My father, Svend S. Hansen, passed away on June 23, 2010. He was 66 years old.
Below is the text of the eulogy I delivered at his funeral.
“Last night, I was trying to think of something to say today regarding my father. I found it much harder in practice than it was in concept. I felt as though there was a deep wellspring of things I wanted to say, yet the words somehow failed to freely flow from my mind.
What does one say at the death of their father? How does one convey all the thoughts & emotions that lay muddled beneath the fog of the present? Regrets, while many, seem trite; Grievances, inappropriate; Anger, misplaced; Sorrow, apparent. Yet Love, love seems about right.
I loved him and I knew that I was loved. Dad loved his family, even if he wasn’t always the best at expressing it. He loved his daughters & his sons. He loved his varied hobbies and he loved his friends. He loved sausage and he loved his constant companion, Blue.
But most of all, he loved my mother.
Taken from us far too soon, near 15 years ago now, my father was never quite the same without her. It may be understatement to say that since my mother’s passing, my father was a broken man. But who could blame him? He lost the Love of his life.
But somehow, he persevered and continued to persevere. I would never say it was easy, but he was a survivor. No matter what tribulations life threw at him, he always managed to bounce back; on that it seemed to be it could be depended. Despite whatever problems he faced, I was never worried, because I had learned through sheer repetition that his indomitable spirit would always prevail.
I sometimes wondered about the source of his strength. Where did it come from? How did he consistently overcome such seemingly insurmountable odds? How did he find the fight to keep him going each day?
In the hours immediately following his death, I began to question why was this time different? What had happened this time that he finally didn’t bounce back? What had changed? Why had the challenges finally gotten the better of him, after surviving for so long prior?
Then, while sorting through my father’s papers this week, I discovered a poem he wrote, entitled “A Dream:”
I had a dream,
of a place of bright flowers,
and green fields,
of pure clean waters, and running streams,
with tall mountains and low valleys,
I heard a song so pure,
sung by angels,
singing high on peaks,
and showering down like a heavenly dream,
and this is where I dream of you
you, my love,
I know you’re waiting,
for the time we’ll meet again,
yes, I had a dream that will come true.
In this poem, I found both the answer to my former & current questions. His strength, as best as I can suppose, came from Love, a deep faith in God and the belief that one day he would be reunited with my Mom in heaven. He had survived for nearly a decade & a half, because he was living for that day he would see her again, and now in death, his dream has finally been fulfilled. He didn’t somehow fail this time; no, in the end, his indomitable spirit finally won.
I miss you Dad, but I find solace knowing you’re finally happy again.”
He was interred at Bath National Cemetery with full military honors.
It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I know, I know, I’m a bad friend leaving you hanging like that. Not a word or a peep or even just a heads up.
Suddenly, it’s June. I know May existed by the subtle carnage it left behind, but as to where it went, only future archaeologists may know….
So yeah. How are things?
Good, good (unless, of course, they aren’t; then you have my sympathies or other appropriate response).
Things have been hectic here. But you know how it is and how it goes and what-not.
Well it’s been nice chatting with you.
Hey! Let’s try to keep in touch.