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Eulogy for Katie

Eulogy for Katie

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Published by Sean Osterday
Though this will always feel unfinished, these are the words I used when I spoke at my sister's funeral.
Though this will always feel unfinished, these are the words I used when I spoke at my sister's funeral.

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: Sean Osterday on Jan 07, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/09/2013

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EulogyforKatieIwantedtoopenmyspeechwithsomethingthatIthoughtKatiewouldenjoy.It’scalled
Youwantaphysicisttospeakatyourfuneral,
byAaronFreeman.Itfollows:Youwantaphysicisttospeakatyourfuneral.Youwantthephysicisttotalktoyourgrievingfamilyabouttheconservationofenergy,sotheywillunderstandthatyourenergyhasnotdied.Youwantthephysicisttoremindyoursobbingmotheraboutthefirstlawofthermodynamics;thatnoenergygetscreatedintheuniverse,andnoneisdestroyed.Youwantyourmothertoknowthatallyourenergy,everyvibration,everyBtuofheat,everywaveofeveryparticlethatwasherbelovedchildremainswithherinthisworld.Youwantthephysicisttotellyourweepingfatherthatamidenergiesofthecosmos,yougaveasgoodasyougot.Andatonepointyou'dhopethatthephysicistwouldstepdownfromthepulpitandwalktoyourbrokenheartedspousethereinthepewandtellhimthatallthephotonsthateverbouncedoffyourface,alltheparticleswhosepathswereinterruptedbyyoursmile,bythetouchofyourhair,hundredsoftrillionsofparticles,haveracedofflikechildren,theirwaysforeverchangedbyyou.Andasyourwidowrocksinthearmsofalovingfamily,maythephysicistletherknowthatallthephotonsthatbouncedfromyouweregatheredintheparticledetectorsthatarehereyes,thatthosephotonscreatedwithinherconstellationsofelectromagneticallychargedneuronswhoseenergywillgoonforever.Andthephysicistwillremindthecongregationofhowmuchofallourenergyisgivenoffasheat.Theremaybeafewfanningthemselveswiththeirprogramsashesaysit.Andhewilltellthemthatthewarmththatflowedthroughyouinlifeisstillhere,stillpartofallthatweare,evenaswewhomourncontinuetheheatofourownlives.Andyou'llwantthephysicisttoexplaintothosewholovedyouthattheyneednothavefaith;indeed,theyshouldnothavefaith.Letthemknowthattheycanmeasure,thatscientistshavemeasuredpreciselytheconservationofenergyandfounditaccurate,verifiableandconsistentacrossspaceandtime.Youcanhopeyourfamilywillexaminetheevidenceandsatisfythemselvesthatthescienceissoundandthatthey'llbecomfortedtoknowyourenergy'sstillaround.Accordingtothelawoftheconservationofenergy,notabitofyouisgone;you'rejustlessorderly.Amen.***We’veseenandheardalotaboutKatiethesepastfewweeks,andIhopeyouallwillhearmoreaboutherlifeintheweeks,months,andyearstocome.We’veallheard
 
thestoriesandanecdotesputforththatdescribeherwarmthandpositivityandincredibleoutlookonlife.Shewasremarkable.WithKatiegone,thereisafeelingwithinmethatcanonlybedescribedasaholeinmyheart.ThepartofmethatresidedinKatie,thepartofmethatwas“us”-ourfriendship,ourphilosophy,ourfamilialbond...allthatweevershared–hasbeensevered.Tome,itisthatsenseofloss,thatdesiretoreconnectandbe“us”again,thatconstitutesmygrief.Iamleftwithbutasingleconsolation,andthisisit:thateventhoughthepartofmethatresidedinKatieisnolongerthere,thereisstillapartofKatiethatresidesinme.Icandotwothings.Icanignorethatpartofmeandwaitforthepaintosubside,orIcanembraceitandletitgrow.IcanlivelikeKatieandturnthepainintoacelebrationofherlife.Weallcan,ifweknowhow.I’mstandingherenow,notbecauseIhaveadesiretotalkaboutmyselfortopawnmygriefonallofyou,butbecauseIwanttosharethethingsthatKatietaughtme.IwanttosharemystorysothatotherscanknowKatiethewayIdid,andtocelebrateherthewaythatIwill.Mysisterwasremarkable.Shewasprofound.Shewasfearless.And,attheendofherlife,shewasfullofjoy.Brimmingwithjoy.Overflowingwithjoythatshesharedwiththosearoundher.That’stheKatieweremembertoday.Butitisn’tthewholepicture.Katie’swarmthandpositivityandoutlookonlifewerenoaccident.TheywerearesultofthesumofalloftheactionsthatKatiehadevertaken–theculminationofalife’sjourneythatwasattimesverydifficult.TorememberKatiewithoutrememberingherjourneyistomissoutonsomanythingsthatshecouldteachus.Katiegrewupbeforeallofoureyes.Andasmybigsister,theclosesttomyage,Iwasforcedtofollowinherfootsteps.Thealternativewastoliveinhershadow.Herjourneytookherfromplayfulkidtoorneryteentoyoungdreamerandscientist,and,finally,tothehappiestpersonIhaveeverknown.Katiesharedherjourneywiththosearoundher.Weallsupportedher.Andifwewerepayingattention,shereturnedoursupportwiththelessonsshelearned.ThatishowIwillrememberKatie.Notjustasthegirlwhosurfedandinvestigatedtheuniverseandperformedacrobaticyogaandlivedandlovedtothefullest,butasamentor,whethershemeanttoornot.Forme,thefirstlessoncameatatimewhenIwasasophomoreinhighschoolIwasamoodyteenagerandwasbecomingalousystudent.KatieandIhada45-minutecommutetoschool.Katiedrove.Itwasherlastyearofhighschool.Wedidn’thavealotincommon.Wedidn’tunderstandoneanother.Tobehonest,therewaslittlethatIunderstoodinthosedays.
 
