Sorry to leave you hanging with my last post, Around Here Lately, where I mentioned I did some public speaking. Remember when my dear friend Sandy passed away in April? If you missed that post, please catch up. It’s called I’ll Love You Long After You’re Gone. My first real stint at public speaking happened as a result of her passing. I was asked to deliver the eulogy at her celebration of life service, an honor I still to this day cannot believe was mine.
I was extremely nervous about giving Sandy’s eulogy. I wanted to write something that would honor her and share with others all of the lessons she taught me. I wanted to be able to speak well, to get through it without sounding unintelligible amidst my tears. In addition, I wanted to deliver the eulogy from a dry place. I am happy to report I was able to do all of these things. How did I do it? I started by asking for what I needed, a skill that is crucial for people with hyperhidrosis to master.
Ask for What You Need
Public speaking is a surefire trigger for inducing sweat. Remember, people with hyperhidrosis have overactive sweat glands that respond to stimuli much more easily than the average person’s do. In order to combat the sweat fest I knew would ensue once I was standing at the podium on the alter in the church, I had to make my needs known. The pastor called to talk to me about Sandy so he could get to know what she had been like as a person. When we spoke, I explained that I had hyperhidrosis and what it was. He knew I was fully committed to delivering the eulogy and wanted to help in any way he could. I asked if the church had a small fan that we could plug in near the podium, which they did.
The morning I arrived at the church, I made sure to get there early. Being rushed or running late also makes me sweat, so I was trying to control the situation as much as I could to prevent the flood gates from opening. I wanted to look nice for Sandy’s service so I dressed up, another trigger since dress clothes aren’t always “safe clothes” like my jeans are. I chose a blue and white dress that matched the ocean/nautical theme of her tribute. It was made from polyester, a fabric that is really good at concealing sweat. I wore silver ballet flats that have Summer Soles shoe inserts in them for an added sweat absorption factor, plus some cotton no-show socks, so it looked like I had normal feet and a shoe selection like everyone else.
Trust in Yourself
When I walked into the sanctuary, I surveyed the room to get an idea of where I would be in relation to all of the people who would be gathered to honor Sandy and be staring up at me. The podium was to the right, and when I walked up the steps to stand behind it, there was the fan the pastor had promised me would be there. The fan was on the floor directly underneath the small ledge that would hold my paper copy of Sandy’s eulogy. I was expecting the fan to be over to the side with just a tad bit of airflow I could feel, but it was directly in front of my feet and pointed up. I tested out the fan speeds and settled on low. I didn’t want to look like a supermodel at a photo shoot with my hair and dress blowing out behind me! After placing my hard copy of the eulogy on the podium, I took out a handkerchief from my purse and placed it to my right for extra protection. I had control over my immediate area, and I trusted that I could pull this off.
Have a Plan B
When placing yourself in a sweat-inducing situation, always have a back-up plan. Mine was having the pastor sitting right behind me as I gave the eulogy. He told me if I got up there and suddenly panicked or was crying too much that he would take over for me. I just had to point to where I was on the hard copy and he’d take it from there. While I knew I wouldn’t allow myself to get to plan B, it was nice to know I had an option if I needed one. Always hope for the best, but never underestimate the importance of having additional measures put in place ahead of time.
The first 20 minutes or so of the service I don’t really recall very well, since all I could think about was what I was about to do. Approximately 100 people attended Sandy’s service, but I didn’t know that until I got up to speak. I was sitting in the second row of pews, with everyone arriving and sitting behind me. Delivering Sandy’s eulogy was almost an out-of-body experience for me in some ways. I took a risk by putting myself out there and standing up in all my sweating glory. It was worth it, though. Take risks for the people you love. Trust in yourself. When the going gets tough, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve in the name of someone else. I was able to speak slowly, clearly, and could be understood right up until the very end when I cried while saying the last line.
Don’t Let Your Circumstances Cloud Positive Memories
Giving Sandy’s eulogy was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. I wrote it over a span of a few days, but her service wasn’t until 6 weeks after she passed away. Then, right before her service, my personal life took a turn I was not expecting. So, the grief and sadness over losing Sandy, combined with the shock and intensity of other things, could have clouded my view the day of Sandy’s service. We always have a choice in how we respond to our life circumstances. Never let your current situation cloud good memories, especially if you have gathered to celebrate the life of someone you love. Be present in the moment, because it’s all you really ever have. I am humbled and honored to have given the eulogy for Sandy. I am proud to say that I didn’t let my excessive sweating or personal circumstances get in the way of remembering her light.
Stay tuned for Sandy’s eulogy. I’ll share it next time, otherwise this post will be too long, and I know you probably hate scrolling because your sweaty hand has to stay on the mouse longer.
Copyright © 2013 My Life as a Puddle