On this very first Fathers Day without my Dad, I’d like to remember him with this written eulogy that I shared on the day of his home-going celebration.

As the only natural born son of Lawrence (Larry) Ralph Borgstede, Jr, it is my great privilege to say a few words on behalf of my mom and family to honor the memory of my Dad on this day of September 20, 2016.

A loving husband, a wonderful father, and a faithful friend…my Dad was all of these and so much more to everyone who knew him and loved him. As his son, I loved him and without any doubt, I know that he loved me. I also know that my Dad would be the first to tell you that he was not a perfect Dad, but I will be the first to tell you that he was a good good father because he first loved his perfect Father in heaven, he secondly loved my mom as Christ loves the church, and he thirdly loved his family and others as he loved himself. When it comes right down to it, my Dad was a good good father because he truly loved the Lord and he truly loved others as God commands all of us to do.

My Dad was the kind of man who always did what he said he would do no matter what it cost him because his good name was worth everything he gave to have a good name that honored God and his family. If he borrowed a vehicle from someone, he brought it back full of gas…that’s just how he rolled.

Besides being called Hon, Dad, Paw Paw, and Pops, my Dad was sometimes lovingly called bumpstead, grumpstead, and motor mouth, but no matter what anyone called him, everyone who truly loved him, knew they could count on him whenever they called him.

On one such occasion, I called my Dad at 4 o’clock in the morning to help me with some mice in my house. I had set a trap in the pantry the night before, and then around 4 am, I heard a loud clamoring all around the inside of the pantry. With all the commotion going on, I thought it just had to be a large rat or squirrel, or possum, or something big. And because I was scared to open the pantry thinking that it would run through the house with my wife and kids there, I called my Dad who lived about 3 miles away to come help capture and kill this monster in the pantry. And sure enough, at 4 in the morning, without any reservation, my Dad got out of bed and showed up to help me.

I guess you want to know what happened to the monster in my pantry, right? Well, when my Dad arrived, he bravely opened the pantry door as I stood behind him with a Puerto Rican bat ready to clobber the monster. And what he found was a little tiny mouse having a bad day with a mousetrap. My Dad looked at me and said, “Son, is this why you got me out the bed at 4 o’clock in the morning? Looks like I’m going to have to teach you a few more things in life.”

And that he did. My Dad has taught me over and over again by his selfless example that being there for people is what matters most in life. My Dad was always, always, always there for me. And he was always there for my family and his friends as well.

Another time I called my Dad when I was in Florida on a business trip and my car wouldn’t start. Without hesitation, my Dad offered to drive to Florida and get me if I wasn’t able to get the car fixed with a new battery. Fortunately, it was just the battery and he didn’t have to make that drive…but he would have gladly done it, if he had to. It’s just how he loved people.

There are literally hundreds of stories that can be told collectively by my family and his friends of how my Dad somehow was there for them over the years and helped them in some large or small way. That’s my Dad…it’s who he was.

In fact, during the final days of my Dad’s life, the hardest thing about it was that his family and friends couldn’t help him when he was the one now calling for help. He had been there so many times for us and he always knew how to help us, but when he needed us to help him in his final days, we didn’t know what to do except to pray for him and be there for him just like he was always there for us.

One thing is for certain though, we can all take great comfort in knowing that my Dad, one of the smartest men I’ve ever known, knew what he needed to do even in his most difficult time. In his final hours, my Dad called on Jesus in heaven to help him when he knew there was nothing else that anyone on earth could do to help him. And without fail, Jesus helped him indeed and what I am about to share with you is amazing!

In the moments when my Dad was crying out, “Jesus help me!” and my Mom was crying out “Jesus, where are you?”, the Holy Spirit whispered to my Mom to put on the daily televised mass for my Dad to watch in his bed. As only God can do, the Lord showed up for my Mom and my Dad when the priest gave his homily about loved ones going home to be with Jesus.

In his homily, the priest said that when believers in Jesus go home to be with Him in heaven, we go home to a beautiful house with many mansions that Jesus has prepared for us. Jesus affirms this Himself in the book of John 14:1-3 when He says, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

The priest also said that for all who believe and trust in Jesus, this glorious truth makes us all the more want to go to heaven so that we can see our loved ones once again and have fellowship with them for all of eternity. I know that statement is true for me and I hope it is also true for you because all of us can experience eternal life in heaven.

I believe that if my Dad could speak to all of us here today, he would tell everyone to put your trust in God and commit your life to Jesus so that each of us can be in heaven where he is when it’s our time to leave this earth.

At the very end of the televised mass last Thursday, it was my Dad’s time to leave this earth as he breathed his last breath and went home to be with Jesus in heaven. Praise God that the Lord is faithful and His love is unfailing!

Now, for the rest of this temporary life on earth, I will miss the personal fellowship with my Dad on earth. But, I take great comfort in knowing that I have not lost relationship with my Dad because he is my Dad forever and as a person who has placed my trust in Jesus, I know that I will one day see my Dad again and will forever have fellowship with him in heaven. Thank you Lord that Your mercy is new every morning and Your mercy endures forever!

With that final thought, I conclude with the Italian words of Pope Francis, “Arrivederci” Pops. It means “goodbye Dad, until we meet again.”