Thank you to everyone who made it to the funeral today. I spent a little time with a number of people that we had not seen in a while. I’m very grateful to those who had other commitments but still found time to stop by for a few minutes. I know others could not make it today due to distance. I had promised you I would post Lucy’s eulogy and tributes for you. I would also like to send a special thank you to Rev. Naumann for such a beautiful service.
It’s been a long day for me and I’m physically and emotionally exhausted. Here is Lucy’s eulogy. I’ll post the tributes tomorrow.
“Please don’t cry one tear for me,
I’m not afraid of what I have to say,
This is my one and only voice,
So listen close, it’s only for today”
One of Lucy’s favorite songs was “Second Chance” by Shinedown. The lyric verse is quite appropriate for her eulogy because I have to be her voice for today. She requested that we celebrate her life and keep her memorial service upbeat. Lucy also was very uncomfortable being the center of attention, so I will keep my remarks brief. Those of you who know me understand that will be a feat unto itself.
Funerals tend to focus on loss and mourning. I would like us to focus on the joy Lucy gave us, the warmth of her smile, the comfort of her friendship, the loyalty to her loved ones. Even though she may not be physically with us, I can feel her among us. I am so fortunate to have an unlimited number of wonderful memories to comfort me.
I met Lucy when we worked together at DCA. The company had just moved from downtown Minneapolis to the top of the hill overlooking Ridgedale in Minnetonka. Lucy was one of the first people hired after the move. She was very shy and quiet but had a great smile, so of course I had to make her smile every chance I could. We worked together on many projects and I began to know her better. It took ten months for me to ask her out on a date, and we dated for almost four years before getting married. The best things in life sometimes take time. Lucy did enjoy her privacy. We dated for a year before our co-workers suspected anything.
What impressed me most was how upbeat and even-keeled she was. We shared many interests including nature, the Twins, nearly every type of music, walking, hiking, and bicycling. I also found someone who was extremely loyal, determined, and willing to help polish off my many rough spots through the years. I know I am a far better person thanks to her love and patience and I am sure others feel the same way.
Another of Lucy’s passions was photography. Her specialty was close up photos of flowers, which would require immense patience during set up. She shot her photos with a manual 35 mm SLR camera until digital cameras were available. Lucy had a keen eye for detail, balance, and composition. She received those gifts from her mother. Lucy could see the beauty in an odd tree branch, the colors in a faded barn door and the mystery in a dust-covered windowpane.
Lucy also had a great sense of humor, though I remember one time where she was not so amused. I was getting ready to meet her family for the first time and dressed up a bit. As a joke, I put on a T-shirt that had a screened picture of a tuxedo on it. When I arrived at the door of the apartment Lucy and Suzy were sharing, Lucy took one look at me and immediately told me to go to Target and get a different shirt. I had thought ahead and brought an extra shirt just in case.
Generosity for Lucy was a way of life. During her cancer battle, she participated in two clinical studies. One was for a new chemotherapy drug. She would have benefited from the drug, but she also participated in the study to help future cancer patients. The other study was about symptom management. This study required filling out many forms and speaking with a researcher monthly. She participated solely to help others.
Lucy was also a very empathetic person. She wanted to help calm people who were upset and soothe people who were sad. If someone were happy, she wanted to share the joy. Lucy could cry during movies. I was so lucky to have someone who had that much compassion for others.
Blessings were also a part of Lucy’s life. She always thanked her doctors, nurses, and nursing assistants during her hospital stays. Two of her cousins are nurses and Lucy knew the hard work and dedication it takes to help people try to regain their health. Lucy was appreciative of the kindness of others. One of the nicest pictures of us was taken at the Como Conservatory right after Lucy was told she might have cancer. I was going to take her picture near an orchid when an older man offered to take a picture of the two of us. I was so surprised I did not get a chance to take my coat off. It has been my Facebook profile picture for nearly two years, and it was one of Lucy’s favorite photographs. That act of kindness by a stranger will be with me forever.
We started the Journey of the Teal Owl blog and the corresponding Facebook group to keep people informed of Lucy’s cancer battle. Lucy was a very private person, but she knew people cared for her. She chose to open that part of her life to everyone who cared for her. We chose not to sugarcoat anything in the blog and everyone received the same information. It also gave us an unexpected bonus: all the touching and supportive comments left for Lucy. The comments have several recurring themes: Lucy’s courage, grace, determination, and strength.
Her Finnish ancestors have a word, “sisu”, which would describe Lucy perfectly. There does not seem to be a simple translation for sisu, but I have taken it to mean “determined stoicism”. No matter what life threw at Lucy, she would adjust and never break.
Sisu served Lucy well during her life. Lucy rarely complained the entire time I knew her. After her cancer diagnosis, never once did I hear her say “Why me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” The cancer battle was frustrating at times for her, but she stayed determined to beat it. We kept gardening, walking, and hiking as long as she was able. She kept working as long as she was able. She kept spending time with her family as long as she was able. For as long as she was able to do the things she loved, she was beating cancer. We chose to be happy and upbeat, to be there for each other, for our friends and for our families, and to treasure our days together. She succeeded in all that.
We will all miss Lucy and we will mourn her in our own ways. We can honor Lucy’s legacy by being strong and compassionate, by being loyal friends, and by making the world a better place though acts of kindness. Our love for her will remain strong through the years and our memories of her will never fade. Lucy will always be a part of me just as she will always be a part of you. Not only has she gained eternal life in heaven, she still lives on in each of us. Lucy showed us how to live a life worth living and definitely made the world a better place during her time with us. I will love her always and I know you will, too.