AndinthosedaysIwasreallynothappy.IhadnoideawhatIwantedoutoflife.Iwaswaitingforsomeexternalchangethatwouldshowmetheway.Schooldidn’thelp.Myleastfavoritepartofthedaywasthatdamndrive–partlybecauseIdidn’tlikewhatwaswaitingattheend,andpartlybecausemysistermademelistentomusicthatIabsolutelyhated.Thismusicwasunlistenable.IthoughtitwasbadandIwasintosomeprettyterriblestuffbackthen.Itcausedalotofstrifebetweenus.Weprobablydidn’tgo2dayswithoutfightingoverit.Idon’tthinkmymoodinesshelped.Thegreatironyisthattoday,thatmusicissacredtome.Itissacredbecauseitwasthefirstlesson.Onedayononeofthoselongdailycommutes,probablyjustafteranotherroutinefight,Katieexplainedtomeherinterpretationofoneofthoseweirdsongs,ormaybeitwasaspecificlyric,ormaybeitwasaboutthealbumentirely.Ican’tremembertheexactdetailsbecausemymemoryofKatieisasmearingjumbleofhundredsofdifferentconversationsthatbeganatthatmoment–conversationsthatspannedyears–conversationsthatonlyendedonthatdustyroadoutsidePecos,Texas.ThekeytounderstandingKatiewasinthatmusic,though.Itwasintheabstractlyrics,theunconventionalpatternsandarrangements,thewayitsometimesviolatedtheverybasicsofmusicaltastebyveeringintonoiseanddiscord.Themusicshelistenedtodidn’tseemtomakesense.Itwasrandom.Itdidn’thaveanyessencetoit.ButafterhearingKatie’sexplanationwelistenedagain,butthistimethesongwasdifferent.Itdidn’thurtmyearsoroffendmytaste.IopenedupmymindalittlebitandIheardthesongthewayKatiedid.Itwaspersonal.Itwasmeaningful.ItchallengedmetothinkoutsideofmyselfandmycomfortzoneandtothinkaboutthingsIneverhad.Itfeltnice.IborrowedthealbumandlistenedtoitthewayKatiewould.ThewayKatiemeantforyoutolistentomusicwhensheimploredyouto,“payattentiontothelyrics,”whichwastypicallythecase.Iwasshyatfirst.Ididn’twanttoadmitthatIlikedthismusicthatsheandIhadfoughtaboutforsolong.ButeventuallyIdidadmitit.Andwestartedtotalkaboutourdifferentinterpretations.Thatwaswhereourfriendshiptrulybegan.Katietaughtmehowtocreatemeaningoutofnothing-howtoexplainthingsinlifethatwereunknown.Allwehadtodowaslookintotheunknownandask“why?”Whatdidthoselyricsmean?Whywasthesongarrangedinthewaythatitwas?Whatwastheartistfeeling?Whatinmyliferelatestothis?Musicturnedintomovies,whichturnedintophilosophybooksandclasses,whichultimatelyturnedintomathandscienceclassesaswetriedtounderstandtheworldaroundus.Theinterpretationswecameupwithwerebasedonourlifeexperiencesandhowfarwecouldseebeyondthat.Butwitheverynewinterpretation,wecouldseeslightlyfurtherbeyondourselves.Witheverynewexperiencewehadanother

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