Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Some More 'I Don't Want to Forget's'

Tie a Blue Ribbon on the Backyard Tree

A few days after my fathers passing, my mother awoke to find this sight in her backyard.
A small token of love and kindness from some sweet neighbors.
Heartwarming and comforting.
Kind gesture that brought joy to my mother.

One of the Worst Ever - Moore Oklahoma

Almost two miles wide and on the ground for 17 minutes, with over 200 mph winds.
It was an E5 tornado that wiped out the city of Moore, Oklahoma.
Children and adults dead.  Another disaster - another day of mourning.
My prayers are in their behalf.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Last Night - Family Dinner

Rachel holds a captive audience.
So many secrets being told.

Conversations were held everywhere; upstairs and ON the stairs.

LOTS of girl talk.

Bishop taking a quiet moment.

Carrying on the family tradition...TAFFY!!!!

Sean and Becky were in charge of the family Taffy pull.

Sean and Nate

The Lilac Tree
Everything was done.
The Viewing.
The Funeral.
The Burial.
The Luncheon.
And now we were back at mom and dad's house.  We had a family meeting before dinner was brought in for us by mom's previous ward in Pleasant Grove.  We all just enjoyed relaxing.  Most of us were changed out of our Sunday clothes.  Most of us were exhausted...emotionally and physically spent.
Games were being played at various tables.  Taffy was being made in the kitchen.  Babies and kids were playing outside and all around the rooms.  Visiting was going on in and around all corners of the house.  But then, attention was asked of everyone as there was a gift to be presented to 'grandma' from some of the grandchildren...mainly, Von and Ann's daughters.
Daddy sings.  Common knowledge.  And he sang certain songs on a regular basis, especially at the wedding receptions of his children and his grandchildren.  The one song he was most famous for singing was, 'The Lilac Tree'.  Cute cute lyrics...about a little boy, and a little girl.  The little boy wants a kiss.  The little girl acts shocked and says she'll give him one, but 'only when the apples grow on the Lilac tree.'  The little boy is soooo sad and in despair.  The little girl feels terrible for breaking his heart...so the very next morning, he goes back to his Lilac Tree, only to find his little sweetheart 'tying apples to the Lilac Tree'.
The granddaughters presented my mother with a Lilac Tree; with apples they had tied all over it's branches.
That did it.
Mom hadn't cried, until that moment.  What a tender moment.  I have to be honest; it was good to see her cry.  She had needed to.  She snuck back into her room, needing to have a private moment, where she allowed herself to have a really good cry.  Then she re-emerged with a very grateful and tender heart.
Rebecca will go over later next week and help her plant her Lilac Tree outside in a place where she will see it often.

I'm home now.  We flew home last night and I was back to work today.  Life has gone on, as if the past weekend was a blur.  In fact, today, the news is all about a TERRIBLE Tornado that has hit Oklahoma and killed several children who were in school, many many are still missing and whole cities are obliterated.  It is devastating.  I am feeling thrown back into reality but realize that only my life, and that of my family, has been set back on it's heels of my fathers passing.  Life truly does go on.
And so do I.  The weekend celebration of my fathers life was a much needed closure for me and I am so grateful for the gospel.  I will not mourn, but rejoice for having known and loved such a wonderful father.  He lived a full and productive life, and has now returned to a Heavenly Father that loves him and is also grateful for his life.
Counting my many blessings.

How Much Family???

OKay -
The top picture are JUST the Carlsbad cousins.  And even this picture is lacking 4 of the girls.  But these are only Uncle Floyd's children, Uncle Ron's children and our family.  These are the three families that were raised together in Carlsbad and we did everything with.  Amazing, huh??
The bottom picture is of daddy's remaining siblings from the original seventeen.  All others have passed on.

The Burial

Daddy's burial site; with the Wasatch Mountains framing his grave site.

Carrying daddy to the grave.

waiting for others to arrive.

Making sure the Rector's were warm and comfortable.

Watching the casket arrive.

Mother being presented with the flag for the time daddy' was  in the Navy.

Drawing out roses from the family bouquet.

Nice family picture.

The Dickerson's - Merilee and Rich.
Merilee was my Laurel advisor and probably one of the most influential women in my life.  Rich has one of the most beautiful tenor voices I've heard.  Love them both.

Taking a private last moment before my final departure.

The Funeral

So glad my sweetheart Del was with me during this most tender occasion.  He was my support and strength through the whole weekend.  I do love and adore him.
Very touched that President Hartman Rector and his wife, Connie, were able to come and honor our father.  Daddy was Pres. Rector's first counselor in the San Diego Mission Presidency and taught daddy all he knew about missionary work and leadership.  Life long friends...AND...President Recto was the one who officiated at mine and Del's sealing.

