Monday, May 11, 2009

posted by James - 4:04 PM

The eulogy I wrote for my aunt... maybe someday I'll be able to find the inspiration and drive to be more like her.

Laura Jean Lieberenz... she really did touch a lot of people's lives... not a brushing touch... she's not leaving anyone in this room with just a flesh wound. We are all going to feel this for the rest of our lives.

I don't know anyone in this room as well as I'd like to. Certainly not as well as I should. I'm going to work a lot harder to try and change that. That's what Our Lolly would have wanted.

I heard a lot of people yesterday tell stories about Laura Jean Lieberenz... about her name. Some people spent a lot of their lives not knowing her name was Laura. I don't know whether the people who worked with her are among them. I can tell you I wasn't one of them. And I would like the reason to stand up right now... my grandfather LeRoy Lieberenz.

Excuse my candor... but all of this really sucks for me. But I cannot and hope I never will know what this really feels like from your perspective. You've always been the strength of this family... you always will. Laura Jean will always be the backbone. We will always look to her for inspiration to be the rock that makes everything work when we need it most.

I knew her name because I can still vividly remember you saying Laura Jean, Laura Jean, Laura Jean... whenever you talked to her. When my mom called you last week and you could only tell her "We lost Our Lolly." We're going to lay Laura Jean into the ground today and wish every day we can provide foundation for others as she did for us... but we will never, ever lose Our Lolly.

Everytime I look in a mirror I think of her. She was always the voice in the back of my head judging me. Telling me I needed to pluck my eyebrows... cut my hair. Cut my hair... CUT MY HAIR. I used to have hair that would reach past my shoulders. Three years ago, for my birthday I decided to get it cut off.

I was finally going to make my Auntie Lolly proud of me. And that was so wrong... so very, very wrong... because my Auntie Lolly loved me and was always proud of me. She loved all of her nieces and nephews. She was so proud of all of you.

Kyle, Megan, Noah, Jack, Makanda, Cole, Cory, Jordan, Isaiah, Kala, Ryan, Sarah...

She loved all of you so much... as if you were her own... and there is nothing she wouldn't have done for any of you.

I want you all to make two very important promises to me. This is going to be so hard for us. We're all going to deal with this in our own way... but I want you to be there for your cousins and your brothers and sisters and your families and extended families... like Auntie Lolly would have been.

Second... you are all embarking on amazing parts of your lives. You're all so capable of great things in all that you choose to do. Lolly saw that in me... and she sees it in you... and she'll continue to see it in you for the rest of your lives. The next time you set forth to do some of these great things... your next varsity football game, track meet, dance performance, second grade, your first spelling bee, your next starring role... I want you to keep your Auntie Lolly on your mind and go make her proud one more time.

I hope I've left enough time for many others, because I'm looking forward to hearing how she touched the rest of your lives. We've got long lives ahead of us. We'll carry our memories of Lolly with us forever. Don't ever lose Our Lolly.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

posted by James - 4:52 PM

For the last few months, I've been participating in a great community called The Poker Pod. And after my successes this month, they've seen fit to name me their Podster of the Month for April 2009.

I'm really honored. It's been a great experience to be a part of the Pod. I had a loss in my family this week, so I've been away from the tables and might be for a little while. There are many more important things, but this is really great.