Thursday, March 03, 2011

To Daddy (my eulogy)

Just let me go look that up....

If you’ve ever had a conversation with my father, chances are that phrase has come up at least once or twice.

Roger Dominic Tersigni had a thirst – for wine, for knowledge, for life. And you could see that in him, whether it was a casual ten minute conversation or an in-depth one that required visual aids and a fifteen minute search on the internet for exactly what he was talking about.

This has come as quite a shock to all of us. And when choosing to write this eulogy, I had several options of ways to go. In reality, there was only one – the way my father lived – straight and to the point.

My father was many things to many people, as evidenced in this room – he was a friend, a father, a brother, a grandfather, a husband, a beacon...the list could go on and on. But above all this, my father was the epitome of love and respect. He respected everyone he met, and it was quite the gift to have.

He believed in everyone’s potential – whether it seemed like an impossible dream, or something within reach, he truly believed that hard work would pay off, and you could make your dreams into reality.

A lot of people viewed my father as a lucky man – which in many aspects he was. But he worked hard to create his own luck. And even when it didn’t work out in his favour, he learned from his experiences , as we all should, and did his best to never make the same mistakes twice.

The luckiest day of his life was when he met his soul-mate – the other half of himself – my mother Carol. Together, they raised the bar for relationships, showing everyone how it is done, and done right. They made it look easy, even though those closest to them know that they worked hard to keep it running right. At times, separated by long distances, it seemed like it was impossible, but nothing was going to keep them from being together.

They have the relationship we all grow to envy – it is the marker we all strive to achieve. Every day, they couldn’t wait to be together, to share in the minor successes or failures of the day, and to laugh the stress away.

My brother and I were so lucky – we truly had a dad. One who was up at six a.m. to take him to hockey practise, one who watched every one of my soccer games, and one who went to see me in a show, and stayed for the whole thing, even though I only had two lines in the first act. And regardless of how good or bad we were, he was always proud of us.

He was blessed with two of the most adorable grandchildren that the world has ever seen, and he used every opportunity to spend time with them. Even though he gave up a lot of “play time” with them so that my mom, or myself, could take his spot, he was content to sit back and just watch with love and pride in his eyes. He looked at them as if he couldn’t believe that he got so lucky as to have those bundles joy in his family.

Over the years, my dad turned out to be one of my best friends; I looked forward to spending time with him, talking about any number of topics that caught our interest, or just sharing a meal in silence.

I have a million stories about my dad – like how one of his favourite things about Christmas was the family trip to the fish shop, or how you could always tell when he’d had too much to drink because you could find him on his stomach, searching through his vinyl collection – where he’d find the song he was looking for, wink at you and say “Wanna see me make Carol cry?”. Or how he always insisted that within twenty minutes of him getting home at night, I had to give him a kiss hello.

My dad revelled in summer. He introduced us all to the lifestyle known as Jimmy Buffett. Whether we admit it or not, and most of us will, it is thanks to his influence that we all know that the REAL national anthem is Margaritaville, and even if it’s only noon here in Toronto, it’s five o’clock somewhere. Our house in the summer was filled with Jimmy tunes, tequila and backyard bar-b-ques. And I think we’re all better off for it because we know what it’s like to truly celebrate life in the summer sun.

I could go on for hours, and trust me, you’d be entertained. Because these are stories you’re all familiar with; they’re places you’ve been with him. You know all about his solution for Y2K – look for him in the wine cellar with a chair, a corkscrew, and his wine collection. You all have seen him shake it on the dance floor when Old Time Rock and Roll gets played on the radio. And when he talked about his trips to Italy or San Fran, you were there with him, because he made sure he never left out a single detail. His enthusiasm was contagious, and he inspired us to take chances, and to make the most of our lives.

My dad lived every day to its fullest, and never went one day without letting us know that he loved us. And he knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that he was loved too. This world was a better place with him in it, and with him gone, there are a few more shadows. But, his spirit is always with us, and his inspiration will never fade.

I’d like to leave you with these two quotes – both from our friend Jimmy.

“If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all this living,
It’s I wouldn’t change a thing if I let go.”

“some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic,
But I had a good life, all the way.”

Stay sane inside insanity ~ and never forget your towel.


With love and pride