Eulogy for Andre Pope

This was the Eulogy I gave for my brother, Andre, who passed away on August 20th, 2019.

Eulogy for Andre Pope
By Nakia Pope

24 August 2019

I will start with a story.

On Father’s Day, 2015, Andre and his family  drove out to spend the weekend with us in Arlington, Texas. My dad came too. Part of the timing of his visit was due to my ridiculous decision to run a Spartan Race at AT&T stadium. Andre was proud and supportive of this challenge I had undertaken. I know it fit his sense of adventure and desire to always be challenged. He was proud of me for doing it.

The morning of the race, Andre drove me to the stadium. As we parked and walked in, amidst all the pre-race hype and spectacle, he kept remarking how cool this all was. As I checked in, he said “I think I want to do this with you.”

This would come to be known as a classic #wtfpope moment.

I had trained, as best I could, for this 4 mile obstacle ridden course with about 4000 stairs for six months or so. Andre had just been riding his bike some. I was, honestly, both amazed and annoyed. Why was he trying to jump into this thing I had been building myself up for for months? Was he crazy?

Andre was persuaded not to do the race by two things. One was the fact that he would have to run it in a very late heat, a few hours after I started. The other was some ridiculous price tag for onsite registration, Something like $250. “Sorry”, he said. “No problem”, I said.

He was the first one to greet me as I staggered over the finish line.

After some post race fun, and watching our kids do a little obstacle race of their own, Andre drove me home. I was spent, tired to the point of incoherence. I gave him some wrong directions on how to get back to my house.

As we navigated back home, he suddenly pulled his truck over. “What are you doing?”  I asked him. “We are going to help these people” he said.

He had noticed a couple of guys pushing a truck into a gas station. Before I could even really register what was going on, he had parked the truck and was going to help these guys push the car. It turns out they had run out of gas and were pushing it into the station to get some more. Andre ( I was still trying to get out of the truck myself) helped these guys get their truck to the gas pump.

They said thanks. Andre said no problem. And we went on our way.

I can think of no better example of the person my brother was than those two events that day. Andre was not just always up for adventure, he pursued challenge and discomfort. He did this really just to see what something was like, to challenge himself physically and mentally, to avoid the sort of complacency that comes all too easily to those of us in adulthood. This pursuit did not always turn out the way he had hoped -- lost in the woods overnight, over his head with one project or another. But he had the resilience and self-confidence that allowed him to take these setbacks and turn them into stepping stones. He was not afraid to challenge himself. He was not afraid to fail. He was not afraid to try the next thing.

In this way he was a challenge and inspiration to me.

Andre was also exceptionally giving. This was not always apparent at first, as he certainly possessed his fair share of Pope stubbornness, and a desire to do things his way on his time. But it didn’t take much to see how much he reached out, that his constant offers to “let me know if you need anything” were more than genuine. This continued even as he got sick, as his concern with how his family and friends were dealing with his illness was often greater than his concern for his own health.

When I think of suffering and loss, especially for someone who gave so much and had so much to do and was so young, I think about Job. Most of us are familiar with the basics of the Job story. A faithful man, brought to suffer through a deal between God and the Devil. What happens in the book of Job, though is an extended question and debate about suffering between Job and four men. The first three of these guys try to tell job why he suffers, why suffering happens, but Job questions and argues with them at every turn.

When I reread this part of Job a few days ago I could not help but think of Andre in his hospital bed, wondering why all this was happening to his family and arguing philosophically with anyone who happened to wander into his room. If you happened to be there, you were more than likely to get a treatise on Andre’s values, his philosophy of adventure, the importance of friends and family, and why Thor: Ragnarok was the best of the Marvel movies. Andre questioned and fought and was stubborn and refused to accept the easy answers, just like Job.

It’s also important to remember that those three guys who tried to explain to Job why he suffered were wrong.

It took another prophet, and eventually God Himself, to explain this to Job. And the explanation at first is not seemingly very comforting -- we cannot understand why the good suffer.  We -- limited, fallible, sinful humans that we are -- cannot grasp the enormity and entirety of creation.

We were not there when the world was made. We cannot know why young people get so sick.

This means we need faith. And hope. And surrender. And love. Lots and lots of love.

There is an abundance of love here today. And an abundance of love in the world. That’s hard to see sometimes. But having Andre in our lives is a reminder of just how much love there can be. In his love for his family, his friends, his hobbies, his craft, he shows us the sustaining power of love, how it brings us together and helps us move forward.

I Love My Brother. And I will miss him everyday for the rest of my life.

And I know he loves me. Just has he loves all of you here. Love is greater than suffering. Greater than pain. Greater than loss. Over the coming months and years, we can honor, remember Andre by cultivating this sustaining love.

BBQ story coda. . .


  1. This is a moving tribute to your brother. Well written and insightful. Peace, Nakia.


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