A Eulogy written by Louise L. Mitchell for Tom Harper
- 1986

In the triumphant apocalypse
of the New Testament God proclaims
from a lofty throne,
"Behold, I am making all things new!"

And so God does.
Death is the supreme demonstration.
It is a terminus, and as with all terminals of life there is an end ...
and a new beginning.

It is through life's terminals
that we can comprehend death.
Who among us has not terminated one job
to begin another?
Terminated one relationship
to begin another?

Who among us has not begun again
from an ending?

Death appears to be the most impertinent
of terminals, and perhaps it is,
for those who think of time chronologically.

But beginnings and ends are frameworks
of value, purpose and destiny,
rather than chronological concepts.
Put another way, time is our choice
of how to love, whom to love, and why.

We who gather here have chosen to love Tom,
and there is a new beginning:
A new beginning for him,
and a new beginning for us.

Tom's new beginning is freedom,
nothing more to lose.
Our new beginnings are what we make of them.


Tom was my wise, wry, perceptive, imaginative, insightful, diplomatic
and efficient Assistant Director
when I directed musicals for The American Light Opera Company in the 1960's.
I can still see him in my mind's eye -
consulting with my other Assistant Director, the unflappable, wise, Audrey Shipp.
Tom: slim, neat, crisp dress shirt,
sleeves turned up. Black-rimmed glasses pushed back atop
his full head of black hair, pencil and pad at the ready for taking notes, sharp eye for details
and human foibles, quizzical expression.
He was a bright handsome talented man
who died much, much too young.
May he rest in blessed happy peace.

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