Tomorrow is this wonderful man's funeral, and I'm to give the first eulogy. Since many of you won't be able to come to funeral mass itself, I thought that I would share what I'm going to say.
Dearest Nikolaus and Joseph,
Let me first say that I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry that you only had 3 short years with your loving Grampsy Marlin, even if those years were filled with love, joy, and laughter.
In years to come, I'm sure you will come to wonder who your Grampsy was. You hear many of the same words used over and over that described him: gentle, kind, giving, and loving. These are all true, but if you really want to know who your Grampsy Marlin was, all you have to do is look inside yourselves and at each other. Everything that your Grampsy was runs strong in each of you, and we all can see so much of him in you.
Joseph, in you can see your Grampsy Marlin's love of building. When you very precisely build your Lego pyramids, or block towers, that is your Grampsy's love of building coming through. All corners are square, and everything always needs to be “just so”. As I leaf through your coloring books, I always know who colored what. If a picture is colored precisely in the lines and is done in one color, I know that my dear Joe colored it, making his Grampsy proud, by always coloring in the lines. The concern you show for the neighborhood children when one of them falls down and gets a “boo boo” is also something that your Grampsy would have done. Reaching out a hand, to lift someone up.
Nikolaus, your sense of humor is so much like your Grampsy Marlin's, I find it startling at times. Like your grandfather, you walk through life with a mischievous twinkle in your blue eyes, and a smile on your lips that radiates to the entire world, welcoming them in, and wanting to be friends with everyone. The houses and rooms you design with your Lincoln Logs made him so very proud, and he loved playing with you. Nothing would make him happier, also, than having you crawl into his lap with a book and ask him to read it to you. He, too, loved to read, and loved books.
But the similarities aren't divided between the two of you. Some things you both share equally.
The small things, like your love of wearing hats, your love of singing and music, and of always wanting to have clean hands you share with your Grampsy. But there are bigger things, too. The empathy that you share so readily with everyone—when those around you are happy, you're happy. When those around you are sad or upset, you want to cheer them up, or console them. Grampsy hated seeing anyone sad.
Your deep and abiding love of family and the human race in general reminds me everyday of the legacy your grandfather has left us.
Nothing made Grampsy Marlin happier than when he was fixing something at our house, or Grammy Rose's, and he had his two little helpers. Like the day the three of you replaced the faucet in our kitchen. And then it “magically” turned into a fountain, soaking everything and everyone. He taught you that day that it's important to make sure a job was done well, and completed.
Having the two of you toddle after him, handing him tools, whether he needed them or not, and perhaps picking up some of his expertise along the way, gave him more joy than you will ever know.
As your mommy, all I can do is hope and pray that all those things continue to live strong in you. A strong and abiding love of family and friends, a respect for authority, a lot of fun and humor, and a strong sense of community. To grow into fine men, with all of these qualities would be the greatest gift you could ever give your Grampsy and yourselves. I love you Nikolaus and Joseph, and know that your Grampsy Marlin is smiling down from Heaven, and helping to guide you everyday of your lives.
All my love,