Ten Speakers -- I am hiding
in the middle of the back .
in the middle of the back .
After my husband's Saturday morning memorial service, three people were scheduled to give a eulogy at the lunch at our house. His son and Kenny gave their reflections and then my husband's family had to leave. The buffet food was ready and so we started to dish up. It turns out I never gave the eulogy on my husband that June 28th as planned. I looked for that opportunity to shout his praises and celebrate his life.
Toastmasters has a Speak-a-Thon on those rare fifth Mondays. June 30, 2014 was a fifth Monday in 2014. Ten people can speak in a Speak-A-Thon at our Toastmasters club. When I went online to the club's web site, there were nine speakers for June 30. I signed up for the tenth spot--a chance to speak from my heart about the sterling qualities that my husband exhibited during his Alzheimer's--my eulogy at last. My Professional Speaker's manual said 15 to 20 minutes. I would use all those minutes and loved pouring out my heart to a captive, friendly audience of the club my husband had accompanied me to some Monday evenings. My motivation and goal for the speech was to grieve well as I honored him and was truthful about my feelings.
What I did say:
- My husband was often called the most mild dementia patient anyone had contact with. For example, my Alzheimer's Association facilitator "Ann", who has authored on this blog, said so and she knew us well.
- My husband showed intelligence during the disease. We didn't have to argue about driving as others have. He said, "I wish to be a passenger."
- My husband's humor shown forth during the disease as you often saw on this blog.
- He had filters and manners (many dementia patients don't). He did not embarrass me by what he said or did.
- He accepted the disease and his own death. Recently he told Kenny that he was "done" with all of the moving from the Geri chair to the wheel chair, and then to the bed.
- As a Christian couple we both knew he was going to be at home with Jesus in heaven and we talked about that.
- I so miss HIM--even HIM with his disease
- I referenced Ira Byrock's The Four Things That Matter Most--the importance of saying I forgive you, thank you, I love you and good-bye. I understand that book much more now.
What I didn't say but might have if I had had the time:
- I received phenomenal help last week from out-of-town people. What a lift as we got ready for the memorial and the lunch following that at our home.
- I have way too much food in the house now.
- What valuable lessons I had learned from the first time I was a widow. That's another speech (or a blog post here).
Other Toastmaster speakers last night said:
- Most people regret what they didn't do.
- Don't give people power over you.
- "The current processes are designed for the course you are on." I think that David Gallistracce is credited with this quote.
At the end of the Toastmaster meeting, I got notes about my speech. Here is a sampling:
- Beautiful display of love for your husband!
- You made me smile and touched me at the same time!
- Class, character, courage, Carol!
- Raw and powerful!
Life is worth living, people are worth loving even if they die, and let the grieving process begin. This morning I meditated on this powerful Scripture:
[You] will not remember the reproach
of your widowhood anymore.
For your Maker is your husband,
The LORD of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.