Saying our last goodbye's.

Goodbye my sweet daddy.  Right before the casket was closed.
 An hour before the funeral, there was another public viewing for those who had not been able to attend the night before.  Again, there were hundreds there.  Some very special friends came from my childhood and my early years in Carlsbad California.  The Davies, The Barsons, The Rectors, KayLynn Clawson,, etc etc...it was wonderful to see some of them again.
After everyone left the viewing, we had a family moment where each of us were able to approach the casket and say our final goodbye's to daddy.  Each family went by and when I passed him, I brought my fingers to my lips, kissed them, and then pressed them to his lips.  I was stunned....his face was hard and his lips were solidly cold.  I was sad that he was cold.  He was NEVER cold.  But it was what it was.  I still did not cry.
Make a Million cards were snuck into his casket and mother placed his temple recommend into his shirt pocket.  His temple hat was placed on his head and mother said goodbye before they closed the casket for the last time.  Then we marched into the chapel.
The church was packed....all the way back into the cultural hall to the back of the gym.  The program was wonderful with Rachel and Garth giving a great life sketch.  The grandchildren sang two songs, then my brother Paul gave a memorable talk.  So many were crying....I held my own still.  The adults sang a beautiful song and then I stayed on the stand, as I was to give the closing prayer.  It was then, that I was able to see the faces of all who had come to give their last respects to my daddy.  So many relatives, cousins, uncle and aunts, missionaries, Carlsbad ward members and friends, Utah friends and ward members.  So many people.  Uncle Floyd gave a powerful talk, addressed mostly to daddy's posterity, heeding them to remain faithful and strong so as not to break the family chain or honor.  It was powerful...direct...no mincing of words.
Closing song was one of daddy's favorites....Abide With Me.  I was fine, until the third verse.  Then I cried, for the first time.  Paul, my brother, leaned over and held my hand.  That did NOT help.  But I stopped instantly when I was to give the prayer.  It was thoughtful and complete.
The family followed the casket out to the hearse.  My six brothers were the pal bearers and lifted and placed the casket into the hearse and then we all followed it to the grave site.

The Viewing

This is how beautiful my mother is.

All twelve siblings plus mother, with daddy's casket.

Uncle Floyd presented mom with a statue of Joseph and Hyrum as 'BROTHERS', representing his and daddy's close relationship as 'brothers' also.  Quite beautiful.

Alison, Alene, Lowene and Shirlene with my sister Rebecca and me.

My cousins Ruth (and her daughter), Melody and Janelle.

SOOOO glad that my sweet baby dolly Kathryn was with me on this trip.  It was her first funeral.

My cousin Vicki was one of my past BYU roommates.

Having a humorous moment with my brothers Mark and J.D.

JD and I are at it again while being in mother's support line.

Phil and I with my daddy's sister Barbra and her husband, Jay.

P.J. having a terrible memory from his childhood.

Elder Hyde and his wife came to honor daddy'.  There were about 12 missionaries from the Chile Santiago North Mission.

Giving my last respects to my daddy.

some of the memorabilia visitors got to view of daddy's life.
The viewing for the public was Friday, May 17th at the funeral home.  Del, Kathryn and I arrived early to help Rachel and Rebecca put up some of the memorabilia for the visiting friends and family to see.  Not realizing that the room would already have daddy's casket situated, we entered to find his body off to the right, and immediately in our view.  Kathryn was unnerved a little as this was her first funeral AND the first time she had seen her grandpa in years.  It stopped her heart for a minute and I had to make sure she was okay before continuing on.
There were soooo many people who came to visit my mother and our family.  Uncle Floyd's children were there...ALL 14 of them.  Uncle Ron's family was there...ALL 7 of them.  It was the first time we had all been together in probably over 35 years!!!  What a tribute to my father.  And the visiting was amazing.  We so enjoyed laughing and talking together...They absolutely LOVED daddy and considered him their father as well as we did.  It was touching.
Some of daddy's missionaries came too.  I was stunned to see my first zone leader, Gordon Farr, and then some of dad's assistants...about 12 missionaries in total.  Fun memories to be shared.
Daddy's brothers and sisters were there...and several more of my cousins...past ward members and friends from our youth.  It was a wonderful night shared by so many of us remembering daddy and all the good he had done for so many people.
Hard to see him lying there in the casket.  He was so thin, but had a slight smile on his face and appeared to be just waiting to sit up and ask 'where the next Make -a -Million' game was going to be played.  I will be honest, I was slightly unnerved myself.
It was a long evening, but I was glad I was there to support my mother.  Not a tear was shed; by her or by me.  Everyone else cried, but I was holding my own well.  Mother was just being...mother.  British.  Strong.