She is no longer with us, but allow me to talk about how alive she is. She loved her family, laughed and made others laugh. She made her way through the world at a speed we envied and many of us had a sense of wonder as she plowed through her schoolwork. She seemed energized by what she called her "second childhood" and was delighted that she could find new ways of looking at the world. It never occurred to her that things could go badly for her. That misplaced confidence is what I will take with me. I will think about her often as I drive up and down the highway, because I know she spent so much of the last few years on the road, to class, work and ultimately the doctors.

Wouldn't all of us love to know we left something meaningful behind us? Wouldn't we all love knowing we had planted such a strong seed? Not just a desire to enjoy life, but an actual example of how to start over with pizazz. She didn't always like to show how she felt but she felt plenty.

Best of luck __________-,
hang your arm out the car window and let the breeze catch your hair, let the breeze take you away.

Thank you.

The following will be read at my granfather's funeral today. I felt like sharing it with the rest of you.


Flying home on the plane from New Orleans this weekend, I had a few hours to think, and I came to a few general conclusions. The motions that people go through during these times serve one of two purposes. The first is so that each person can gain a sense of closure regarding a situation which, to many of us, seems quite senseless. The second purpose is that those of us who have already gained closure be there to help the others who have not. It is my hope that I can help some people gain a sense of closure by sharing the experience which has given closure to me already.

When grandpa first got very sick, I came up to see him in the hospital. During that visit, I was in his room talking to him with Donald. He and Don were talking about something, and right before I left, he said something to us, although Don could not understand what he was saying at the time. What he said to us was, "It is my time. I know that, and I have accepted that."

There is a lesson that I learned earlier this year when a very good friend of mine passed away, and it was at the time, the only thing that helped me get through it. Each person is put on this Earth to learn certain lessons. These lessons differ from person to person, and when each person has learned their lessons, their time is up. No matter how sad, no person can do anything to change that. Grandpa lived a full life, and learned the lessons that he was put here to learn. He was blessed with living a very long life, and he passed some of his wisdom and knowledge on to each of us in his own way.

My point is that this is not a time to be sad, but a time to be joyous. He will be missed, I will certainly not argue against that, but he accomplished what he was put here to accomplish, and I, personally, am glad that he was able to do that. I am also glad that he knew it was his time, and was okay with that concept. Be not sad for his passing, but instead be happy for his accomplishments, and keep fond memories of him in your hearts. If all of us keep him in our hearts, and keep our memories of him, then he truly will, in one way, live forever.
This is what I could not articulate at the funeral.

My stepfather died of alcohol, I want that to be understood. It is important to me to try to break down the societal taboo we have about talking openly on the subject of alcoholism. Hopefully then, one day, it will be easier for others to find help. Over the last six months during the worst of his illness I have gone from worrying, to loving, to hating, and back again. Alcoholism is not a pretty disease; it not only destroys the body, but also manipulates the mind and those people around you. I am now trying to come to terms with what he was going through, with why he would not stop drinking even though it was ending his life. I am trying to return to loving him as he was before this all began.

I am also trying to overcome my anger at the doctors, the hospital, and society who would not or could not help him. The doctors that would not give my stepfather a sedative even though he was bleeding internally and his organs had shut down. The hospital that released him even though he was in great pain and suffering. His friends, who had been through alcoholism themselves, but did not help him. And finally the lack of available programs to help him recover, the closed doors, the social workers that said, “maybe next month”. He didn’t have that month. For me to heal I need to move away from this anger.

I am also full of guilt. At the end of the summer when I was visiting my mother he wanted to see me before I left. I didn’t feel that I had time. I said, “I’ll be here at Christmas”. I didn’t send a father’s day card this year, I forgot. I should have sent flowers to the hospital, but I didn’t now how to go about doing that. I had too many excuses. As he was dying my stepfather told my mum, “I just wanted to have a family”. I could have tried harder to give him one. Now is not the time for me to feel guilt, I have to remember what we have done for each other and with each other over the years.

I remember all the music; my stepfather was a musician, all the festivals, the dancing. I remember waking up a 5:30 for school and he would still be awake after a gig the night before. We would talk, watch Teletubbies together. I think he still owes me money from our bets on NHL playoffs, he always lost. I remember the Christmas he gave me a water gun – only to steal it back the next summer when we went camping. I remember him meditating in the evenings and how he taught me about his views on spirituality. I remember how much he loved children, how important he thought they were. And how he always saw the best in every situation, in every person. I will always remember what he did for other people, how caring he was, how much he sacrificed to help others succeed.

