Dad's funeral was a special day. We sure cried a lot, but that's only because our feelings for Dad are so tender. Kristina, Mom and I are incredibly grateful that Dad is free of a body that constrained his talents, abilities, and just everyday livelihood so much. It was an honor to celebrate a life so well lived.
So many people who love and care about us came to give their support as we celebrated Dad. Mom's teacher friends, my teacher friends, high school friends -- it was amazing. There was an outpouring of love from the ward that Kristina and I are in. They wanted to be there for us. It was especially sweet to see Dad's coworkers from many years ago who came and expressed how much they admired him personally and professionally.
We were all a bit surprised how word spread through the Farm Credit/Ag banking world. I sent an email to one person and before long we were receiving emails from a number of states. My mom received the most beautiful flowers from Farm Credit of Utah, where Dad last worked 33 years ago. Pretty amazing.
It was a priceless gift to hear people express such tender sentiments about Dad, because it meant that so many others recognized how special he was. Chris
Oswald, a long time friend and former coworker of my dad summed it up perfectly
when I talked to her on the phone by saying, "Your dad was a tremendously
special human being." Another long time friend's daughter laughed with me and shared that "Your dad was my mom's favorite person next to my own Dad. You wouldn't believe how often we heard her say 'I wonder what DeWayne would do. Let's give him a call.'"
Kristina and I were assigned to speak. It felt like a burden only because I felt like I could never capture in words the feelings that were in my heart. But it really was a special opportunity to share Dad's life and goodness with others, and it forced me to go way back into my memory and recall so many sweet times that we've had together. It also helped me remember him in his prime, which has been hard to do sometimes in the past few years.
We were thankful to be surrounded by so many loved ones. Uncle Dean, Aunt Susan, Charlie, Uncle Denny, Joshua, Gram, and Aunt Linda were just who we needed to feel the love of family. I am so grateful Dad's brothers could come. They are good men who love my mom dearly.
Dad loved his daughters' husbands. He wanted us to be loved like he loved Mom, and Nate and Jason are truly taking good care of Dad's girls. They have also stepped in to help Mom with whatever she needs. We are so blessed.
The McDowells, our practically lifelong friends, were such a support throughout the week. Lynette was knocking on my mom's door at 7:30 Monday morning to see what she could do, Kristen brought us a much needed dinner, and I was in tears as I read a message from Tamra that said she was coming to the funeral all the way from North Carolina.
Years ago we started calling ourselves the "McHall" family because we're just that close. I love these girls, and am so grateful to call them 'sisters.'
Noah doesn't say much about it, but I think he misses Papa. Sometimes he wants to talk about him. He'll be playing with a toy and say something like, "Hey, Mom, you know Papa likes trains."
Just today on the way home from church he asked, "Mom, why did Papa have to die?" So, we talked about it again. I'm so grateful that this little boy got to experience just a tiny bit of Papa's goodness. They were true buddies.
Luke looks at pictures all of the time, points to Papa, and says his name. Every time we see someone using a walker or wheelchair he says, "Papa, Papa."
He won't remember their time spent together, but Papa is very alive in our conversations and memories, so I think Luke will get a pretty good grasp of how special his Papa is to us.
It truly was a beautiful day. It felt like every second, from the moment I walked into the chapel until I went to bed late that night, was infused with love. There was so much goodness, so much love, and so MANY hugs from dear, dear friends. Dad would have been touched, and maybe even a bit surprised, that he was loved by so many.