Monday, March 25, 2013

My tribute at my fathers funeral.

A very emotional and bittersweet day today. Laid down my father to rest. He was a wise, generous and kind man and i will forever miss him.  Here is the speech I gave today at his funeral, I wanted to share it and post it out so it may never get lost.

"If any of you don’t know, I’m Garth’s son, Nathan Christensen… I really don’t know what’s appropriate to talk about right now; I kind of questioned myself after I requested to speak. Did I really want to do this? Would I rather listen to others at my own father’s funeral? Nah… I needed to do this, out of emotional respect for my father. Maybe a last hurrah, a tribute to the first man I ever knew.

When I was younger I would sometimes think ahead to this day, trying to prepare myself for the inevitable – trying to imagine how it might feel and what I would say at this very moment. But the pain of such a thought being too great, I would usually break out in teary eyes and instead I would turn those thoughts of life and death to myself and try to imagine my own death.

What it would feel like, what I would see, how I might be remembered, I never did come up with any solid answers..

But recently I did kind of figure out one part of what I wish for when I die. In this funeral there were no tears. There was no reminiscent talk of how great I was or how much I might be missed. Instead each person presented both the good and bad about my life and talked of the ways in which I made a difference in the lives of my friends, family and community.

But in the case of my dad, I don’t think he qualifies for such a funeral, for I can find no real fault with the life this man lead. Surely I can stand here and talk about some of his past mistakes, but no one is perfect, and such talk seems trivial now. This man adored his family, his daughters, his grandchildren, adored them more than anything in his whole life. Every time we had any sort of get together he would constantly request to rewind time and visit the videos he cherished of memory’s he adored.

As a person, as a man, he really was the best.

This man would trust you before you could give him your word; he would trust you to the end of time if you simply shook his hand. He could not comprehend how someone would betray a thing as sacred as trust.My dad… a man that loved everyone, was always so happy to see you, always a big ol’ smile on his face. And no matter what direction or choices I made in my life, he was proud. It seemed like he was constantly telling people of my adventures in life, my music I’d write, my school, my work and my own little family. Now being a father myself, I understand why he was proud, I understand why he loved his kids so much and I understand what I meant to him.

I was honored to share a last moment with my dad, I came up Tuesday morning and went straight to his place. He knew I was there, I could tell even though he was not responsive to most but he would react to everything I would say. He opened his eyes and got a good look at me and I easily felt his thank you for coming. I spent about an hour there, talking on random things about my life and what’s going on. I got ready to leave and told him I loved him, he reacted the most to that and he turned his head and mumbled it back to me, it took a lot of effort but he got it out and I let him know I heard him. I left that morning feeling good and relaxed, I felt comfort and I felt he had some comfort and was able to relax, almost a closure we both needed. A few hours later he passed.

That night I had a dream I was sitting next to a lake, outside a cabin not much unlike our old bear lake cabin. Pine tree’s reflected off a beautiful sunset onto the lake, a few fly’s buzzing around, fish jumping in the distance. That quiet yet gorgeous silence of nature, that same feeling in the air I get when I know I’m having a memorable moment. I heard a door shut behind me from the cabin, my father was walking towards me. He sits next to me and tosses a pebble in the lake, the ripples seems to go on forever when he pats me on my back, and said “never forget how proud I am of you, you are such a good father to your son, keep aiming high and you’ll achieve amazing things with your life” I threw my own pebble into the lake, it did not have quite the ripple effect but then he said “never lose contact with your family and know I’ll always be in the best heaven there is, your memories”. I woke up directly after that and was in deep reminiscing thought until the morning.

My Dad…His energy has moved on now, and I can’t help but to imagine he’s splashing through a wild river filled with Salmon running in the spring time, he’s leading the school; he’s the first jumping from runoff to runoff, anxiously and excitedly chasing that source, chasing that great light.

A great wise salmon, magnificent and old, strongest of them all, against the current and all around. He’s shedding beauty, grace and power, where in his wake and underneath his shadow we all safely rear our young. The velvet ground beneath is gentle; the cooling waves are giving cheer. His current is strong, leaving landmarks erect and unafraid, as if to say “fear naught from life’s alarms”.

Here on earth that wise salmon fell, where it had dauntless swam was loneliness and void. But to me I say “To know this life was good, he left his mark on me. His work stands fast”.  And so he lives, such a life no bonds can hold – This great wise salmon, magnificent and old.

So long, Dad, So long… Here it is my tribute to you. You've given me such memorable life, you've given me your trusting nature and trusting heart, you've given me the ability to expert a skill, to enjoy my hobbies, to love my friends and my family. You gave me the ability to be the dad my son deserves and I will never forget you.

Thank you to all the support me and my family have had with this, so many friends and family have offered their shoulders to cry on and their support to help lift up a head hung low. And I appreciate everyone here to support and celebrate the life of this great man." 

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