Today I had the great honor to be able to deliver a eulogy for a friend.
If you read my recent post you already know about my relationship with Joe Colmer and his wonderful family. The Colmers were kind enough to ask me to speak today and I was humbled and honored to help them to celebrate Joe’s life.
Unfortunately I am no stranger to eulogies having delivered them for each of my parents and my beloved aunt Marilyn but today was different. My seat was in the third row. I was merely a supporting player, someone to help lend a unique perspective to the prism of Joe’s life.
I was the last of the four people to speak and the only non-family member. As I sat in my aisle seat, with my speech in one hand and a bottle of water in the other, I was blown away by the eulogies delivered by each of the three family members – Glen, Adam and little Sabrina.
I know how hard it is to muster up the courage and composure to speak eloquently about someone you have loved your entire life. It is for that reason why I am so proud of Joe’s grandson Adam. The young Marine rose from his seat in the front row walked to the podium with a stiff spine and a gentle quiver in his lip. He unfurled the folded piece of paper containing his hand written prose and then proceeded to give one of the best eulogies I have ever had the honor to witness.
What made it even more impressive was that he only referred to the words, that he had probably crafted very carefully in blue ink on a sheet of notebook paper, only a few times during the 4 to 5 minutes speech. Dressed in his Marine dress blue uniform he stood next to the flag draped casket of his war hero grandfather and took gentle aim at the hearts of everyone in the room. Adam’s eulogy was part history lesson, sermon and love letter. When Adam finished his proud father stood and hugged him. Their embrace reminded me of all the hugs I have photographed over the years when young soldiers return home safe from far off conflicts like Afghanistan or Iraq.
When the service was over I stood in line to say one final goodbye to Joe and standing proudly at the foot of his grandfather’s casket was Adam. Never has a young Marine worn the U.S. Marine Corp dress blue uniform with such distinction and pride. I shook his hand, gave him a hug and told him that he made his grandfather very proud today.
I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that a hero like Joe Colmer would have a grandson like Adam.