conversations were spent discussing the merits of characters, the failures of authors and brilliance of readers. It was always such a fun conversation when we would discuss the audio books.
He loved all his grandchildren and always lit up when they came over. He was so proud when my husband and I decided to bestowed “Cartwright” as our son’s middle name. I was proud of my father, and I wanted his legacy and his name to be carried forward. I am so happy that my children got to know my father so well. We came to visit often, and I am grateful that my children have so many happy memories of their grandfather.
The type of man he was, he needed to be waiting on hand and foot. And Eloise did that, and more for him. He was truly blessed that he had Eloise in his life for so very long. Their 30th wedding anniversary would have been in October. She was his strength, and she was not just his reason to live, but literally his ability to live. If love could have saved him, he would have lived forever.
During some of his last days, I knew he was worried about my well being and safety. Eloise told him I was coming to visit, and he told her that she would have to say to keep an eye on me because I keep running off. Maybe he was thinking of me as a 5 year old child, but the sentiment was there – he didn't want anything bad to happen to me and he was concerned. It was very touching to know that, even during the most difficult times of his life, he was worried that I might run off and get into trouble or come to harm.
I hope that one day, when I die, my children can look back, tell funny stories about me, and talk about how I loved them and influenced them. Then, like my father, I will have led a complete life.
These are some of his little limericks and poems he used to tell me as a child. When he was in the hospital, I printed a few of these up and read them to him. The she-toad one is always confusing to me, and even though I was reading the poem, he was way ahead of me and had it finished before I could!
A tree toad loved a she-toad
Who lived up in a tree.
He was a two-toed tree toad
But a three-toed toad was she.
The two-toed tree toad tried to win
The three-toed she-toad's heart,
For the two-toed tree toad loved the ground
That the three-toed tree toad trod.
But the two-toed tree toad tried in vain.
He couldn't please her whim.
From her tree toad bower
With her three-toed power
The she-toad vetoed him.
One bright morning in the middle of the night,
Two dead soldiers got up to fight.
One was blind and the other couldn't see
So they chose the Devil for the referee.
Back to back they faced each other,
drew their swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise
and came to kill the two dead boys
If you don't believe this lie is true,
ask the blind man, he saw it, too.
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear,
But Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair,
So Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't really fuzzy,
Ooey Gooey was a worm,
A mighty worm was he.
He sat upon the railroad tracks...
The train he did not see.