Funerals, they say, are for the living, and so it was today, at Peter Nakamura's memorial service, when his niece, Casey Nakamura, (Nadine's daughter) delivered a eulogy that really made me think.
Casey, a poised and intelligent 17-year-old, spoke of how Peter encouraged her to read, and had long discussions with her on the wide range of subjects that someone who truly was a renaissance man could converse.
But of all the many things she learned from Peter, she said, three really stood out:
How you say something can be just as important as what you say.
You have to understand all sides of an issue before you form an opinion.
A story may very well be the most effective form of communication we have.
Those life teachings have stayed with me, as well as a quote from Abraham Lincoln that Mike Belles, in his eulogy, said was one of Peter's favorites:
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
In the often jagged, caustic world of politics where many of us are immersed, or occasionally dip, and at a time when the bonds of our small community have been severely strained, those are good words to live by and remember.
Mahalo, Peter, for striving for goodness, and devoting so much of your life energy to public service.