Eulogy For Jody Wirawan

Jody Wirawan after graduation.

This is a eulogy for Jody Wirawan read by one of his sisters at his memorial:

I'd like to start off by saying thank you all for being here today. I'm not sure how to express how happy I am to be surrounded by so many people who have come to honor and celebrate Jody's life. I know that you and I might not know each other and we might not have even met before this afternoon. But you're here because you care about Jody and so to me that makes us family.

It's become clear to me that words can't adequately describe the meaning and value of Jody's short life. And when I think about everything he had to go through over the years it makes me want to be bitter at the injustice of it. But that's not how Jody lived his life. He faced so much adversity but he still chose not to be bitter. He chose to have a good heart and I want to honor that.

Jody Michael Wirawan was born on Wednesday, February 26th 1986 in Jakarta, Indonesia. At the time our parents were still together but their marriage was falling apart. They fought almost every night. And even though they had just had an adorably handsome baby boy, neither of them could keep it together long enough to give Jody the attention that he needed.

Not long after Jody was born our parent's marriage ended and Jody, Mom and I moved to the U.S. We lived in Michigan and Texas before coming to Alaska, the place he called home.

Growing up I couldn't have asked for a better little brother. I tried to teach him the important things in life: you know, like how to rollerblade and play baseball. Jody wasn't real crazy about those things but he'd do them anyway because he knew that I liked them. His favorite thing was to play video games on the new Nintendo that Dad had just sent him. Jody would spend hours playing Mario Brothers and perfecting each level. A lot of times I'd play too and we would each take turns using the one controller. Even though I'd be more cautious than he would and take a lot more time, he was always patient and would wait his turn without complaining. Those were some of the best times in my life and I spent them with my little brother.

He never lost that sense of compassion as he got older. As the years went on he was faced with more and more impossible situations but he continued to make the choice to be a good person. There were a lot of times in his life when food was scarce and he went hungry. But instead of becoming bitter about it he became someone who was more likely to share food with others. The last time I ever saw Jody he stayed at our house for a week, and the day before he left he came home with a bunch of grocery bags packed with food. He quietly went into the kitchen and stocked up our cupboards as a way of saying thank you for having him over. That was Jody.

When I talk to people about my brother the one thing everyone seems to remember most is the way he walked...you know what I'm talking about all puffed out and proud of himself. And he should be. When I found out that Jody had joined the Army I was really worried at first. But after talking to him about his job and how proud he was of what he was doing I couldn't help but smile. He told me that he'd visited Ground Zero and the Pentagon and had been moved by the experience. This was one of the things that made him want to join the Army. I told him that I was proud of him, and I still am.

Jody had wanted to have a big family. A few months ago we were having dinner and he asked me how many kids I was planning on having. I said probably just two and then asked him if he ever thought about having kids. He puffed up his chest in that way that he does and proudly told me that he was planning on having six kids.

I was really surprised and said well, that was a lot to take on and maybe he might want to try having 'em one at a time and see how it goes. He laughed but his mind was made up. He'd been thinking about it for a long time and wanted to have exactly six. When I asked him why, he said that he knew somebody who was a father to six kids and that it had inspired him. I thought it was amazing that he'd want to have any kids at all considering everything he'd been through in his own childhood. But that was Jody.

He knew that a person wasn't defined by the cards they were dealt in life, but by how they chose to live it. I was never so proud of him as when he said he wanted to have a big family and to give them a good life. I wish he would have had a chance to make his dream happen. Twenty-two is too young for anyone to die, but especially for someone who had survived so much and had wanted to do such good in the world.

Jody was the best brother I could have ever asked for. He was a good friend and a patient listener. I'll miss his sense of humor and how he could always crack a cheesy smile at just the right time to make you laugh. I'll miss playing video games and watching movies together. I'll miss picking up the phone and hearing "Heeey Anita, what's new with you?" But most of all I'll miss hearing him say "I love you Sis."

I love you too Jody.

1 comments:

Anonymous said... July 21, 2009 at 6:57 AM  

Anita,..it was shocking me to hear one of my brother pass away. May God bless him. I heard the news from one of my sister and your father (wirawan) got shocked to hear that news... GBU

Warm regard from Indonesia

Anton Kurniawan

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