Sunday, June 9, 2013

Eulogy for Uncle Gren

Beloved uncle. Irreplaceable. We miss him very much.

(1951 –2008)

Eulogies are hard to write, but this particularly so. I never expected to be standing here, to talk about this man, my uncle Gren. Someone so full of life, of joy, always smiling, upbeat, now lying cold in a coffin. It’s almost hard to believe.

Let me tell you about my uncle Gren.

As I was writing this, I tried to think about the number of times I’ve seen Uncle Gren being or looking anything other than happy, pleasant, jovial, FUN! I don’t think I ever have. Although he’s had his share of troubles, maybe more than his share, he has never ever let any of it bring him down. The trials and tribulations of this life never robbed him of that almost childlike trust and faith in the goodness of this world and in the goodness of people. He chose to live with optimism and chose to always believe in the good. Hate, suspicion, anger – these things were simply foreign to him, to his nature.

Maybe it is this, that made him too good, too innocent to live among us in this world. They say a childlike attitude is the closest imitation of Jesus and in his own way, with his cheeriness, his exuberance and joy, Uncle Gren was Christ among us.

I will miss my uncle’s presence in Nana’s house. I will miss him noticing and making fun of me when I put on even a little bit of weight, miss his unsolicited advice about my hair and clothes, miss his teasing, his crazy chatter, his outrageous stories.

I will miss his mannerisms, hand gestures, the many expression on his face, his loud presence at family gatherings. I will even miss the smell of Dunhill reds all around Nana’s house.

Yes, I will miss him. We all will.

Not many of you may know this, but in the last months of his life, Uncle Gren had, at long last, found love. He’d met and fallen in love with Anabelle - his sweetheart, Belle. He was so proud and so happy to tell the world of her! They were to be married but sadly this is never to be.

I take heart, though, in knowing that my uncle knew love before he died. That he experienced the happiness that comes from being loved by that one, special person.

And for that, Belle, my family and I thank you.

But I can’t end without telling you about Uncle Gren and his first love – MUSIC! He was an accomplished musician. His music career actually began at the St Nicholas’ School of the Blind where he studied. At the age of 13, he performed live on Radio & Television Malaysia when TV had just begun in the country in black and white. In his late teens, he performed with the Falcons for the Americans in Saigon, Vietnam. And later in 1971, they rocked the National Stadium of Singapore with their stunning performance.

He was a musician, through and through. It seemed that he was happiest when he was performing – he played with passion, danced with a spring in each step.

How awesome, then, that he is now a place where the singing never stops, the dancing goes on and the rejoicing is forever.

My uncle was a man who grabbed each day and lived it to the fullest, a life all of us would envy. He lived in the present, for today, knowing that tomorrow might never come. Is this not what Jesus has told us to do?

In a way, I think, perhaps this outlook of life prepared him for the eventuality of his passing. And ironic though it may be, whilst we sit here in sadness, Uncle Gren, I know you are surely happy and smiling in the arms of the Lord.

Friends, as we bid farewell to our friend, our brother, Gren, as we mourn his absence in our lives, I ask you to remember his joyful spirit, his simple and carefree personality, and to remember him in your prayers. This is what he would have wanted.

Friends and family, your presence today is a testament of your love and fondness for Gren. On behalf of the family, I thank you being here today and for your prayers. They mean so very much to us.

I leave you with these words of comfort from a song by the Alleycats, one which Uncle Gren performed.

Andainya aku pergi dulu sebelummu
Janganlah kau bersedih hati
Andainya aku tiada lagi di sisimu
Janganlah kau memencil diri
Bayangkanlah masa-masa bahagia
Semasa kau dan aku
Bermesra di langit biru.

Disini ku berjanji di saksi rambulan
Andainya ku pergi dulu
Jikalau ku pergi dulu
Ku nantimu di pintu syurga.

Shoud I go before you
Weep not for me
Remember the happy times we had together
You and I, beneath the big, blue sky

Should I go before you
If I go before you
I will await you at Heaven’s gates


Anonymous said...

:( ...trimaaaaaaaa sihh

Anonymous said...

Very moving & touching post... My condolences to you and your family.

Denise said...

I like how you made him sound human (some eulogies tend to mystify people) and how honest and simple this is. Nice work! He must be so proud :)

Anonymous said...

Dear mel,

the eulogy for uncle gren was beautiful. just read it...

im so glad to have meet him, didnt knw him very well...but from what little i knew...he was all that u,happy,good......

he was a good man!

take care and seeya soon

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