Happy 2022, I think.

mjbdiver> hello room!
ghost> oh no hes back
ralph> what does hes mean
dragon> hes, lol
mjbdiver> i think you meant he’s
ralph> aaggh, hes using punctation
ghost> what does punctation mean
dragon> punctation, lol
mjbdiver> i think you meant punctuation
ralph> oh divers a good spellar too
ghost> spellar, lol
dragon> spellar, lol
ralph> OOPS I MENT SPELLER
*** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (BAD SPELLAR)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ralph> why did u do that
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (BECAUSE I CAN)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ghost> lol
*** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (LOL)
*** ghost has joined channel #chat
ghost> dragon you hurt my feelings
ralph> anyone notice that we didnt get kicked without diver here
ghost> omg
ralph> divers a real trublemaaker
ralph> trobblemaker
ralph> truobblemaker
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (TROUBLEMAKER)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ralph> thank you
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (YOUR WELCOME)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ghost> gonna start counting down diver?
ralph> ghost, dont start
mjbdiver> here we go!
ralph> GHOST WHY DID U DO THAT
ghost> I DONT KNOW
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (U ALREADY KNOW)
** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (THAT GOES FOR YOU TOO)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
*** ghost has joined channel #chat
ghost> dragon you hurt my feelings
mjbdiver> 10!
ghost> 10 what
ralph> dragon kick diver please
mjbdiver> 9!
ghost> 9 what
ralph> DRAGON KICK DIVER PLEASE
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (DONT YELLING)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (NO YELLING)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ralph> dragon????
mjbdiver> 8!
ghost> i give up
ralph> dragon do the honors please
dragon> im watching him
mjbdiver> 7!
ghost> why are you counting down diver
ralph> what are you waiting for dragon
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (I SAID IM WATCHING HIM)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
mjbdiver> 6!
ghost> 5!
ralph> ghost dont encuraje him
ralph> enkoraj
mjbdiver> 4!
ralph> incorage
***ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (ENCOURAGE)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ralph> thanks
** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (NO PROB)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
mjbdiver> 3!
ghost> 2!
mjbdiver> 1!
*** You has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (SEE YOU NEXT YEAR)

The art of eulogy writing.

When my father passed away a few months ago, I was faced with the task of delivering the eulogy at his funeral. I had never done a eulogy before and started looking around online for some pointers as I was clueless as to where to start. Even after all the information I found, I was still clueless.

Then my luck changed one day when my mother asked me what my eulogy was going to be about. Right away the task seemed a little easier knowing that I could have the eulogy focus on one aspect of my father’s life. Just like when writing posts for this blog, I find it easier when I have a single topic in mind. In fact I approached writing the eulogy as writing a blog post, except I would be reading it out loud in a more somber setting. As for what my eulogy would be about, I decided to focus on my father’s wisdom and his role as a teacher. The words gently started flowing as numerous lessons came to mind and the eulogy finally began to materialize.

At one point I began to wonder if it’s appropriate to add some humor in the eulogy. If the deceased was known for their sense of humor, then by all means emphasize that. In fact my sister’s eulogy focused on my father’s sense of humor that featured a few of his many jokes. There’s nothing wrong with a little laughter during a funeral service. I recall attending a memorial service for a man who happened to be a stand-up comedian, so what better way to honor his memory than having his fellow comedians do their routines for an evening of laughter with room for some tears.

Over the course of the week that followed I continued working on my eulogy, constantly sculpting and polishing it to its finished form. I made sure to express my gratitude for a life well lived, for eulogies tend to be memorable when they speak from the heart. As a result, my eulogy blew everyone away when I delivered it at the funeral, earning me countless compliments on my writing and my delivery. My mother-in-law summed it up best when she asked me, “What planet are you from?”

Unfortunately, a few months later I had to prepare another eulogy when my sister-in-law passed away. This time my wife and I both worked together to write her a parting letter to thank her for a lifetime of memories and good times. I also decided to emphasize the lessons she taught me and didn’t hesitate to work in a little humor as well. That eulogy was also well-received and earned me endless compliments. Even after all that, I’d very much prefer to continue my way as an amateur writer rather than a professional eulogist.

By the way, Simplenote really came in handy for preparing the eulogies. I used the app on my phone to write them and when I was ready to print them I simply logged on my account at the web site from my desktop computer and copied the text to a Word document. Nothing to it.

My sister-in-law’s journals.

My late sister-in-law left behind dozens of personal journals that my family swore will never be read by anyone in order to comply with her final wishes. Instead the journals will be burned in a bonfire in the near future. However, I couldn’t resist taking a peek at her first journal and from what I read, this stuff is too good not to post. I snuck the journals to my house and will be posting them on this blog over time.

