I just thought back to the best speech I ever made in my life. Unfortunately, it was speech I wished I never had to make--my father's eulogy.
In 2008, my Dad had beaten cancer twice and was back to running his insurance agency full time. I had just passed the insurance exam and we were going to go into business together, targeting my colleagues in the legal industry. On Monday in December, the back page of the Bar Bulletin featured our ad with a picture of him sitting in a chair and me with my hand on his shoulder. We had a few calls that week. On Thursday, I met with him that afternoon plotting our future and trying to decide who would go down to Clovis to make a sales call.
He died that Friday morning in an accident at home. The funeral was Sunday. The ad ran again on the back page of the Bar Bulletin on Monday.
I have a copy of my eulogy somewhere on my computer, but I don't have the heart to open it right now. On that cold December Sunday in 2008, I stared out at several hundred faces that expected me to say something profound. When I couldn't start right away, I felt a presence.
Did my Dad tell me to "just do it?"
I don't remember the next ten minutes, I do remember that I made a joke about letting my Dad do the sales call in Clovis. The audience laughed and teared up in all the right places.
Most of all, I knew my Dad would have loved his eulogy.
I've made several speeches since then and when I falter sometimes-- forget my train of thought, tell a joke that doesn't quite work, or look at an audience that doesn't quite get it-- I flash back to that eulogy. My circumstances sure could be a lot worse. . . I think back to my Dad and what he told me that day. I just do it . . . .