My stepfather has taught me the complexities of human beings, that what we see isn’t usually what lies underneath. I have learnt the importance of compassion and love for others; I try to be less condemnatory, like he always was. Never quick to criticize or cast judgements my stepfather always let people grow, learn, and make mistakes. Despite the disease that crippled him and in the end killed him, my stepfather was a good man, and an honest man; whatever made him suffer is gone now, whatever was making him drink has no more influence over his life. I wish that I had been more supportive while he was sick, but it is a difficult disease to understand. I wish that I had seen him one last time. I wish I had been able to say all this to him before he died.

There are many theories about the significance of the song Eulogy, on Tool's Ænima album. This is only one of those theories.

It can be argued that Eulogy is written to eulogise two people; Bill Hicks and Jesus Christ.

An allusion to Jesus Christ is fairly obvious. There are references to a martyr who tried to become divine, someone who would die for his followers. The Bible mentions that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of humanity, and the lyrics correspond - "you must be crucified | for our sins and our lives."

The tone that is used by Maynard James Keenan when he sings lines explicitly dealing with such biblical references seems very angry and betrayed. There is a feeling that whoever has led him for this time has ultimately betrayed his own principles, even though he died for his followers as he said he would.

References to the late comedian Bill Hicks are a little more subtle in Eulogy. Before we consider the actual lyrics, it is worthwhile to point out a couple of things about the album Ænima:

  • A photograph of Bill Hicks appears in the liner notes with a subtext that reads "Bill Hicks | Another Dead Hero". This is actually what you will first see when you open the cd case; Bill looking at you sideways, half merged with a pattern of eyes
  • There are several direct live recordings of Bill Hicks on the secret track "Third Eye"
  • The track Ænema refers to a concept which originated with Bill Hicks; the idea that one day Los Angeles would tip into the ocean, leaving a "beautiful tranquility known as Arizona Bay"
  • It appears likely that the concept of the third eye, which is mentioned in the track of that name was first introduced to Tool by Bill Hicks, who talked about it frequently during his shows
  • Ænima was released in 1996; two years after Bill Hicks died in 1994

So what parts of actual lyrics of Ænema point to the song being about Bill Hicks? Several things.

Firstly, the song refers to someone "Ranting and pointing his finger". Bill Hicks was a known ranter; in fact it was his job. His style as a comedian was to get up on stage and rant, mainly about people's stupidity.

Secondly, the song refers to someone who stood "above the crowd | He had a voice that was strong and loud". This again is Hicks to a tee; his life was standing on a stage, telling people about the world; and he was loud. At times Hicks would shout and almost scream.

Standing above the crowd can also refer to Hicks' libertarian/left-wing views. Hicks was in his prime at a time when the United States of America was supporting the Gulf War and the war on drugs, and there was a huge sense of patriotism. In the face of this patriotism, Bill Hicks was touring around the southern states telling people that George Bush should be assassinated, and encouraging people to take psychedelic mushrooms. Hardly down in the crowd.

It seems that Tool were "Eager to identify with" Bill Hicks also; they certainly seem to have been obsessed with him around the time when they were producing Ænima.

Extremely poignantly for me, the lyrics of the song run "We wish you well. You told us how you weren't afraid to die." A well known fact is that Bill Hicks continued touring as a comedian after he found out that he had terminal pancreatic cancer. In fact Hicks was more than touring, he was making jokes about dying from cancer, and laughing at the fact that the audience would love him to die after poking fun at non-smokers for so many years.

What a powerful message. Literally, Hicks was a man who laughed at death.

Lastly, (and somewhat strangely), Hicks had related a story, years before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, of a psychedelic episode in which he envisaged a small golden cross; in the location of his pancreas.

To conclude: a valid reading of Ænema is that it refers to a dual eulogy in which the identities of Jesus and Bill Hicks are entwined. The song itself is powerful enough to make a fitting eulogy for two amazing and inspirational men.

Eulogy
the Background and Numbers

Not to take a huge molten shit on the above noder's lyrical analysis, but he's a bit off. While one could certainly infer from the lyrics they were talking about supposed messiahs, such as good ol JC and definitely the late, great Mr. Hicks, they weren't. This song is not complimentary. This song is not respectful. This song is an indictment of those who wear the martyr label, a shotgun center-mass to every zealot's ego, and of your own.

Song Title:   Eulogy
Song Length:  8:28
Album Name:   Ænima
Lyrics By:    Keenan/Jones/Chancellor/Carey
Music By:     Keenan/Jones/Chancellor/Carey


Eulogy
the Song

He had alot to say.
He had alot of nothing to say.
We'll miss him.

So long.
We wish you well.
You told us how you weren't afraid to die.
Well then, so long.
Don't cry,
Or feel too down.
Not all martyrs see divinity,
But at least you tried.

