[Originally written for my email list/newsletter back in April.]

Around the anniversary of my father’s passing, I was speaking to my mother and she reminded me of something that happened that I had honestly forgotten about but is still an interesting story.

At my father’s funeral, I delivered¬†the eulogy. Leading up to this, I had put a lot of time and effort into putting it together. It was my final farewell to my father and I wanted to say what he might not have gotten to or share things people may not have known. When I was finished, I felt I’d made something very real, very heartfelt, and incredibly personal.

After giving the eulogy, I left the paper on the podium and forgot to get it as the casket was carried out. When I went back the paper was gone. Originally, I had just thought someone from the church had picked it up while cleaning. This was not the case.

A local man went up, took my eulogy, and slipped it in his pocket. I repeat, he took the words I wrote for my dead father and walked out with them. To be honest, I wasn’t even offended, just confused. What was the purpose of that? Did he like it that much? I could have printed him out a copy. I joked that maybe he liked it so much that was going to retool it for someone else’s funeral. I don’t think it was malicious, but it was pretty strange.

To this day, it just struck me as such an bizarre thing to do. I was proud of the work I put into it, but I didn’t think it was worth taking. But I guess the lesson I learned was that if you put enough work into something, someone will come along and try to take it.

So when I say don’t let them steal your eulogy, what I really mean is don’t let people just take things the you worked hard on or hard for. Don’t let people take something you’ve put your heart into (intentional or not) without your permission. I see this happen on the internet to lesser degrees (cropping out signatures on art, etc.) and I feel the same way. Don’t let them do it.

But if you happen to give the eulogy at a loved one’s funeral, be sure to put the paper back in your pocket.

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