The week after my father’s passing felt so surreal, many times I said to myself, I can’t believe I am at my dad’s funeral. That weekend we were at my mom’s house to eat Sunday dinner and watch football and it suddenly felt very real. Things will never be the same and the absence of my father will forever leave a huge void in our lives.
My father was a great man and an amazing father. He was someone that I could always go to and someone I always depended on. He was also my dear friend.
I am so thankful for the time I had with him on this earth and the many memories that I will always cherish. The example he left us with was to live a life full of charity, to love you fellow man. And he always lived that way.
At his viewing and funeral services, friends and family were able to celebrate his life and remember him and all he has done. The services were beautiful and were such a comfort to my family at this difficult time.
THANK YOU to everyone who came out, sent flowers, called, sent messages, wrote articles or blog posts or comments, the Firefighters and Highway patrol (who guarded his casket), the police escort (for the procession) and the tribute sponsors. It’s been so nice to see how loved this man was and to hear and see again, just how many lives he touched. The past month, I have heard countless stories about my dad and how he helped someone in a crucial time in their lives and helped them become what they are today.
After much thought, I decided I needed to speak at the funeral. My mom had suggested I didn’t, that I don’t need any extra stress at this time. But the feeling continued to grow that I needed to speak and pay tribute to my father.
I’m so glad I did. The stories and words just came to me over the few days as I prepared my talk. I was able to recall all the fun times we shared as a family and all the wonderfully unique things about my dad. It was difficult to deliver, as I was very emotional and a touch nervous, speaking in front of 900 people including dignitaries such as Governor Huntsman, The Matheson’s and Senator Orrin Hatch. But once I got up there, a comfort came over me and helped me to express what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it. And I’m so thankful for that.
Other speakers included Governor Huntsman, my dad’s dear friends, Blaze Wharton and Randy Horiuchi, and my sister Jamie Jennings. A man played “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” on the saxophone and it was so perfect and beautiful.
Before my dad found out he had cancer, he had planned on retiring this year. With that, he was planning a retirement dinner “Roast & Toast” to raise some money for the AFL-CIO and for his retirement. After his plans changed, he still wanted to do the dinner, but raise money for cancer research / awareness. It just happened that his dinner date was one week after he passed away. He wasn’t able to make it in person, but he definitely was there in spirit.
That night we shared with 600+ people a fun night at the Grand America hotel with good food, a blues music band, and some fantastic tributes to the life of Ed Mayne. Over 10 people spoke and KSL did a beautiful interview tribute video (which I will post in the near future) and I created a tribute video (the first half is posted above and on Vimeo). It was a party he would have loved.
I will never get over losing him, but all the amazing things that have happened since his death will forever help comfort me and my family.
Thank you all so much.
Merry Christmas Dad!