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Written by Joseph III
Maybe my memory of the weather was influenced by my mood at the time, but I remember the day of my father's burial as being dark and dismal.

At the cemetery I had given the eulogy, and when it was over I was feeling sad, relieved, and grateful all at the same time. Relieved that it was over and grateful that I'd had the chance to say good-bye in a special way. From the cemetery, we had all agreed to reconvene at a restaurant. I suppose the real purpose was not so much to eat but to linger a bit longer in the comfort of family for moral support.

At the restaurant, as Sue and I were entering the room where everyone was gathered, Grandma appeared a few steps away and approached me.

Almost as if a switch had been pulled I suddenly had the sensation that, while people nearby were moving and talking at normal speed, the action between Grandma and me had been reduced to slow motion. When she came within about a foot of me, she gently placed her hands on both sides of my face.

She said nothing for what seemed to be about two minutes. (In reality it was probably closer to ten seconds). She wasn't saying anything -- and I was grateful for this because I knew I couldn't respond without turning into a blubbering idiot. Then all she said was "Thank you." The dam burst. I have no idea what I attempted to say in return.

A few weeks later I received a letter from Grandma. The letter began, "Yesterday was my day of tears. I had a date with your Dad for January 20th to take me to the doctor for my regular appointment. He had taken me on December 9th and that was my last visit with your Dad."

The letter went on to say, "Yesterday I received a copy of your eulogy. With your heavy heart you inspired and comforted us with your tribute to your Dad, your mother's devoted husband, and my first born son."

In truth, my motives for writing the eulogy were not nearly so noble. It was merely a way for me to vent my emotions -- a release. But I get a tremendous feeling of satisfaction from the idea that it seemed to bring Grandma some of the same kind of comfort I got from writing it.

Grandma's letter is kept in a drawer by my computer and I read it at least once a year -- when no one else is around.

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Joe Jr. and Justine.
Joe Jr.and his sister Justine
-- c. 1926 --