Wednesday, February 11, 2015

To Jon...

... A talk I gave at a dear friends funeral... 

To Jon…                                                                                                                                                               1/31/2015

When Deb moved into Jon’s house she brought a pink flamingo or two with her, Jons acceptance of those was starting a Garden Gnome collection to compete.
So last night I walked around Debs house and started to count the Gnomes to Flamingo ratio.  I think I counted 20ish Gnomes to the 6 pink flamingos. I am pretty sure Jon won that competition. :)

Having this opportunity means a lot to me, to be able to stand in front of the people who loved this man and dedicate some words to him. It’s clear as day, and deb and his kids should be extremely proud, that Jon positively affected just about every life that came across his.

And I think I  can safely speak for Jons whole family that the out-pour of support, of love, the phone calls, the texts, the kind words, the hugs, the dinners, the flowers the thoughts and prayers have been incredibly appreciated and incredibly helpful to everyone in this time.

When I sat down to write a few words about this dear man, my first thoughts were is this going to be hard? Can i maintain composure? Can I do it without crying?
What in the world can I write to honor such a man that has impacting me and my families lives so much. A man that meant so much to so many.
And to be honest… It wasn't that hard at all.  Jon made it easy to say good things about him, he made it easy to love and he made it an honor to know him. He deserves every word of honor, kindness and love that could come out of my mouth. He was such a warm soul, if you needed help it wasn't a question of ‘why’ it was a question of how soon could he lend you his help.

We had a lot of family get together s at Jon and Deb’s house, be it for birthday dinners, holidays or just summer nights to BBQ garlic burgers and sausage hot dogs then we’d almost always enjoy s’mores over his prized fire pit with chocolate or reeses peanut butter cups. There really was never a dull moment between him, Harley and Shaun cracking jokes, to Karrie, Landon, Rivers and Lexi playing in the yard and always dashing over for a quick s’more. We’d all use the same change to pop a soda out of his old soda machine. We would have parties, Halloween events, pools for the kids on hot summer nights, princess cakes for all the girls birthdays and princess cakes for all the boys birthdays too. Jon would always rave about his man cave and all his redneck glory. Jon was always a core part of these cherished get togethers, It was always sad when he had to work and couldn't make it.  Now we will forever miss him as we gather in the future and  now every gathering we will honor him for bringing together what we all now know as our family. Jon raised three incredible girls and didn't even think twice about taking in 2 sons and another daughter. His arms were as big as he could reach and his heart even bigger.

For his kids:
It was obvious your Dad loved you so much. I could see it in the way he talked, in the way he looked at you that he was so proud. Never forget his teddy bear like hugs, his huge smile and his enormous love for you.  Here’s a little poem I've always enjoyed about losing a dad:

I am who I am because of him
He gave me my courage & my strength
To stand tall even when standing wasn’t easy
Stand for the ones who can’t
To think and fend for myself
I’m my Daddy made over

Taught me to fight back
To never back down
How to pick myself back up
When I’ve been knocked down
Fight for what I believe
I’m my Daddy made over

He gave me my stubbornness
Gave me my pride
Gave me my temper
Taught me not to take crap
To speak my mind no matter who
Work for what I want
I’m my Daddy made over

How to keep my emotions in check
How to handle large amounts of pain
When in trouble he always had my back
He knew how my mind worked better than anyone
I got it from him
I’m my Daddy made over

Even though he’s gone
I’ll stand and continue on
I may stumble I may fall
May even get hurt along the way
But I’ll pick myself back up
I’ll dust myself off and stand tall
I’m honored and proud to say
I’m my Daddy made over

This parts for Deb:
When you used to live with me and Julie I remember how excited you were to go out with Jon, you made Julie do your hair for most the first dates. I remember before you went out one night you said to me and Julie “Even if this doesn't work out, at least its someone to hang out with”. I knew right then and there you liked this man. And Fast forward to today -- Over the past 6 years that Jons’ been in my life, I've had numerous people tell me over the years that Jon has never been happier than when he was with you. Never forget you changed this mans life, you made him smile and you made him happy. The fact he was as happy as he was in the last years of his life is incredibly powerful and you were a major part of that. You were his everything, you shared a bond that we all should be jealous of, a love that could write adventures.

This parts for the grand-kids:
Karrie, Landen, Rivers and Lexi… your grandpa Loved you so much! You were his prized possessions. His face would light up with joy when any of you were in his presence. Never forget all the funny things Grandpa would say and do, all the books he would read you and all the games he would play with you. Grandpa will always be in our hearts, and in our memories, there will always be stories we can all tell each other about funny things Grandpa did and how much Grandpa loved you. He was a perfect Grandpa and as parents we should never let our kids forget him.

and in closing...

When Jon passed I had an incredibly daunting challenge of explaining such a thing to a curious and emotional young mind. I tried  to explain we needed to imagine seeing him happy, smiling big, cracking a few jokes while he sits atop his motorcycle ready for the open road. His bike growling and a morning breeze blowing against his face as he starts down a country road into the sun rise. An object of beauty and us standing watching him till he fades on the horizon and  if someone  says “he is gone.” Gone! Where? Gone from my side -- that is all. He is just as radiant, kind and loving as when I saw him. And just as able to bear his love and generosity to his destination. The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in him, and just at that moment when someone at my side says “He is gone”

There are others who are watching him coming and other voices take up a glad shout “Here he comes!”

I love you all and thank you for giving me this honor.