Here we go…

Journal One

I've decided to start keeping a personal journal to document everyday events in my life. Some days will be uneventful while others will be significant enough to alter the course of my life. I hear that keeping a personal journal makes for good therapy, allowing me to bare my innermost feelings and thoughts I wouldn't dare tell anyone in person. And by personal, I mean PERSONAL. No one else should be reading this, including my nosy brother in law Mike. I know how much he likes to post stuff in his blog, so I will start off with a warning. Mike, if you dare read this journal or post one word of it in your blog, I assure you that you'll be receiving a visit from Shamryn, who happens to be my imaginary friend but won't hesitate to venture into the real world on my behalf to defend me at your grave expense.

Funny, I never saw that paragraph before.

Suddenly I felt a tapping on my shoulder. Before I could turn to see who was behind me, a huge hand grabbed my head and gave it one full turn before separating it from the rest of my body. I at least hope to finish this sentence befor

Freaks: The Soundtrack Album.

The 1932 cult classic film Freaks finally has its own soundtrack album. At first I was expecting the vintage orchestral music heard throughout the film but it actually gets better than that. Some band called The Unknown Orkestra has pieced together nine tasty tunes played on acoustic instruments that have a vintage jazz flavor while blending in electronic effects and dialogue from the film. Much like the freaks themselves, some may find the music bizarre and frightening but others like myself will find it irresistible and oddly satisfying. You can download the album here, and if you haven’t seen the movie already, you can watch or download it here.

A sad week for radio.

It’s been a sad week for us here at TeqTalk, Tequesta’s own talk station as we mourn the loss of three of our own.

First, Mike, affectionately known as the Retard, passed away after years of declining health and deteriorating mental conditions. As you all know, he was the subject of our legendary show Retard Radio, in which our own Jason and Robert played countless pranks on the him, which many saw as cruel, but it was too often overlooked that the Retard himself was a good sport about it and at times was even secretly in on the pranks. Nevertheless the loss of the Retard was a huge loss for our TeqTalk family.

Just last week Jason expressed an interest in bringing Retard Radio back as reruns but much to his annoyance (and ours) Robert had thrown away the tapes containing all 156 episodes just because Jason hadn’t been talking about the show and assumed that he had forgotten about it. But during the heated final few minutes of The Jason Show, Jason proclaimed that he thinks about Retard Radio every time he sits down behind the microphone, the very show that launched his radio career. Robert got defensive and a fight broke out in the studio. When the two were separated, Robert shouted, “We’ll continue this discussion when we get home, and mark my words, there will only be one of us left standing when we’re finished!”

Moments later, Jason and Robert were both home at their apartment complex where they stood outside their apartments on the second floor continuing their argument when suddenly Robert picked Jason up and threw him over the railing. In a shocking moment witnessed by dozens of security cameras, Jason fell to the parking lot below and split his head open upon slamming into the pavement. That’s when a viral video of Jason’s demise began its heavy circulation across the Internet. Oh yeah, Robert did the one thing any coward would do, run away from the scene.

Three days later Robert was found sitting on the railing at the top of the Blue Heron Bridge, curiously wearing a large overcoat while holding a gun. Police attempted to persuade him to surrender but he instead jumped off the bridge, shooting himself in the head before disintegrating when the hidden belt of explosives detonated. That’s when a second viral video began its heavy circulation on the Internet. Following Robert’s noisy, messy suicide, the entire underside of the bridge had to be pressure cleaned to clear off the minuscule remains.

So there you have it, three people gone in one week. I don’t know about you but Jason and Mike are going to be sorely missed as they were genuinely good guys to have around but Robert, as he has proven time and time again, has demonstrated why he was known around the building as a genuine pain in the ass.

Paranormal funeral activity.

Years ago, during my grandmother’s wake service, one of the floor lamps in the room mysteriously shut itself off. Towards the end of the service, the same lamp turned itself back on. Almost simultaneously my family concluded that my grandmother’s spirit was indeed in the room. Since that day I’ve learned to be more alert to these spiritual presences at each funeral I’ve attended since.

A few months ago I attended a memorial service for my father that definitely had a strong spiritual presence to it. He had been cremated and his ashes stored in an urn on the table with lovely flower arrangements gracing the two ends of the table. When I first saw the urn, I could feel an empowering presence in front of the table, almost spherical in form, no doubt my father himself in spirit standing in front of the urn. Never before had I felt such a powerful presence.

Later, during that same service, as I was watching the pastor speak, my eyes began playing tricks on me. In the corner of my eye the urn appeared to take the form of my father’s head, and the red cloth that draped the stand on which the urn rested became his favorite red shirt, almost making it seem my father was standing right there and hearing every word.

The following morning, just before I woke up, I heard in my head the words, “The service is over. Relax clearly, my friends.” If that’s not a message from beyond I don’t know what is.

Laugh at me if you want but I take little signs like these that there does tend to be a spiritual presence during a funeral and when you open your mind to it, it can become quite soothing.

A Eulogy for Carolyn.

