|Uncle Milo and Aunt Beulah the day before he passed away.|
It's been about two years since my Uncle Milo passed away. Uncle Milo was married to my father’s sister, Aunt Beulah. My family asked me to say a few words at the funeral, and I was honored to do so. At first I wasn’t too sure what I would talk about, but when I sat down and thought about Uncle Milo - thought about the man he was and what had transpired the day before he passed - it became abundantly clear to me what I was going to say that day.
While many of you don’t know my Uncle Milo, or may not have a strong connection with him, I think you will be able to connect with the words I shared with my family that day. Let’s not be afraid to tell the people we cherish and care about that we love them - there just may not be enough time to wait.
We are not here today to mourn the death of Milo Dennis Simmons, but to celebrate his life. Milo was a good, hardworking man, who lived a good honest life. He married his schoolgirl sweetheart, he had four children, 2 boys and 2 girls, had 8 grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren that he loved dearly and whom loved him back. He and Aunt Beulah lived in the same little white house on the hill most of their lives together, and were married for 67 years. Uncle Milo lived to be 87 years old doing the things he loved to do in life, hunt, fish, garden, farm, mill wood, raise horses, mules, and hound dogs, and spend time with his family, many of which lived just lived over yonder, or down the road, or across the street - we should all be so fortunate.
But, even though he lived a full 87 years, for the ones that were left behind, it wasn’t long enough. Milo could have lived to be over 100 years old and it would not have been long enough. It’s never long enough. Why is that? It’s because when we lose someone we love, we realize how little time we have on this earth with them. We don’t get to choose how or when we are brought into this world, and most of us don’t get to choose how or when we leave. We realize that every minute - every second - is a precious gift that shouldn’t be wasted on pettiness, or grudges, or hatred, or wounded pride.
Every second that passes by draws us nearer to our own end. That’s why it’s so important for us to love one another while we still have time.
I’m so thankful that I was able to spend some time with Uncle Milo the day before he passed. So thankful that I got to see Aunt Beulah stroke his hair, and hold his hand, and tell him that she loved him, and hear him say that he loved her too.
They didn’t need to say it - they had known each other nearly all their lives - and no doubt had said it thousands upon thousands of times to each other before. All they needed was to look into each other's eyes to see love - but they said it anyway. They said it because it’s important to say it to the ones you love - it’s even more important to hear those words from the ones you love.
I’m so thankful that I followed Aunt Beulah’s lead - I had visited Uncle Milo many, many times in my life, but I don’t recall ever telling him that I loved him before leaving, even though I’m sure he knew. But before I left that day, I reached down and held his hand, and I looked into his eyes, and I told him that I loved him. I’m so thankful for those few precious moments. I had no idea that would be the last time I would see him alive.
That’s how fleeting life is. Here today - gone tomorrow. In light of that - I want everyone to turn to the person next to you, or behind you, or in front of you - and tell them that you love them. If the mood moves you to hug or kiss - don’t let that opportunity pass you by - tell them that you love them.
Don’t let pride, or impatience, or shyness, or complacency, or being in too big of a hurry to tell your loved ones that you love them. You may never get a second chance.
Uncle Milo… I love you. To my friends and family… I love you too.
Michael A. Walker
Have you ever had to give a eulogy? Who was it for? What did you say?
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