As I sit before this blank page, and prepare for your memorial, it is hard to know where to begin. How does one bring words onto a page that could possibly come close to expressing the life of someone like you? Someone so disarmingly warm, friendly and endearing, someone so creative, talented, hysterically funny and always self-effacing. Someone who could make me laugh like no one else with your fountain of stories. Someone who, without any effort at all, would fill my heart with a gentle happiness. How did you do this Pete? How, no matter what was going on in your life, did you so easily fill my heart with this happiness? We would simply talk on the phone in the evening, and I would wake up in the morning like a new person, with my heart so full. I’d call you and ask, how did you do that Pete? How did you get into my heart like this?
But I have come to see that you are full of secret powers. It wasn’t just me that you touched so deeply. It was everyone. Everyone who was lucky enough to take the time to know you. It didn’t matter if it was a brief encounter (like what Mark shared) or a lifetime of friendship (like what John shared). The lives you touched were made better and brighter.
So I wonder, from where did you get this beautiful positivity? This disarming ease of connecting with others? Maybe because you were the 5th of 9 Hurleys. Maybe from the middle of the pack, you had to stretch equally in all directions, to Pat, Mary, Danny and Cal above you and to Tommy, me, Gary and Greg below you. And then you kept stretching – to your sisters and brothers in-law, to your nieces and nephews. And then you kept going, to the countless friends who became part of your life. And to Lorna, who became the love of your life.
This past month, we had some very open and intimate talks about life and death, and there was nothing we couldn’t talk about. Courageous in facing a serious health challenge, you shared with honesty and vulnerability that you were ready to be with Lorna, Mom, Dad, Mary, Gerry, and as you said “the Gang”. You shared that you had a good and full life. And that you were not afraid. And it was your inner strength and clarity that carried me through this time Pete. And while I personally wanted more time with you, I will be forever grateful for the gift you were and will always be in my life. Grateful for how much you let me love you. And for how much I know you loved me. You never put up barriers to love. And that to me is the greatest gift of a human life. And THAT I believe is what has always been your secret power.
May you rest in peace, my beautiful brother. And to borrow words from one of your work buddies, “May you ride into the sunset on a horse, taking in all God’s glory.” With Lorna, Mom, Dad, Mary, Gerry, Uncle Jack and the rest of the “Gang” by your side.