Wednesday, August 19, 2015


…”I believe it’s possible for a person to live longer than their life.  When I look around this auditorium and see all of you here, I know it’s true.  I know my brother is going to live a very, very long time.”
Those were the last lines from Gary Genoit, brother of “Tuck” Genoit, at Tuck’s memorial yesterday.
Over 2,000 people turned out.  Half were kids.  “Tuck” (nicknamed Tuck because his younger sister couldn’t pronounce Chuck) Charles Genoit died from a long fight with cancer at the age of 55.
He taught at Snohomish High School for 32 years.
Being at the memorial reminded me of the scene in “Mr. Holland’s Opus” when everyone is gathered in the gymnasium, after the school closed down the music department due to funding.  Early in the movie one of Mr. Holland’s students struggles mightily with the clarinet but eventually has a break through due to Mr. Holland’s patience and deft teaching abilities.  In the scene at the gym years later, she has now become governor and she says, “It was rumored that Mr. Holland was only teaching school while he was working on his master opus which would one day make him famous.  I think if you asked him if he succeeded, he would tell you no.  But look around this room.  This is your opus.  We are your opus.”  I know it’s corny, but if you haven’t seen that movie, this scene will make you cry, guaranteed.
And so I felt that way at Tuck’s memorial, even though I didn’t know him at all.
Both my kids had him.  They said he was the best teacher they ever had--not necessarily their favorite, but the best.  He made sure every student reached the full capacity of their learning ability.  He was tough and funny and cared.
It was hard to think selfishly at the memorial, wondering how many people would be there for my own memorial.  I guarantee you there wouldn’t be 2,000 or even 200.
It made me wish I’d done some things differently.
All three of his children spoke.  They were all quite eloquent.  His daughter started off with, “I couldn’t figure out what to say about my Dad, so I thought I’d just talk to him instead.”  Then she said, “Dad, I love you.  I miss you.  I wish I told you that more than I did…”
I bawled.
And so it was an incredibly moving experience that I could go on and on about.
It shook me.  It really made me think about life.

Someone once told me that funerals and memorials aren’t about the dead, they’re about the living.  That’s very true.

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