To President George W. Bush:
Mr. President, I’m writing to tell you that I watched the eulogy you gave your dad this week, and it hit me hard. I thought you were going to get through it without giving into emotion, but right at the end, grief snuck up on you and did a sucker punch to your gut. The tears came.
It was the line about how your dad was “a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could have.” That was the one that got you. It got me too.
A year ago this month, my brother and I said goodbye to my dad, a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could have. It was at a different sort of funeral though – a graveside service out in the hills of northwest Arkansas with about 25 people in attendance. I did the eulogy for my dad too, and like you, I cried as I gave it.
When it came time to lower Dad’s casket into the dirt, my brother Caleb cried as well. His tears – the tears of a man’s man who shared my grief – gave me comfort. Your tears at your dad’s funeral comforted Caleb and me this week.
Caleb and I texted with each other the other day about your eulogy, how it struck a raw nerve. We felt our hurt through your hurt. We saw our own tears on your face.
I know you’re a Bible reading man, so you’ll appreciate this verse that reminded me of you this week: “God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NLT).
Even though you were the one weeping, God used your tears to give my brother and me a strange comfort: He allowed us to see our pain on another son’s face. He used you to remind us that we aren’t alone in our grief.
So thank you for your tears. Thank you for not holding back. I needed to see them, to be reminded that I’m in good company – that we all are.
Very truly yours,