Sunday, April 26, 2009
The following post is my eulogy that I wrote on the occasion of Bryan David Klungreseter's Memorial. In it, I vowed that I would keep telling my brother's stories. I have been keeping that promise for my kids and me here in this blog. It has been cathartic. But there were two parts to my pledge and it is time for me to begin on the path to fulfilling the second part.
My neighbor's husband of 20 years left his family and the forlorn wife and teenage daughter have been struggling through these hard times. Like every part of their lives, even their lawn has been affected by their loss. They do not have a man to look after the yard. My other neighbors decided to show love to this family by waiting until the mother and daughter left overnight for a camping trip to give a make-over to their neglected yard. Weeds were pulled, sod installed, colorful flowers planted, sprinklers repaired. Their yard looks lovely this morning. Now when these hurting gals come around the corner into view of their driveway and housefront, this beautiful act of love and service will confront them, not the overgrown dying yard that once reminded them of their loss.
My brother, of his own accord, contacted a home for the families of incarcerated criminals and asked to adopt one at Christmastime. Bryan advertised at his restaurant asking for donations and let my parents and I know, told some of his friends to help collect enough things to make a family without a mom at Christmas feel a little bit less sad. He single-handedly arranged for this family with young kids to be blessed at Christmas time. He bought the feast. He asked for the children's wish list and made sure each item was checked off. Bryan arrived in his Santa hat and joyful heart and made the afternoon sweet and beautiful. It was not awkward or dorky. His sincere and genuine compassion on their hurting family was well-received. It was love in action.
There were other times, like when we had tons of leftovers from our Thanksgiving dinner and Bryan decided that we should pack up plates with all the fixings and deliver them to Grape Day Park. It was a park in Escondido with a large population of homeless folks. We walked all around that park for an hour. You know we did not encounter one person that evening in the park with or without a home! But it was his heart for these unknown (and unmet!) homeless folks that stays with me.
Other times, Bryan organized relief efforts for a battered women shelter near his home. Or for the needy people he heard about. He gave generously to all the causes I solicited money for--Cystic Fibrosis Walks, Youth Camp scholarships, the list goes on and on. Not to mention the countless times he invited along a lonely soul to whatever gathering he was a part of! Bryan had a heart for the down and out. And then there is all the ways he served and loved me and my family. We were the direct recipients of so much of his lavish generosity and love.
I said all that to say this: remembering his life as I wrote Bryan's eulogy made me want to be a better person. A person who loves people and pours out his life for them. So that is the next step in my healing journey today. It is time for me to get up from sitting in front of this computer and live like Bryan did. I committed to that over four months ago. Today, I resolve anew to pursue that promise. I want to make my brother proud. I want to make my Lord proud. Since I have so few resources just now, I need to be selective in how I spend my limited time and energy. And I think my kids have seen me sitting here a little too frequently of late. I want them to remember that I loved HUGE like their Uncle. I promised.
I will finish telling his story. Here. Someday. Maybe sooner rather than later. I did pledge to that. I want to have these words bound in book form so that one day my children can read it to their children. I still have a heartload of stories. But right now I need to begin to look for ways and places to pour out my life into others like my brother did. So I won't have as much time for blogging. Thanks for joining me each post as a tribute to my beloved brother's memory, his short life. It was right and good that I did it. And it is right and good that I stop for awhile. Maybe when I begin again, I will have some stories of love lived out like the ones I shared about my neighbor and my brother. I promised.
Posted by Reilly Fitzpatrick at 6:51 PM