The late John Proulx '55 offers final words of wisdom
John Proulx ’55, who died on July 10, 2013, left his son Rich a wax-sealed letter to be opened after his death. Here are John’s words which Rich read at his Dad’s memorial service, exactly as written and delivered.
I don't know when you will read this letter, only God does. So I will probably add to or change this letter many times in the future. (Rich's note - he didn't.) I am not morbid or depressed at this time, just realistic - someday I am going to "pass on" and that's OK.
I've selected you to put together "something" and I want to give you some direction.
1. Immediately after my death I want to be cremated. I don't want a casket
2. I do not want a service in a funeral parlor
On the Saturday afternoon following the day I have passed on, providing it doesn't conflict with a 49er home game, I would like you to make arrangements to have a "Remembering, Rejoicing and Renewal Get-Together." Invite all of my family and any friends any family members you want to invite. Pick a place that is really informal. Casual dress. I would like you to display a picture of me with my family at this event. The reason I want my family is that all of you are my life. All of you have given me so much pleasure and the best times I have had were in the company of Mom, Rich and Michelle. When the event is over I would like everyone to share in a meal. You know, with "tail-gate" food.
The reason for this get-together is not for ME. I am no longer physically with you -- But I am still with you in a spiritual way. It is for the family members and friends. For everyone to get together and share everyone else's strength, hope and happiness. To remember! A little of this is OK, but it shouldn't be over done. To rejoice! Be happy for me. For me is a new day. I have fulfilled my purpose in being on earth, and I have passed on and now am enjoying my reward -- eternal life. I have joined my family - my mother and father, my brothers Dick and Jon, my mother Mary and my father, Jesus Christ. It is a big reunion and I am really happy.
Although I don't have any insight into what heaven may be like I envision professional football 12 months of the year and all of the players are of the caliber of Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott in their prime. And there are no exhibition games -- they all count. But seriously I am keeping very busy lobbying with Jesus Christ so that he will make sure that the lives of those who are still living -- mom, Rich, Michelle, my friends, the homeless and the hungry, the unemployed, the children, everyone -- will be a little easier, a little more bearable. But most of all I am preparing a place for all of you right hear with me. For some of you that is taking up more of my time than it should. But take heed! Everyone can rest assured that they now have a friend in very high places.
It is a time for all of you to renew! Soon we are all going to be together. I want you to remind everyone when it comes time for them to pass on I want them to be prepared. They are going to meet Jesus Christ and He is going to ask them certain questions. They had better have the right answers. When someone was hungry did they give them food? When they found someone who was thirsty did they give that person something to drink? Did they make a stranger welcome? Did they give their old clothes to someone who needed them? Did they visit the sick? Did they ever minister to someone who was in prison ? Did they treat others as they would like to be treated? Those with the right answers will be welcomed right into eternal life.
Just before you are finished I want you to put the following into your own words. (I have strong feelings about this.) “I have a final request to make of everyone who attends my memorial service. I want them to take some time out of their lives in the next 7 days -- I don't want them to just donate some money -- and perform a personal act to another human being, preferably one who they have never met before, that will bring a smile to the other person's face, or at least warm the other person's heart. As the song goes, " Help to make the world a better place if you can." I want a 100% commitment. You may have to remind everyone that I may not be there physically, but I am there.” (Rich’s note - if you have not done this yet, I am giving you a five day extension from Right Now! Don't let Dad, and yourself, down. I saw you raise your hand at the memorial and say Amen!)
I want the day to be UPBEAT! If you decide to have music choose music that is peppy, modern and joyous -- that reminds you of blue skies and fluffy clouds.
Some of this may sound weird or bizarre. But, Rich, one thing you know about me is that I was organized and prepared. I have thought about this a lot and believe me I was prepared. Life is so short a period of time when you compare it with eternal life. Remember Stonehenge! It occurred around 2000 BC. It seems like so looong ago. Yes what is 4000 years ago compared to the creation of the universe some millions or billions of years ago. And then there is the life of a human being--some 60 or 90 years. What a drop in the bucket. We're just here so we can go THERE, and I am THERE.
Don't get me wrong. I don't want to just be forgotten. Mom and Michelle and Rich and I have been through too much to be just forgotten in the blink of an eye. I won't forget you either. But remember that we will all be together again -- in the not too distant future -- and then the good times will really roll.
I don't care what are done with the ashes. Don't do anything illegal -- the end zone at Candlestick is probably out of the question. Let the wind spread them over the parking lot at Candlestick after a good tailgate party or place them at the roots of the rose bushes in the backyard. That way they may do some good as fertilizer. And roses were my favorite flower.
All my love,
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