Standing above the crowd,
He had a voice that was strong and loud.
We'll miss him.
Ranting and pointing his finger
At everything but his heart.
We'll miss him.

No way to recall
What it was that you had said to me,
Like I care at all.

So loud.
You sure could yell.
You took a stand on every little thing
And so loud.

(*spoken*)
You could be the one to save me from my own existence.
I was so sure that I'd sin and you'd pay too.
I'm just glad you knew me enough to allow me to always sit by you 
So mad since you stopped giving all your commands 
You weren't too mad when he called you 
Oh, what an influence.
(/*spoken*)

Standing above the crowd,
He had a voice so strong and loud and I
Swallowed his facade cuz I'm so
Eager to identify with
Someone above the ground,
Someone who seemed to feel the same,
Someone prepared to lead the way, with
Someone who would die for me.

Will you? Will you now?
Would you die for me?
Don't you fuckin lie.

Don't you step out of line.
Don't you fuckin' lie.

You've claimed all this time that you would die for me.
Why then are you so surprised to hear your own eulogy?

You had alot to say.
You had alot of nothing to say.

Come down.
Get off your fuckin' cross.
We need the fuckin' space to nail the next fool martyr.

To ascend you must die.
You must be crucified
For your sins and your lies.
Goodbye...

Eulogy fades in gently. We're lulled into a sense of complacency with consistent staccato xylophone beats, caressed by gentle guitar strums, and soothed by an odd, repetitious, almost biomechanical sound. Bass drums and cymbals gently join in accompaniment, and it isn't until nearly 2 minutes into the song that we're greeted to jarring guitar notes. Soon Maynard begins intoning the lyrics through a dehumanizing vocal filter, and the song escalates from there.

Through the distorted vocals, Maynard tells us of someone who had "a lot of nothing to say." Such a label isn't branded upon someone deserving of respect. He continues through the song to berate this false savior. Despite the subject of the song having promised to die for whatever cause he belonged to, he's having second thoughts moments from his impending death. Martyrs don't cry. You're not a very fitting martyr if your own death doesn't make you feel vindicated and victorious.

The singer continues, and in the undistorted vocal sections, his emotions are utterly opaque. Anger, condemnation, contempt, and betrayal are all apparent at times throughout the song.

Despite the furor of the subject's sermonizing, the raw passion for the stances he took on seemingly insignificant topics, it was hollow. After his followers' sympathizing, identifying, and submission to this purported prophet, his inability to accept the logical consequences of his actions makes his other acts utterly irrelevant.

Confronted with his mortality, his impending demise, the possibility his divinity wouldn't be guaranteed at death, he breaks down, and thus fails as an example for his cause. He's a useless idiot, unworthy of remembrance by his followers and utterly forgotten by the world.

This song certainly can't be speaking of your Christs, Hicks, and McWilliams', people who bravely faced their own end, smiled while staring death in the eyes, and failed to go gently into that good night. This is about those who lacked utter conviction in their beliefs, and whose last-minute actions defy those beliefs. It's a song about liars, con men, and people unworthy of reverence and adulation.

Of course, that's the literal interpretation. Tool rarely relies on the literal as their primary artistic device. The fun in a Tool song is fleshing out the metaphor. Ænima as an album largely deals with Jungian philosophy; the preceding song on the album, Stinkfist, when read between the lines, addresses the desires of the Ego, its wanton lust for more and better and beyond, and its inability to differentiate between the painful and the pleasureful.

Eulogy, taken in turn with Stinkfist, deals with the crucifixtion of one's own ego on the path to enlightenment. Until one is able to effectively silence their own interal leper messiahs, there's no chance of reaching a state of harmony.

Regardless of interpretation, this is one of the juiciest cuts off of Ænima, and certainly one of Tool's best of all time.

Eu"lo*gy (?), n.; pl. Eulogies (#). [Gr. , from well speaking; well + to speak. Cf. Eulogium, and see Legend.]

A speech or writing in commendation of the character or services of a person; as, a fitting eulogy to worth.

Eulogies turn into elegies. Spenser.

Syn. -- Encomium; praise; panegyric; applause. -- Eulogy, Eulogium, Encomium, Panegyric. The idea of praise is common to all these words. The word encomium is used of both persons and things which are the result of human action, and denotes warm praise. Eulogium and eulogy apply only to persons and are more studied and of greater length. A panegyric was originally a set speech in a full assembly of the people, and hence denotes a more formal eulogy, couched in terms of warm and continuous praise, especially as to personal character. We may bestow encomiums on any work of art, on production of genius, without reference to the performer; we bestow eulogies, or pronounce a eulogium, upon some individual distinguished for his merit public services; we pronounce a panegyric before an assembly gathered for the occasion.

 

© Webster 1913.

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