Dear Carolyn,

We’re writing to let you know that without you it’s not the same. You will always be the older sister even though you aren’t here. You are the best big sister we know! We will always remember your smiling face and you will be in our hearts forever. You were always there for us and we want you to know that you always brought joy wherever you went. You are the brightest star looking down on us forever. We will do our best to keep up with you. You are loved and missed by all. We love you. The room would light up every time you walked in it. We will always remember all the fun songs you sang when we went to karaoke together. Whenever anyone was having a bad day you had a way of turning it around with your bubbly personality and smiles. There was never a sad face whenever you were around. You were always the first person to help whenever it was needed.

You taught us that we didn’t need all the money in the world or have everything there was to have just to be happy. Here we are in a society that requires us to take ourselves so seriously that it would seem foolish to show our show our carefree and childlike side. But you Carolyn weren’t afraid to show your childlike side and that would be why you had such a talent for making everyone around you so happy. And of course, thank you for showing us that there’s nothing wrong about being a cat lady. You had such a love for animals that it was difficult imagining you without a cat nearby. Or maybe two.

And I will never forget the first time you and I met. I was picking you up at your house and after you got in my car, you told me you noticed how much happier your sister Renee was since she started dating me, the sister who would one day become my wife. And that’s when I knew I would become a welcome addition to the family.

When the three of us were in Orlando and spent time in Downtown Disney, it was the most fun day we had with you. The bowling pin mugs we got from Splitsville were amazing. We got some great pictures from that day. Everyone at Walmart loved you and will miss you. It’s good to know that Heidi, Sylvia and Brandon were there throughout everything that was going on. All the prayers that you sent for me all came back for you and they kept on coming for you. Now you are at peace. Daddy is waiting for you and so are Stubby and Shadow, your beloved cats.

We all love you.

Rest in peace.

Love,

Renee and Michael

In loving memory of my big sister Carolyn (1967 – 2021)

Thoughts of my second bereavement.

For the second time in two months there has been another death in my family. This comes at a time when I’ve barely begun recovering from my father’s passing two months ago, and now I have to start my grieving process all over again.

This time I grieve for my sister-in-law, who was more of a big sister to me. She succumbed to her injuries following a fall, so her passing was sudden and unexpected. Just last month she attended my father’s funeral, and now she’s gone herself.

Twice I prayed for miracles for my father and my big sister during their time of need and twice I was denied my wishes to keep them both in my life a little longer. My father, I can understand, his health had steadily declined over the years and his body could no longer fight the illnesses that plagued him throughout his final years. But my big sister? She was healthy and her demise unexpected. Now that hurts.

I was browsing online for prayers of healing and found one that sounded assuring, although it mentions that not everyone gets healed through these prayers. It does ask for no hard feelings towards the Lord in case the healing doesn’t take place. No hard feelings, that’s a bit hard for me to do right now, considering I have lost two beloved family members who meant so much to me.

Every now and then I am reminded that God has a plan for everyone, even if it’s not in perfect alignment with our best wishes. He decided it was time to call my father home, which I’m beginning to understand. But I have yet to understand why He summoned my big sister so soon. It wasn’t her time yet. She was only in her 50’s, which is still fairly young. They say the Lord works in mysterious ways, but I’m looking forward to having this explained. Maybe then my feelings won’t be so hard.

The hardest goodbye of all.

For the second time in two months there will be another death in my family. No amount of preparation can truly render me ready for when that time comes, but it is coming. It is never a pleasant time.

Last month my sister-in-law suffered a severe head injury after a fall and despite the best efforts of the medical personnel involved, her condition has deteriorated to the point where the chances of her survival are zero, barring a last-minute miracle. I’d still like that miracle to happen, but the extent of her brain damage won’t leave us with the cheerful, bubbly personality that was once her. She is already gone. Breathing, still alive, but already gone.

This is the part where I’m confused. Oh yes, I prayed for her to wake up out of her medically induced coma and begin her recovery, but the opposite happened. Instead of getting better, she got worse, the same result of my prayers for my father. Instead of him getting better, he was taken from us. Oh yeah, I forgot. God’s plan isn’t always consistent with our wishes. He knows what He’s doing but as usual isn’t telling us exactly why it’s necessary for things to turn out like this. Who am I to question, let alone challenge, such authority and who knows what will happen when I dare launch such a challenge.

Last week my family paid my sister-in-law a visit at the hospice care facility to say our goodbyes. Sure, she opened her eyes when her mother started talking to her but she said nothing back, not even registering a smile. Hers was a blank, vacant expression completely void of emotion, completely empty of the cheerful, bubbly personality that was once her. Still, we talked to her, thanking her for a lifetime of memories while assuring her that her late father and all the dogs and cats that the family once had were waiting for her. It sounds like a very pleasant afterlife for sure.

Even as she continues fighting for her life, the family has begun preparations for the funeral and then for a new life without her, which will be a a very difficult one. I cannot begin to imagine the mother’s pain of losing one of her children. Your children are supposed to outlive you, not the other way around.

In any case, I’ve started on the eulogy I will deliver at the funeral, my second one in two months and already one eulogy too many.

What a way to end the year.

UPDATE: Hours after I wrote this post, my sister-in-law passed away. She was 54.