This is an evil that is done under the sun, that one fate comes to all; also the hearts of men are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. But he who is joined to the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward; but the memory of them is lost. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and they have no more for ever any share in all that is done under the sun.
Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already approved of what you do.
Let your garments be always white; let no oil be lacking on your head.
Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life which he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9: 3-10)
Eulogy for Howard Hauser
By Larry Hauser
My dad, Howard Hauser, is no longer with us; leastwise, not in the flesh. He died on Mothers Day, May 9. It is fitting that we are gathered here to honor and remember him, in this chapel, where his ashes repose, along with those of his beloved Muriel, in the small mausoleum just behind where I stand. He now joins the love of his life and the mother of his children in death, as they were joined in life. In the end the combined effects of the cancer and the chemo, on top of his age, just wore him out; he who was "such a strong man" as his neighbor of over 50 years, Sandy Koval, recalls. Who that ever saw him bowl, for instance, can forget the force with which he propelled that sixteen pound ball down the lane, that sweeping left handed hook out almost to the gutter, churning and digging against the wood floor, and when it hit the pocket, you thought the pins were going to shatter, so violent was their explosion. Yes, he was a mighty man in his prime ... but it is not for his physical strength or his athletic prowess that he is best remembered, but for his gentle nature and friendly manner; for his character that showed through more and more clearly as his physical strength diminished. Thus, another of his neighbors, Andrea Seabloom, recalls him as
His nephews and nieces recall Howard similarly.
Cheryl continues, “I picture
him and your Mom strolling down Eternity Lane, hand-in-hand, smiling down at
their loved ones still walking the planet Earth." And so too would I
like to imagine them: reunited; forever young; forever lovers.
I would also like to imagine what Howard would say to us if he not only could see and hear us but could speak to us here today – and that he would speak to us, despite all his shyness. I think he would say something like this:
Whether my dad has indeed gone to a better place – whether Howard and Muriel really are walking down Eternity Lane hand in hand – may be hoped and even believed, but it cannot be known this side of the grave. Still, I believe that if Howard Hauser could speak to us today – beyond expressing his gratitude to each of us – what he would most want to say is this: "don't cry for me. I had a good life." Even if there is "no work or thought or knowledge" in death; even if, for the dead, "their love and hate and their envy have already perished, and they have no more for ever any share in all that is done under the sun"; even so, Howard Hauser's life was well-spent; nor is his death to be regretted. He ate his bread with enjoyment, and drank his beer with a merry heart; and he enjoyed life with the wife whom he loved. Whatever his hand found to do, he did it with his might. He lived a long full life, and met his death with quiet grace and acceptance.
When the oncologist informed him his treatment might be the death of him, my dad said, "We all gotta die sometime." Like the Psalm says, "As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like the flower of the field; for the wind passes over it and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.” Howard Hauser's place knows him no more. His house on Larme Street – the house he shared with the wife of his youth; where his children were born and grew up and moved away, where he cared for Muriel so long and faithfully through her years of declining health, and where he lived out his own declining years until a few short months ago – that house is emptied, about to be sold. So too, for all of us who knew and loved him, the departure of Howard leaves an empty place in our lives. If we cry, we cry for ourselves. Loving husband, good neighbor, sweet father, precious friend ... go then. However well we may remember you, our world is poorer for not having you in it in the flesh. We cry for ourselves. We miss you.