I thought I would post the talk I gave at my dad’s funeral. There is a private link to the video I showed for his life sketch.
It is so amazing to stand here and see so many faces of people that have been a part of my parent’s lives, and mine, for so many years. Many of you I have known almost my whole life and others of you are new friends of my parents. For those of you that are newer friends I am Heather, Allan and Alice’s oldest daughter. Also known as Friendly Frog and Heather Berry by my dad, and more recently the dominate bossy daughter by his doctors and nurses.
Before I say what I have prepared I want to publicly thank everyone that has been such a great support to our family over the past year. I imagine everyone in this room has done something for our family, whether it be visiting my parents, bringing over food, to keeping us in your prayers. All of this has been a great comfort and we have felt your support and love. I would also like to thank all the hospice staff, especially our “angel” as I like to call her, Cassie. She was with us twice a day the last week dad was with us. She was our bright spot in every day.
In a blessing my dad received when he was 13 it said:
“Cultivate the spirit of friendliness and cheerfulness, the doors shall be opened unto you, and you will be the means of instilling faith in the lives of other people. You shall serve in many capacities among the children of our Heavenly Father. Cultivate the spirit of love. Refrain from hasty judgment, that you may be wise and just in your dealings with your fellow men.”
My dad was probably the least judgmental, most friendly cheerful man I have ever known. Always positive. Never angry. Well unless it had to do with a lost BYU football game. Even after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer he stayed positive. I never heard him say anything negative and I never saw him feel sorry for himself. He said “It is what it is and I’m going to fight it.” And that’s what he did. He went through chemo and radiation with a smile on his face. He spent the summer doing what he loved. Camping, fishing, traveling with his best friends, celebrating birthdays and holidays with his family making wonderful memories.
My dad lived a life of harmony and unity. Our home growing up was a place of refuge. My parents taught us love and respect by example. There were never harsh words or anger between them. No arguments or fighting. My dad called my mom everyday at lunch to tell her he loved her. Their love is truly a happily ever after story. Watching my mom care for my dad this past year and especially in his last few weeks was a privileged experience for me. I know now more of selfless love by her example.
I asked my mom if I could give my dad’s life sketch because I wanted to pay tribute to the man I have loved the most and the longest in my life. I’m not one that usually leans towards the traditional. I didn’t want to just stand here and read off of a piece of paper my father’s life to you. I wanted to show you he has lived a good life, full of lots of accomplishments, happiness and joy.
I spent a few weeks putting this video together and it gave me much peace and comfort. It made me realize all the things he had done in his life and all we had done as a family growing up, all the places we had gone, and all the things he taught us kids. He lived a full and amazing life and then in turn gave us one.
Whenever I hear the words to the song on this video I think they are the words my dad would be saying to us. You are never alone; I’ll be in every beat of your heart when you face the unknown. Wherever you fly this isn’t goodbye. My love will follow you, stay with you, you’re never alone.