My dad died on Christmas Eve 2023. I went back to the old neighborhood in Indianapolis and saw the old family and friends. This is the eulogy that I wrote and spoke at his service.

Last day, Beechwood ledge

There’s a ledge that runs all the way around the first floor of the family house on Beechwood.

When I was a kid, I circumnavigated the house by traversing that ledge. The porches were easy. The chimney was the trickiest part. I only ever made the full circuit a few times.

And because I never fell off or got hurt doing it, it was the absolute coolest thing to me. A memory that I have always cherished.

Seriously, us Gen X latch key kids. We were free range and feral. The unsupervised stupid shit that we did and somehow survived to tell the tale.

Then, a couple decades later, I was on a six month vanlife great American roadtrip all over the country with my then girlfriend and I was giving her a tour of my Indianapolis childhood: Little Flower, Our Lady of Lourdes and its gymnasium as monument to youth basketball. The house on Ritter, the house on Burgess, and of course, the house on Beechwood.

The one thing that is the most continuity through multiple generations of Beckers and the island of misfit toys and strays over decades.

And importantly, I wanted to show her that ledge that I used to climb around the house.

So, we show up, knock the door, which was locked for maybe the first time I’d ever seen. Then we wandered out back where two grizzled old dudes were working the house windows.

To my surprise, one of whom my dad.

We spent the next few hours telling stories and catching up a bit. I took his photo and then we left.

That was 2015. The last day I saw my dad. A month later he got sober for several years.

Middle part

The first couple funerals I attended as a young kid were in this building. Grandpa Jules and Great Grandma Becker.

I’ve wondered about this day for many years. We all wonder about our own funerals, of course.

But I wondered about this day from this building.

I watched my aunt, and uncles, and my dad bury their dad.

I’m the youngest of my generation. My brother Brandon and our cousins Dez and Clay. I was just little kid at those funerals, so when I imagined my burying my dad, it seemed like forever far away in the future. But, of course, forever is never forever.

It’s weird that after all of these decades, I’m back in the same building, at my dad’s funeral.

Like he was at his dad’s.

Both of whom were about the same age when they died.

My dad’s relationship with his dad was… complicated and imperfect.

Likewise, my relationship with my dad was… complicated and imperfect.

Unless you’re Henry Kissinger, or the Wicked Witch of the West, people say to not speak ill of the dead, so…

He taught me how to ride a bike while we vacationed in the Ozarks, took me to a Grateful dead concert, taught me about my first computer, coached me in baseball, and before that he let me practice with his teams that I wasn’t on yet.

He introduced me to science fiction, fantasy, and comic books. He trusted me with a lot of freedom and autonomy at Christian Park and around Irvington.

I hope he got to see the first Dune movie. He loved that book. I’m sorry for him that he didn’t get to see the second Dune movie.

He was also difficult. He had anger in that way that American dads of certain generations had. An anger that he got from his father. And that we got from him. An intergenerational trauma that I hope we can be the end of.

He had that crooked arm. At the time of the childhood injury, it was seemingly unlucky that the broken arm was his dominant arm.

But if you’ve ever faced off against him in basketball at Christian park, or if you’ve ever tried to hit batting practice off of him, you know that we were the one who were unlucky. If it was his left arm that was crooked, we might’ve had a chance against him.

He was a brilliant baseball coach, an unmatched pickup basketball player, a voracious reader, the life of the party, and a real smart ass.

But he was also prideful and ashamed of his failures and fuckups. He was an alcoholic most of his life, but got sober for several of his last years.

It turns out that, like the rest of us, my dad contained fucking multitudes.


Thinking about what I would say today, I was reminded of two platitudes.

The first is from the ancient tradition of inscribing sun dials with some text, usually something pretty dark.

Serius est quam cogitas. Serius estawan cogitas

I won’t butcher the Latin, but it translates to:

It’s later than you think

The second one is:

Every seconds counts

This is often psychologically weaponized to exploit workers to maximize productivity and profit—

Meet your quota on the assembly line. Make the food faster in the kitchen. Hit your deadline in the office.

But for me “every second counts” is about the lives we live with the precious little time that we have.

How we see the world and our place in it, our relationships with each other, making space for rest and joy and play, being accountable for our failures and fuckups, forgiving ourselves for those failures and fuckups, making great big important world changing things, and being small and slow and close and tender. With ourselves, the world around us, and the people who we love.


The last time I saw my dad was in September 2015. But it wasn’t at Beechwood in the story at the start of this.

It was a few minutes later two blocks down from the Beechwood house, at my favorite tree: The Kile Oak.

That tree was the actual last stop of the tour of my childhood.

And when he left Beechwood and drove by, he saw us and stopped. We took a photo together by the tree and that was it.

In his final minutes with me, he showed me once again that when he wanted to care, and it was easy to, he had the capacity to show up.

I am happy that he got sober after that. I’m happy for him and the people who got to have some good years together with him. I wish that I could’ve known him then too. Because it is later than you think now, and on that day at that tree, it was later than we thought then too.