April 14, 2014

Today was the memorial service for my younger brother Jeff. It was nice to see so many family and friends, I even recognized some of Jeff’s old fraternity brothers and a friend or two of his from high school.

When the floor opened up for folks to say something, if they were so moved, several people got up and related a story or two.  However, I did not feel “right,” in doing so after other family members and friends were formally introduced to speak. It was an “open secret” that Jeff and I were not friends, to put it politely. I did, however, have a prepared eulogy and will share it here.

“It was a late Wednesday night. Michelle and I were walking into an Arby’s restaurant, in Gettysburg, where would often go for diner after our semi-monthly Toastmaster’s meeting. Toastmaster’s is where you practice giving and evaluating speeches in front of a peer group.

The phone rings. It’s Jeff. Gee I haven’t spoken to him in a long while I wonder what’s up.

Hey Jeff. How’s it going? My heart sinks, and I could barely speak, as he telling me he has cancer, and that it is bad.

All I could muster was “Oh Jeff. I am so sorry,” as I let tears roll down my cheeks.

To you, my family and friends, in true you don’t know what you have until it’s gone fashion, all I can say to you now is:

Reach out to your brothers and your sisters, your friends and neighbors. Even if for some reason you’re not getting along. Reconcile. Call your fathers, your mothers, your sons, and your daughters… if only to say; “Hi, how ya’ do-in?”

The life given to us by nature is short. The memory of a life well spent is eternal. Like my brother Jeff, lets make sure our lives, are lives well spent.”

Jeffrey Bayliss.
1962-2014

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