Posted Date – October 20, 2018 – I am gathered with my college friends in Washington DC, many of whom have become family. I’ll be with some folks that saw me through my college homeless semester (a story for another time) and who cheer as we share stories of who we are, who we have become and what we want to do with our lives. It is time for some fun. The reverie and stories have me hearing about my friend’s proudest moments, their highlights- highpoints and low- the moments that make them who they are. The stories tell me a bit more of who they have become after 25 years of growth after CUA. #CUA1993
Me? Among many things, I am a proud brother.
The cleanup of my old website continues and the content below is the eulogy for my deceased brother-in-law, Donald Badeau. He and his two grandkids were killed 16 years ago when a train struck the truck he was driving.
These words below are those of my sister, Anita. They hold some of my fingerprints through structure and syntax. Oh, do so love the bullet points. But this is all her. She is the oldest daughter in our family and for me, (like my other sisters) she doubled as a second mom. I didn’t know my brother in law that well at this point. They moved to Texas. I went off to college. The people we both once were had changed. In fact, by this point, I did not actually like him that much. He had joined the pack of wolves in my family that made my husband and me unwelcomed in my own family, and although all of those legacy prejudices have since faded, the pain of that time lingers.
Now he was dead. His daughter needed her daddy. Susan shared stories of how her dad had become a kind, forgiving, supportive and comforting dad. His son, Donald Jr had lost his mentor and friend. My sister needed help. She knew she wanted to speak about Don. She knew I could speak. (Oh boy, can I ever!). She asked for my help.
What my sister does not know is that as much as I helped her, she helped me more. During the week leading up to the funeral, she and I would sneak off and prep for the eulogy. We “met” quite a few times- the first few of those just really to cry together, alone, in a house and home that had become crowded and noisy with love and support. Anita let me in. The intimacy of those moments and the depth to which she shared her pain is still palpable today. She told me stories about Don, her husband, best friend, first love- her soulmate. She helped me get to know him again and I liked him.
The family that had gathered wondered how the hell Anita could speak at the funeral. Could she pull it off? If the face of such deep pain and tragedy, could she speak about being broken without falling completely apart. How could anyone? Later that day and during the prep, Anita thanked me for helping her. And I did help her. I coached her to speak slowly, to cry if she needed (we would wait)- to breathe, to look and see the moment (she had to use a step stool to see over the pulpit) and feel the love of the community. I shared that it was not just about getting through the eulogy, but more it was being there in honor and memory of the people she loved. These are lessons I learned through college, through work with AIDS, with life… So sure, I helped her… but not as much as she helped me. She helped me see the man I had become, know the brother in law I had lost and be witness to unimaginable sorry with grace. Thank you Anita for that gift. I am proud to be your brother.
Anita stood in front of the coffins of her two grandbabies, her husband and faced the family and community with quiet grace and composure. Her broken heart spoke.
I want to thank everyone for being here. Without all your love, I couldn’t be standing here. From my family in Texas and this community to my family in Massachusettes
Don and I are blessed by those who love us, and so I’m up here in an attempt to share with you all the let you all know what it was like to be on the inside of this marriage with Don. I want you all to know Don is OK, and I will be too.
So in order to do that, I want to talk to my husband.
Don, I have no regrets. We lived well together, and I’m sorry you have gone. I know you are hearing me from a better place. I know you are with God and with Joshua and Jennifer watching down on me now. You give me the strength to be here.
Don, I want you to know what I loved about us first:
- I love that we didn’t sweat the small stuff
- We had our tough times, but we always knew we’d get through them
- We never went to bed angry. You taught me that after asking my dad for permission to marry me, and that’s the advice he gave you. His advice paid off and we communicated because we never said goodnight mad.
- We always had faith in God that through the bad time, things would work out
You know Don, the crazy thing about us is that we never left this house without giving one another a kiss. Even if we were going in the same car. After 33 years we never stopped doing this for one another. I’m going to miss that.
I’m going to miss a lot of things that made you special
- The way you looked at me when I fell in love with you is the same way you looked at me 33 years later
- You gave me the greatest hugs
- Our camping trips and time together planning our future. We never dreamt of this, did we?
- You could tell when I was sad and seemed to know just the right thing to say
- You know how to comfort me and know how to make me laugh
- I’m going to miss the drives just going nowhere—you are my favorite person to do nothing with
- I’m going to miss watching you play fetch with bell and laughing through the afternoon with the family
I’m NOT going to miss the Motorcycle. I never liked that motorcycle. I hated that motorcycle. Oh, and I’m going to get rid of that coffee table you like and I can’t stand.
Don, I’m proud of you too. Just look at this community.
- The way you loved your children, and now the way you loved your grandchildren was great
- I loved the way you would hold Jennifer in the air and help her with her gymnastics
- You made me proud when you played baseball with the boys in the yard
- You have great values and you give so much to this community. Your friends from the Emergency Medical team are here. The volunteer fire department is here and your First Response Friends are here. I am so proud of what you have given to this community. You gave and asked for nothing in return.
- Being around you made me a better person. The world was a better place with you in it.
- I’m proud of you and your son. You both went through a lot, so the other day when you were just sitting on the steps with each other talking was great. It is like God wanted you both to make things right before this happened. I’m proud that you both could say “I love you” to one another before you had to go
- I love that Susan was always Daddy’s little girl. The bond you to had was always special, and she needs you right now. Papa, you need to take care of those babies, because their Mommy is strong, but she needs you now more than ever.
Don, I have no regrets. We lived well. I know you are in a better place, so I need to say goodbye for now. But I know it is temporary. I will be with you someday, but I’m not ready yet.
God’s got some plan for me—we haven’t quite got that figured out yet—but I have some things I want to do. Remember Don, when we had the horses? I loved that we were together as a family then and want to be like that again. I know we will someday.
Please watch over me because I will need you.
- I’ll be thinking of you when the dishes will need to be put away because that’s your job!!!
- When things break, I’ve needed you to fix them. Who’s going to fix things now that you are gone?
- You are my step ladder, I’ll need you to help me get things down from high places.
- I’ll need you to continue to make me laugh. You always knew how to make me laugh.
- I’ll miss the warmth of your breath on my cheeks in bed,
- And yes Don, I’ll miss your snoring—I know I’ll miss that when it’s so quiet without you
Don, have Jennifer and Joshua look out at this community and see all the people who love us. We’ll be all right for now. I miss you as my husband and my friend. I know the real Donald Badeau, like no one else can say they do and I’m blessed to say you are my husband, my friend, a gift to this community and the best granddad and father these kids could ask for.
So Don, goodbye for now. I love you. I’m going to this open arms of this community knowing that you will always be there too looking out for me.
– Your ever loving wife, Anita