In Loving Memory
The following was read at his memorial service, held on, November 21, 1998
Ive tried very hard to come up with words to paint a pretty picture of my fathers life. But his life was anything but pretty. So I thought that maybe if I attempted to retrace his last moments here on earth, I could gain a little insight into his world. Little did I know that writing this eulogy would cause me to retrace my own footsteps.
Im often a deep thinker and I delve into things trying to figure out what it is Im suppose to learn from all of this. I read something the other day that gave me a little insight. It said, We are inclined to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching. In actual fact, it is to be turned into something even better than teaching, namely, character. [Our experiences] are not meant to teach us anything, they are meant to make us something.
It truly amazes me that God really does cause ALL things to work together for good. As most all of you know, I was raised in an abusive home. My father was the abuser. I have spent many years in support groups and counseling and then five years ago I gave my broken heart to God for repairs. Words cannot describe the emotions brought on in the writing of the eulogy. I cannot begin to express the irony of this service today. I have spent my entire life hating this man that I love so dearly. And now, today, our relationship has come full circle.
I thought, five years ago, when Christ forgave me that I forgave my father. But this past week has shown me a different story. I thought, 17 months ago when he died, that all my bitterness, anger and rage died too, but again I was wrong as the past week has also shown me.
My first draft at this eulogy told you of all the horrible things he has done. My second draft made a prime example of my father in how NOT to live. And now, Im at my third try at this. It has been a process of peeling back the layers of that bitter onion -- my relationship with my dad. And now I know, that this day, this memorial service is not about me or my rights. It is about my father. A man who lived his life without honor -- that I an honoring today.
My father, Bill Goundie, died on May 9th, 1997. He was 73 years old. His official cause of death was respiratory failure, cancer of the lung, eskemic heart disease and he was a chronic alcoholic. He also had diabetes and a year or so before his death had to have a part of his foot amputated. My sister offered to take care of him but he refused. He said he wanted to die alone. As a vagrant, he ended up in a homeless shelter, in Marysville, California. He died in the hospital near the shelter. It then took two months before they were able to locate any family members that were willing to claim his remains, which were my mother, my sisters (Jennifer and Mary) and me. His brothers denied him.
My sister then kept his remains for the next 17 months. Little did I know, that God was using this time to prepare me for this day. Finally, she was willing to let go and gave the remains to my mother, who in turn shipped them to me. And I will be taking him back to Childress, Texas, where he was born, to be buried along side his family.
In researching his final moments, I found that he was living at this shelter for quite sometime. They remember him well and he was well liked among his peers. I spoke with the mission yesterday and was told that Reverend Ash visited with my father quite a bit in the hospital. Reverend Ash assures me, that without a doubt, that in my dads last days he gave his heart to Christ. Even right before going to the hospital, he attended the missions evening chapel services and on several occasions he answered many altar calls and was prayed for and he in turn prayed for himself and for his family. Reverend Ash said he was confident that he had found peace with the Lord and turned his life over to Him.
I grieve the loss of my father, not in his death, but in his life. Im very sorry that he never knew peace. Im sorry that he never knew the comfort of a loving family and a stable life. It seems he spent his whole life wandering and lost. But now I know, that he has found peace for his soul. I know he received Jesus Christ into his heart. I rejoice in knowing that my father, my dad, has met our Savior face to face -- that he has found comfort, peace, and shelter in the arms of our Lord.. I rejoice because of the scripture that says: HE shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away... has come to pass for my father.
When I first started writing this tribute to my dad, it was very painful and sorrowful for me. But now, it has turned to a time of rejoicing because it is no longer a passing that I mourn today -- but rather, a Home Going that I celebrate.
So the full circle is this: Today, daddy, I thank you. Through you I was brought into this world. And just like a new born babys cry is so important as it opens up all the air passages in its lungs -- so too are the emotions you gave me. Because to the depth that I have felt pain, is the depth I have felt love. Through you, daddy, Ive learned the power of forgiveness and compassion. Through you, I have learned love.
If I am to make an example of my dads life it would be this: That we have ALL sinned and we have ALL fallen short of the glory of God. And no matter how low we fall, no matter what wrongs we have done, no matter how little we have loved -- there is mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus. And I think if my dad were here and could tell you his thoughts, I believe it would be to not let life pass you by... dont wait until the end of your life to let Love in, love your family and your friends, and give your heart to Jesus Christ.
Now, I would like to play a song for my dad, for all of us, entitled, Mercy Said No and then close with a moment of prayer.
I was just a
child when I felt the Savior leading. I was drawn to what I could not understand.
demanded justice for my soul...
For God so loved
the world that He sent his Son to save us. From the cross He built a bridge to set us
Mercy said no,
I'm not gonna let you go, I'm not gonna let you slip away, you don't have to be afraid.
And now when
heaven looks at me, it's through the blood of Jesus, reminding me of one day long ago...
My dearest Father, in heaven, I thank You and bless Your holy name. Thank You for allowing me the privilege of holding this memorial service and for the privilege of carrying my fathers remains back to his birthplace. I pray that this service brings honor to Your name and honor to my fathers name. Thank You, Jesus, for walking me through this -- for carrying me when I thought my heart and mind were going to burst. I thank You for the understanding of my family and friends. You are a wonderful Healer, O Lord, and I thank You for healing this father and daughter relationship -- for bringing us full circle -- back to each other. I thank You and give You praise and glory because I will see my daddy again one day. Until that day, Lord, please hug him for me and tell him that I love him. And most of all, Lord, I thank You for Your mercy and Your grace to forgive for Your grace truly is sufficient. Through You we are forgiven, cleansed and made right in the presence of God. Now Lord, I pray that You receive my fathers spirit unto You.
And in closing this prayer, Lord, I pray for all of us. I pray for everyone here. My family, both present and absent, and my friends. I pray that this day marks the beginning of something wonderful. I pray that today marks the renewing of our hearts and of our minds. Help us, O Lord to love one another just as You have loved us. Teach us to care for one another with patience, love and understanding. Walk with us, Jesus, so that when our time has come, we will have peace in our hearts that we have loved and are loved immensely. In Jesus name. Amen.
Bill Goundie is survived by his daughters...
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