For the love of…
Celebrating life through a Eulogy
Sadly, the only thing in life that is guaranteed is death. We all have an expiry date but we are all worthy of longevity – a life full of dreams and achievements, overflowing with love and laughter. For some, the used by date comes much sooner than expected and heartbreakingly sooner than deserved – like my youngest brother Tom’s did.
As I write, it’s 12 May 2016 – three years since his passing, since his life on this earth came to an end at twenty two years of age, in an unintentional and tragic way. Perhaps fate would have it that even God needed a good auto electrician – one that had plenty of years ahead of him to get the jobs done upstairs.
Amongst the sorrow that came with our family’s loss, we were able to find some joy in celebrating his life while preparing his Eulogy. It was a time when we could recount the joyous moments he had given us. A time to remove ourselves from our heartache, even if it was just for a second, to visit the very story we were telling.
One of the most challenging aspects of writing Tom’s eulogy was ensuring we gave credit to the life he lived. How do we squeeze twenty two years of a full and vibrant life into just a few pages of words?
Well, it was just like this…
As Tom’s older brother and sister, we are extremely saddened to be standing here to remember his life. Tom was only 22 years old and had so many dreams left to fulfil. We know that Tom would want us to celebrate his life and speak about his achievements the way he would, with a cheeky smile on his face.
Tom was born on 1 June 1990. He is the third sibling and was the loveable larakin of the family. It was always our family’s worst kept secret that Tom was mum’s little favourite. Tom also had a big soft spot for our dear mum; especially for her home cooked roasts.
From early childhood he was the mini mascot of Dunnstown, with his blonde bowl hair cut and two different colour eyes. He would often be seen running laps around the roundabout – infecting the neighbourhood with his beautiful nature and free spirit.
Tom’s hard work ethic stemmed from the age of four, where he enthusiastically spent time at the Dunnstown Football club washing the players boots in exchange for a few dollars. He quickly became known as tail-light Tommy because he closely followed his family members around. He continued to follow us around as he got older, being the single lad, he would crash along as the third wheel on our dates. He was our beacon of light in every way.
Tom was an adventurous young man. I remember the day I made a trailer for my push bike, it was an unfinished school project. Tom being the handy man that he was, with his little mate Damo, decided to finish the job. They put our younger sister Mads in the trailer and set off for a few laps of the school church.
They quickly clocked up the speed, reaching 100 miles an hour as this was the only speed that Tom knew. The trailer then tipped and Maddsy was flung out. Tommy being the caring big brother that he was rushed her home to care for her grazes. He will continue to be Mads knight in shining armour.
Tom was very hands on from a young age. There was a time when he decided the colour of his little BMX just wasn’t right for him. The best way to fix this was to lean his BMX bike up against the side of our white weather board family home and to spray the bike with gold paint. Leaving the impression of his bike against the house. Just as he left his impression everywhere he went.
Tom was a memorable student at both Villa Maria Primary and Damascus Secondary College. School was not Tom’s priority; clearly this was a family trait. He had a broad range of knowledge and this was evident as he blitzed the daily Herald Sun Quiz. His hands were his most gifted asset and he identified at an early age, this was the key to the success of his career.
He completed his apprenticeship working on small vehicles at Ballarat Auto electrics, He then relocated to Melbourne and worked on heavy vehicles and commercial trucks at AB auto electrics. Tom thoroughly enjoyed his work and was a loved colleague of both employers. Tom’s dedication to his work was reflected through his punctuality, passion and commitment. These characteristics flowed through all other aspects of his life.
Tom felt the need to spread his wings and had the wisdom and courage beyond his years to make the move to Melbourne. He adjusted to his new independent way of living under the guidance of his family in Melbourne. During the early stages we would receive daily phone calls seeking advice however these phone calls gradually diminished as his confidence and autonomy grew. It was obvious to his family and friends that he had settled and become content in the big city life. Despite Tom’s newfound freedom, he was still very much a country boy at heart.
Tom loved playing football with his mates at Dunnstown Football Club, winning the reserves Best and Fairest in 2011. He was the quiet achiever, but as tough as nails. He was always in and under for the contest. Not only did he love playing football, he adored watching his mighty Kangaroos.
Tom’s health and fitness were always paramount in his life. Whether it be competing against his siblings in fun runs, or working out around the clock at the local 24 hour gym. We gradually got used to the excuse ‘Sorry I can’t make it, I have to go to the gym’.
Tom’s love of fishing was comparable to older brother, Paul’s. He proudly bought himself a kayake. Ironically his first test run of this new rig was from his lounge to his bedroom as the washing machine over flowed and flooded out his unit. It was an ongoing competition with who could catch the biggest fish and yes Tommy you still hold the record for catching the biggest cod. We all know that the real winner is God as you are the perfect catch.
Tom it was such a privilege to see what you had accomplished as you began your transition into adulthood. You were the happiest you had been in your life and made us all so proud as you were achieving your goals. This was illustrated recently when you booked your trip overseas to join your older sister, Anna travelling around the World. Be assured that we will all still take you on a journey wherever we go.
Tom, you will always be remembered for your positive attitude, determination and big heart. You have taught us how to appreciate life. Although you are only 22 you lived the life of a man twice your age. Words cannot even begin to describe how much we are going to miss you. We love you so much and you will forever be in our hearts. Your legacy will live on through us and our children.. x
What words would you like people to celebrate your life with?